'Chicago Fire' Star Previews Casey and Dawson's New "Family Unit" and a Possible Wedding

"I reckon that's in the wings, but if it was to happen, it wouldn't be a white wedding," Jesse Spencer teases about the upcoming fifth season of the NBC drama.
Matt Dinerstein/NBC

Going into the season four finale of Chicago Fire, the odds did not look to be in Casey and Dawson's favor. After Dawson (Monica Raymund) decided to become a foster parent to a young boy she rescued named Louie with or without Casey (Jesse Spencer) by her side, her on-and-off beau had a decision to make: try to make things work now as a family of three with his steady girlfriend or accept an invitation from political consultant Susan Weller (Lauren Stamile) to meet back at her hotel room while away at a conference. The finale ended with Casey going back to a surprised Dawson.

"I see them being able to stick it out," Spencer tells The Hollywood Reporter of what's to come in season five. "Obviously there will always be bumps along the road there, but as a couple, I think they're really solid."

Some of those bumps will no doubt come courtesy of Louie, as the two "struggle" to fit parenting into their busy life-saving careers. Spencer also spoke with THR about an upcoming political future for Casey, hitting 100 episodes this year and whether he hears wedding bells for Casey and Dawson.

The season ended with Casey returning to Dawson despite a personal proposition from political consultant Susan Weller. Did you agree with that move?

I did. Half of me was like, 'Oh, come on,' why didn't he just go off with her on a fling? (Laughs.) Because I'm always tempted to like rough Casey up but they really want Casey as your stand-up guy. They don’t want to screw with that because people really like that, so I totally get it. And they're probably right, because they brought him back to Dawson and now coming into season five, now they've got a family. Casey's always wanted a family, he's a family guy at the end of the day. I don't know what it is, everyone looks at me and thinks family. They really want Casey to have 'em so...

It's actually been really nice. We've been working with him a fair bit and its just kind of very natural. It feels very organic funnily enough. Monica's great to work with, we're friends and we work really well together and adding this third dynamic is just working so we'll see them struggle with that. Their characters are going to have to figure how to readjust with a child in their midst and how they can keep the child safe too when they're both in dangerous professions. They're both running into burning buildings so they're going to have to deal with that. Then on top of that, it's just busy. It's a busy time, so he's not going to try and enhance his political career in anyway, but he's still an alderman and he's still going to keep doing that job if he can help his constituency and hopefully not get too embroiled into the darker side of politics. We try to keep it kosher, but it's always going to slip in a certain direction. We don’t really have a clean political person. Who's really clean, you know what I mean? Everyone's had to probably vote against their conscience at some point or something. It's the system so I think that's a good spot for drama on the show. Will Casey abuse that or will it be used against him? I was waiting for my [Chicago Justice] crossover. I want to put Casey on the stand. I want to see him cross too far into corruption and get caught.

Casey's political career is a bit of a question mark going into season five since it played such a large role in the back half of season four. How big of a role does it play this season?

Its sort of a B-storyline because it does inform very naturally sometimes the things that are going on, the politics of [Firehouse] 51, and so we can use that to enhance those storylines. He's just going to stay an alderman. There was talk of Susan Weller, the political consultant, who was like, 'Well, you can be the mayor of Chicago.' (Laughs.) That would be hilarious, but yeah, I don’t think that would fly. So we're not going to go any further with the career aspect of it but it’s definitely going to be around.

You talked about the struggle that Dawson and Casey will have with the foster kid. How do you think being foster parents changes them as people and as a couple?

They start to look at it from a different angle. [There's] so much to think about. I'm not a dad, but I've got family friends of mine that adopted a brother and a sister so over the years… I'm the godfather of these kids so that's I guess that's my closest thing that I've got  just listening to them and watching these kids grow and learn  it's just amazing. But obviously, it's a lot of work, and a lot of responsibility so we'll see how this [goes]. But these two, Casey and Dawson, are the perfect people to deal with this. That's what they do. These people hustle, they're on top of it; they're more on top of it than I am. I think they'll be fine. The emotional aspect might affect their jobs and the inherent danger of their jobs is probably going to be the hardest thing.

Now that they're this family unit to an extent, has there been any more talk of an engagement or a wedding?

I think there might be. They're sort of toying with me as much as [the viewers.] I reckon that's in the wings, but if it was to happen, it wouldn't be a white wedding. Apart from the fact that I wouldn't want one, and Monica definitely doesn’t want one, I don’t think the writers would want to do it like that. So if they ever did it, hopefully they come up with a fun yet heartfelt storyline.

Why is now the right time to put them together and keep them together?

They've had so many ups and downs and now they're a family unit. The only thing is Dawson would have to get off truck. If she went back to ambo, which would be sentimental for some of the viewers because that's where she started, it'd be old-school Dawson, I think it would be definitely be possible.

The end of the season also saw the death of Jimmy's brother and he was placing a lot of blame on Boden, which led to some tension. What can you say about the firehouse as a whole at the beginning of season five?

Jimmy is going down a slippery slope and he believes that Boden more or less contributed to the death of his brother and blames him for it. If he goes with that and goes after him, then he's going after his entire career and the whole house. So its another one of those storylines which is the catalyst that throws the whole house into disarray.

You talked about wanting to play Casey a little darker so going into the fifth season, what are your conversations like with the writers? How do you find that balance between keeping him a good guy while exploring that other side of him?

I think they will organically over the course of the series because… they'll probably want to change it up a bit. Obviously, hopefully, have a catalyst that inspires that storyline organically so we can get in in a good way but I think we've got an all-Casey episode coming up. It's going to be more like a situation happens outside of the firehouse so we're going to watch this guy with none of his tools, none of his equipment or anything MacGyver the hell out of the situation. We're going to see that in episode four, I think, which I'm really excited about. I think it will just be me, I don't think I'll have any backup.

Sounds like the Severide episode they did in season two…

Yeah, it will be something like that. And it's going to go over the whole episode.

What will viewers learn about Casey from that episode and that situation that maybe they didn't know before?

I don't think we've ever seen him in that situation. I don’t know specifically what it is yet so I'm still waiting to find out.

So the writers just gave you a bit of a heads up?

Yeah, they're like, 'Hey, this is going to be one big one for you.' So I'm stoked about that. And then we've got 100 episodes coming up in episode eight.

What have you heard about the plans for that one?

It will be great. I mean, it's 100 episodes, it's a milestone. You get to this point and you're like, 'I can't believe we've made it this far. I can't believe we're still out there running around screaming at each other and carrying victims around.' It's weird because at the start, it's very slow and then at some point speeds up and then all of a sudden, you're reaching 100 episodes but yeah, we're all really happy. It's a great job and I love the people and the city's fantastic.

You've had a lot of castmembers who have departed. Is there anyone in particular you'd like to see come back for the 100th episode?

Jeff Hephner, who just joined Chicago Med, he's playing the same character so we should bring him over to Fire. I think we should be doing more crossovers. … I already did one in episode one for Chicago P.D. which is actually my first one. It wasn't my first one, but last time I did a P.D. crossover we shot on the Fire set with the Fire crew, so this one I actually went over to their zone.

What brings your character over there?

It's an arson investigation. And then a little thing with Voight… his storyline is crazy so that's acknowledged in that story.

Chicago Fire returns Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 10 p.m. on NBC.

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