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Chicago Fire stars Jesse Spencer and Monica Raymund should know better. Their characters, Matt Casey and Gabriela Dawson, ended their engagement midway through the current season after several false starts and stops. Out of the many romantic pairings on Fire and its sister series Chicago P.D., the flame for Dawson and Casey burns brightest for fans, who have had a difficult time coming to grips with their breakup. But their on-screen tension is masked by their off-screen antics, like when Raymund playfully kissed her co-star’s cheek during a photo shoot at NBC’s Summer Press Day. “We want to torture them,” said Raymund afterwards with a laugh.
So does this mean there’s hope on the horizon? Raymund and Spencer spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about Casey and Dawson’s future, the “shuffling” coming in season four and more crossovers.
You’ve been playing with this on-and-off dynamic for a while. Isn’t it finally time for these two to get together and stay together?
Jesse Spencer: Yes, but circumstances aren’t allowing that right now. We could date again, but the power structure was weird and it’s difficult to make it work. Anyone who’s worked with a spouse or a girlfriend in any situation knows it’s a really intricate sort of relationship and you have to work really hard at it. It wasn’t really panning out.
Monica Raymund: Dawsey may happen. I think that they love each other, and they always will and they know they’re meant for eachother. But like he said, the circumstances in that world make it so hard to be together, so we just have to see if we can make it work — if they choose to try.
So it may not be until the end of series?
Raymund: You’d have to ask Dick Wolf.
Why do you think it’s important to keep these two apart outside of those circumstances?
Spencer: You’ve got to create drama and tension. Obviously we want it to be as organic as possible, and the fact that you cannot be married and be on the same truck is a real thing – that’s not allowed by law.
Raymund: We don’t really know what they’re going to do. We’re still waiting and looking through the script.
Spencer: But I’ve loved all the ribbing that’s gone on between the two characters since we broke up. It’s actually really fun to play. You see the friendship, and it’s fresh again. It’s like the flirtation is amped up.
If it’s not the right time for your characters to be together, then are we going to see new love interests later this season?
Spencer: I don’t think that’s ever out of the cards. As much as they love each other, they have to make an attempt to move on, and I think part of that is dating other people.
The show was picked up early for season four. Last season’s cliffhanger, and the aftermath, was a big one. How is the show going to top that? Can it?
Raymund: I don’t know if we can top it. But it’s got to meet that bar. We need people to tune in next season to see what happens. So I bet you $100 that somebody or somebodies’ lives are going to be at stake.
Is that a concern among the cast following Shay’s death: Which one of us will be next? That was a huge character to kill off.
Spencer: If we had red herrings all the time, I think the audience would clue in. So I think the fact that main characters can be killed or leave the show makes it more palpable.
Raymund: People in these fields die everyday, so it’s as much a part of the real world as it is a part of the fake one.
How has that grief been for you to play, Monica, since your character was so close with Shay?
Raymund: I text Lauren [German] every single day. I see her every time I’m in LA. She’s my best friend, and she’s probably going to live with me at some point in the future to be honest. It was very hard, personally, for a little awhile, and it’s still hard professionally, but what I like about this is Severide and I have been hanging out a little bit more. … There’s this really cool way of keeping Shay alive between this closeness of her two best friends. So I’ve actually enjoyed it.
How has it been subsequently developing that closeness with Kara Killmer’s character?
Raymund: Dawson’s a badass. She’s tough as nails, but at the end of the day, she really needs some estrogen sometimes. It’s a nice breath of fresh air, especially someone like Kara Killmer who is so opposite from me. She’s really just feminine and open, and it’s really fun to be around an actress who can bring out that more feminine side in Dawson.
A big thing this season has been Dawson becoming a candidate. Do you know what the next step is and when she is going to come out of that candidate phase?
Raymund: I think we’re going to see a little bit of shuffling next season. They might move one person somewhere else, since other people may take on more or fewer jobs. I’m hoping what’s that as part of that movement, I’ll move to just a regular firefighter job.
Spencer: I think you won’t transfer to becoming a full firefighter until another candidate comes in.
Your cast is very close. When you shot the backdoor pilot for Chicago Med, did you take them out for a night on the town? How did you introduce them to the Chicago team?
Raymund: Dick Wolf hosted a lovely dinner where he brought all three shows together to get to know each other.
Spencer: We didn’t really go out though. Everybody was focused on that. They were really difficult, time-consuming episodes to shoot. There really wasn’t much time for hilarity. They were six-day weeks.
Raymund: They were long days. I haven’t been that tired in a long time.
Looking ahead to season four, what would you like to see for your characters?
Raymund: I’d like to see the Dawson siblings more, Antonio and Gaby. I think that they’re really good together. I think that the audience likes it, too, and it’s an awesome opportunity for more crossovers.
Spencer: I think I’d like some crossover because I haven’t really done crossovers… but I’d like to do a little more and open the wall up.
Chicago Fire airs Tuesday at 10 p.m. on NBC.
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