Dawsey was the hot topic of NBC Chicago Day on Monday, when dozens of reporters met with the casts and creatives behind “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago P.D.” and upcoming “Chicago Med.”
Why get the couple pregnant only to have them lose the baby so soon? How will Dawson and Casey cope with their devastating loss? Will we ever see a Dawsey wedding?
That’s the gist of a lot of the questions I got on Twitter in advance of Monday’s junket. Here’s what the stars and showrunner had to say:
@lorirackl I would like to know why thy decided to have gabby lose the baby and was this the plan the whole time?
— ann (@hai02lin) November 7, 2015
Showrunner Matt Olmstead said the miscarriage scenario was a frontrunner from the get go. “We had talked about that as a likelihood. There’s a rather crass term for it in TV in terms of the ‘convenient miscarriage’ or something like that. One of the writers brought up all the history of how it’s happened on TV. Yeah, it’s been done before, but it hasn’t been done before by us. There’s no reason why we can’t retell the story and if we do it right, it’s gonna play. We hope we did it the right way and the ramifications of it afterwards. When we were tossing ideas around of what might be the end result, that ended up being the one we wanted to go for.”
Olmstead: “We didn’t want to have Monica’s character work so hard to be a firefighter and then ship her off to work in arson because when you’re pregnant you can’t be an active-duty firefighter. To put all that energy into one of the leads – a female becoming a firefighter – and have it not come to fruition, that was also a consideration for us. We wanted to get her back to her dream job. That’s not to say there won’t potentially be a baby that goes to term down the road. ”
“It’s [miscarriage] one of the unfortunate events that can happen when people get pregnant. It certainly gives us drama. It frees the characters up beyond that. But I would put up that episode against any other episode in terms of the emotional component. Ultimately what we’re doing is trying to make compelling television and that was a very compelling episode to me.”
As for fans being upset about Dawsey getting thrown another curve ball, Olmstead said that’s a good thing.
“They should be indignant,” he said. “I’m glad they are because that shows they’re invested in the characters. We’ll make it up to them for sure.”
@lorirackl what’s next for Dawson and Casey now that they lost their baby? How will Gabby be coping with this?
— MB (@MNBZINGA) November 7, 2015
Monica Raymund (Gabby Dawson) said they’re reeling from their loss, but that loss also will make them stronger as a couple. “In trauma, partners and family come together through crisis and they’re there for each other. They support each other. I think that it makes their relationship richer and more complex.”
“Dawson and Casey are going to be healing for a while but they’re dying to get back to normal as well, trying to keep going with their lives,” Raymund added. “We’re going to see them struggle with that a little bit. Dawson’s going to go back to work, go back to the house. Use the work to move through. But that [pain] never just goes away.”
Let me just say that I’ve already seen Tuesday’s episode (No. 405), and it opens with another heartfelt, tear-jerker of a performance by Raymund. I asked her how she gets in the mindset for these heavy-lifting scenes. (Jesse Spencer was sitting next to her and cracked a joke: “She looks at me and cries.”)
Raymund: “That’s a very personal question for actors because it’s our technique and our process. I was trained at a conservatory [Juilliard] which is a very classical approach. I really draw on what’s going on in my personal life a lot of the time.* If I can relate to it as Monica, that usually helps give me a platform from which I can draw. Sometimes I do things that I can’t relate to at all, and that’s why we have imagination. You imagine what it would be and you imagine those circumstances and what your response would be.”
* We didn’t talk about it, but Raymund’s brother, Will, passed away this summer.
As for how she feels about Dawson losing the baby…
“Honestly? I was kind of relieved,” she said on the red carpet during the Monday night party at STK Chicago. “I don’t want to have a bump for six months or eight months. And I think it’s just a better storyline. It gives me more to play. What am I going to do if I have an actual baby? I would not be a firefighter. I’m on ‘Chicago Fire.’ So it actually serves the world of the story.”
Jesse Spencer copped to being relieved, too.
“Personally, I don’t know if I want to act with babies. I don’t know if it’s really my bag. For Casey, it’s perfect. It would be great to see that. Not that I don’t love babies. I love them. But it’s a long commitment doing that. I’d rather do other things.”
Spencer added that he knew the loss of the baby would be a blow to fans, and he was bracing for it.
“I saw how excited they were. I knew it was coming. I was like, ‘Oh no, some people are going to be really let down.’”
@lorirackl Will we see Casey putting the engagement ring back on Dawson’s hand where it belongs?
— #DawseyStrong1.2 ❤️ (@JSmithWSmith) November 8, 2015
“In my head, we’re still engaged,” Spencer said. “In my head, we’re already together. The question of whether they actually get married or not (Raymund jumped in: “I think we’re already married”) … when you’ve already gone there in your heart, mind and spirit, the actual act of doing it is probably secondary to how they feel about each other. Although I know the fans would probably want to have a wedding. That’s what it’s about, isn’t it? They want to see Dawson in a dress. They want to see Casey standing at the top of the aisle.”” There’s still that pesky business about work rules that prohibit them from being married. (“If we get married then we can both move into arson together!” Spencer said with a laugh). But there’s no doubt that’s what Dawsey fans want to see.
“I feel like if they get married, that’s a really great finale,” Raymund said “It’s a really great way to sort of wrap something up.”
Things aren’t wrapping up this season. NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt announced at the party that “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago P.D.” have been renewed for another season.