Have you recovered from last week’s intense Chicago Fire/Chicago PD/SVU crossover?

Too bad if you haven’t because things are not slowing down one bit on Chicago Fire Season 3 Episode 8, as a massive helicopter explosion puts the team in jeopardy in different ways – and it’s Dawson who’ll uncover why the chopper went down in the first place.

But we know Chicago Fire Season 3 is also about the relationships, and one of the key romances on the show is between Dawson and Casey. Will that union survive when Dawson is working under Casey? Has the rest of the house accepted it or are there more issues to come? And is the team still hurting from losing one of its own, Shay?

To get some answers, I was on the Chicago Fire set last month, sitting down with Monica Raymund, who gave me the lowdown on what we’ll see with Dawson and how she’s dealing with working on the fire fighter side of things.
Dawsey to the rescue – Chicago Fire Season 3 Episode 8

TV Fanatic: You’re deep into shooting this season but going back to the start of the season, how was it having Shay die and Lauren leave the show?

Monica Raymund: It was pretty rough for both of us. Both Dawson and Monica. It took some getting used to. It was a big transition period for all of us. It was hard. We grieved. I think a lot of what we were feeling was bleeding into what you saw on screen. So, yeah, it was not easy.

TVF: Dawson and Casey are going strong. Talk about that relationship and what we’re going to see in the coming episodes.

MR: She’s still rogue. She was a rogue paramedic. She’s going to be a rouge firefighter. She’s not going to follow all the rules because she’s got cojones. So we get to see what that obstacle does. You’ll find her not listening to her lieutenant who’s also her fiancé. So there’s a lot of good juicy conflict stuff that gets between them. You’ll start to see them possibly teeter.

TVF: Relationships come and go on this show. Why do you think they work together?

MR: I think they are supposed to be together. I think they’re always going to be. You ever have a love in your life where you’re like that was the unrequited one, or the one that got away, or something happened-the timing wasn’t right, and it just sort of turns into this long-term wish I could’ve, should’ve, would’ve, could’ve? He’s the one, no matter whatever happens and I really believe that for Dawson. Even if they do break up, he’s that one person who you have that unique specific connection with that you would die for. So that’s why I think they’ve been lasting so long. We really love each other. He’s like my best friend here.

TVF: What have you been challenged by most in this season as an actor?

MR: Besides the physically kicking my ass part? I feel like the death of Shay was the hardest. That’s the most challenging thing I think I’ve ever worked on in my entire career because she was my best friend. She is still my best friend, my sister and she’s the only other girl. It was pretty hard to let it go.

TVF: Did you hear there was a little stir when the Shay character died because it was killing the only gay character on the show and then Arrow killed off their bisexual character the week after.

MR: Little do they know that has absolutely nothing to do with the reasons people leave. I was aware of it. I was aware. I mean what are you going to do? It’s futile, that kind of response.
The Engaged – Chicago Fire

TVF: Tell me about the physical challenges especially now that you’re doing different things on the show. I’m guessing it’s a whole different thing.

MR: It’s so hard to keep up with the boys. I’ve been working out like crazy trying to get lean. And be able to, they call them the tools of ignorance, which is the tools that you see us walk out of the truck with. Those things are heavy.

TVF: They look heavy.

MR: And then you wear the SCBA tanks. That’s another 30 pounds. The helmets about 5-1/2, 6-1/2 pounds all resting on you. The bunker gear is another 8 pounds. It’s been cool because I’ve been getting in great shape but I also feel like I’ve got to keep up with the boys in a way. I really want to prove that women can do this job just as well as men. It’s a really huge honor for me and I’m very excited to have that responsibility.

TVF: So when we see Dawson climbing a ladder with all that gear, that’s you?

MR: Yeah. That’s me with the gear on. You got to do a lot of core strength.

TVF: What do you hear from female paramedics or firefighters, either social media or on the street maybe they come up to you, what do you hear from them?

MR: Whatever you imagine I hear is what I hear. They are so, so amazing and so incredibly supportive. They’re thankful that there’s a character that’s a woman who’s representing what they do. I mean these are like the real heroes of our city. I get to pretend to be one but they really have to live through this stuff and to have their support is a pretty big honor.

TVF: How do you feel just where you’re at career wise?

MR: I feel good. I feel lucky. I miss theater a lot. I think when this chapter of my life is over I’m going to probably do a few plays. Get my chops. Cut my teeth again. I feel good. I’ve been producing a lot so my production company is taking off. I’ve been learning a lot about film making in general and surrounding myself with people who know a lot more than I do about the business and picking their brains. I feel confident I guess. I don’t know. I don’t really think about my career too much to be honest. I sort of just take it one day at a time and roll with the punches. Hope you get a job and if you don’t its all right. Figure it out the next day.

Chicago Fire Season 3 airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on NBC.

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12/02/2014 (10:00PM – 11:00PM) (Tuesday) : A VICTIM TAKES CREDIT FOR A TEXTBOOK RESCUE BY CHICAGO’S FINEST – A house fire leads members of the truck and squad to race to save the lives of the couple trapped inside, and then are faced with the perplexing aftermath. Meanwhile, Chief Boden (Eamonn Walker) prepares to start his new family, while the combination of life at work and home pushes Casey (Jesse Spencer) and Dawson (Monica Raymund) apart. Elsewhere Molly’s II has its chance to shine at the Chicago Holiday Fest. Taylor Kinney, Monica Raymund, Kara Killmer, Charlie Barnett, David Eigenberg, Yuri Sardarov, Joe Minoso and Christian Stolte star. Randy Flagler and Edwin Hodge guest star.




For Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D., crossovers are old hat. The two Dick Wolf-produced series share story lines, characters and even the same neighborhood watering hole on a nearly weekly basis. But when Law & Order: SVU executive producer Warren Leight got the call from Wolf about a possible three-part event, he was resistant.

“I thought, ‘Oh man, don’t do this,'” Leight tells TVGuide.com, “because logistically it’s a nightmare.”

Although Wolf’s vast library of shows — most notably Law & Order and its four spin-offs — have crossed over extensively, this marks the first three-part event. “I knew it was going to be ambitious but, like in any endeavor, sometimes the ones that give you the butterflies turn out to be the best ones because you’re pushed to where you didn’t think you’d have to go,” Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. executive producer Matt Olmstead says.

The case begins on Chicago Fire (Tuesday, 10/9c) when the team battles a house fire and Severide (Taylor Kinney) sees a man run into the burning building to get a mysterious box. The box appears to contain child pornography, and P.D.’s Voight (Jason Beghe) and Lindsay (Sophia Bush) are called in to investigate. “The original case was much less disturbing and I said, ‘On no planet would New York SVU fly to Chicago for what could be possibly statutory rape or endangering the welfare of a child,” Leight says. “If you’re going to cross these shows over, it has to be an exceptionally disturbing crime. In reality, there are kids being sex-trafficked in America, being forced to perform in videos, and those videos are streamed live and they’re basically being assaulted for the enjoyment of people watching on computers.”

Because the photos appear to have been taken in New York, Lindsay puts in a call to SVU’s Rollins (Kelli Giddish). “It becomes just trying to figure out what the ring is,” Olmstead says, “what this pornography ring is and how extensive it is and how long-standing it is and how effective — unfortunately, it’s been over the course of 10, 15 years.”

Lindsay, Voight and Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) subsequently fly out to New York on Wednesday’s episode of SVU (9/8c) to lend a hand. However, Lindsay has an ulterior motive: finding her estranged half-brother (Lou Taylor Pucci), “a drug-addled wreck,” according to Leight, whom she recognizes in one of the pictures. “It really knocks her sideways,” Olmstead says of Lindsay’s personal connection to the case. “She admits that she’s just trying to keep her head on straight because she has so many competing emotions while trying to be objective and do her job. … There’s some hard-earned advice that Benson is able to impart to Lindsay.”

The same can’t be said for Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Voight, who get off to a more acrimonious start. “Voight basically barges into an interrogation in New York and gets a little physical,” Leight says. “Olivia comes in after him and says, ‘You pull that crap again, and I’ll put you in jail.'”

Although both showrunners were eager to pair Voight and Benson together onscreen — “If you’re doing Justice League of America, you want to see Superman and Batman in a scene,” Leight says — their contrasting styles made him wary. “They tell stories very differently than we do and uncover clues differently than we do,” he says. “Even the way the two casts dress could not be more different. New York detectives are in suits and ties and try to look sharp, and those guys, because of the division they’re in, there’s a lot of t-shirts over there.”

Fortunately, their differences made for great TV. “Sometimes, it’s a question of: You can get information quickly by terrorizing people but do you get accurate information? And is that information going to uphold in court? So we wrote right to that,” Leight says.

Despite their initial tension, Voight will come to view Benson as a rare equal. “More than anybody he’s ever encountered, I think he respects this person because it’s almost like a female version of Voight,” Olmstead says. “When the case is starting to go south on the Chicago side and she calls to check in and says, ‘What do you need?’ he says, ‘I need your help.’ And he would never admit that to anybody. He’s being vulnerable. And her response is, ‘I’ll get on the next flight out.’ So, they just have an affinity towards each other.”

Benson also brings Rollins and Amaro (Danny Pino) along to help Voight’s unit on Chicago P.D. (Wednesday, 10/9c). “There’s a bit of a ticking clock on him. Because of the fact that it is a higher profile case and Lindsay did know one of the victims in one of the crimes, it’s determined that maybe Intelligence is a little bit too close to the case,” Olmstead says. “They’re told that they’re going to have basically one more shift and then somebody with some fresh eyes is going to take it.”
The two teams are also brought together by tragedy when a witness in the case and the uniformed Chicago police officer protecting the witness are both killed. “Even though they just landed and they’re not from Chicago, blue is blue, and they feel the loss of a cop in this district,” Olmstead says. “It’s one of the things that was surprising in the writing stages and the filming of it, which is they were just immediately absorbed into this team and this family. It really shows on screen.”

Olmstead says that warmth was present behind the scenes as well. “One thing that I didn’t really expect was the camaraderie with the actors,” he says. “You never saw actors standing by themselves, waiting for their line. They were always in groups. They hung out as a group after they filmed. There was a lot of travel and working weekends, but the feedback I got from everybody was what a special event it was for them just as actors. I know that when we do it again — and I’m sure that we’ll do it at some point down the road — it will not be a hard sell.”

As long as “there’s a case that sustains it,” Leight says he is also on board, but with one caveat: “Maybe next time when they come to New York, they’ll dress a little better.”

Chicago Fire airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on NBC. The crossover continues on Law & Order: SVU (Wednesday, 9/8c) and concludes on Chicago P.D. (Wednesday, 10/9c).

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One unexpected consequence of NBC’s big Chicago Fire/Chicago P.D./Law & Order: SVU crossover event this week: a whole lot of exes and would-be flames are mixing.

For starters, P.D. detectives Lindsay and Halstead, who have been simmering since the series premiered, are headed to SVU together on Wednesday at 9/8c. Could New York City bring some long-awaited love for the pair? Executive producer Matt Olmstead warns of “further slow burning,” since both characters value their job and do not want to risk the wrath of Voight, who has a “no dating” policy among his squad members.

“It’s tested a little bit, as you might imagine, because they’re out of town,” Olmstead adds. “But there’s no crossing the line — yet — for those two.”

If someone’s feeling a little lonely, there’s always Severide, whom Lindsay runs into at the end of the Chicago Fire hour (Tuesday, 10/9c). Despite their recent break-up, the encounter is an “amicable” one.

“It’s not like when Severide crosses with her, he’s rolling his eyes like, ‘Oh crap, I’ve got to deal with my ex-girlfriend,’” the EP says. “She’s perfectly agreeable — ‘Good seeing you’ — and she’s got her own thing going on. So it’s an interesting cross, but it’s not one that’s fraught with disappointment and betrayal, because who knows down the line if they’re going to pick it back up again?”

But the most dynamic duo may be P.D.‘s Hank Voight and SVU‘s Olivia Benson, who have a clash-of-the-titans moment on the former’s show (Wednesday, 10/9c).

Chicago P.D. – Season 2“It was fine when they were in New York,” SVU executive producer Warren Leight says with a laugh. “They have two very different approaches to interrogations. The two shows have different approaches to police procedure. I think we all know Voight can be a little more physical, and Olivia is, in general, a more empathetic detective. Those kind of fireworks take place in both episodes,” he says, leading to some of “the most fun scenes” in the installments.

Although Voight and Benson butt heads, they also come at each other from a place of high regard. “There’s not a lot of people who can go toe-to-toe with [Voight],” Olmstead explains. “So here comes this equal, who he respects [and] is formidable. He knows he can’t run a game on her. Even though they have different policing styles, there’s a mutual respect. They’re both coming from the same place. They both want to protect their city though they may have different tactics going about it. They do lock horns, and they do so equally. But then when it’s over, it’s over.”

The connection between the two carries over when Benson arrives on P.D. in the middle of a grim investigation. “When Voight sees her, there’s a smile on his face,” Olmstead previews. “He’s happy to see her. Because there’s this immediate chemistry, immediate tug [and] shared affection between two very similar characters, ironically, though they may have different backgrounds and different approaches.”

Could that attachment lead to something more than just professional admiration? When Olmstead told star Jason Beghe there was a private moment coming up between Voight and Benson, the actor replied, “‘Don’t say another word! I know exactly how to play it!’” the EP recalls. “So who knows what else… he feels about the Benson character? But there’s a real bond right away between those two characters.”

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What happens in Vegas won’t stay in Vegas on Chicago Fire.

Luck was on Severide’s side on the most recent episode, when he met a beautiful blonde (Graceland’s Serinda Swan) at a craps table in Sin City. Severide (Taylor Kinney) stole a kiss from the mysterious woman after she rolled two eights in a row, and the fireworks are just getting started.

“She follows him back to Chicago, to everybody’s amazement,” showrunner Matt Olmstead tells TVGuide.com.

However, Severide’s new romance isn’t exactly well received by his friends at Firehouse 51, particularly in light of his recent nights out on the town in the wake of Shay’s death. “It’s all, ‘Let’s just keep the party going, and keep the action going. I’m dancing as fast as I can so I don’t have to deal with this grief,'” Olmstead says. “That sends him to Vegas and they make an impetuous choice for her to come back and she does come back with him to Chicago. Is all this a manifestation of his reluctance to deal with this kind of floating grief from the loss of Shay? Is he making these choices because he just doesn’t want to deal with it? Absolutely.”

Severide isn’t the only one struggling to cope with a loss. As viewers will come to learn, Swan’s character, Brittany Baker, “went to Vegas to also escape some grief,” Olmstead says. “So they are only able to look at it down the road, in retrospect, that there’s a reason [they] were brought together. [They] were kind of guided to be together though [they] didn’t know at the time because only through the other are they able to patch each other up.”

The somber storyline was an important one for Olmstead to tell. “The story came from my brother-in-law who after 9/11 lost a lot of friends. He went to Vegas for three weeks and was just on a bender,” he says. “It was too much for him as it was for a lot of people in that situation. On the fictional side here, we’re playing the same angle for these characters. They can’t deal with it. … Only down the road do they look back when [both characters] finally have their feet on the ground from dealing with the grief of each one’s individual loss and realize they were only able to deal with it through the other.”

When Brittany comes to the Windy City to follow Severide — and perhaps to escape her own grief — the couple will be crashing with Casey (Jesse Spencer) and Dawson (Monica Raymund), who have very different opinions about Severide’s newfound happiness. “Everybody else is trying to interpret it or counsel him or figure it out. Casey’s like, ‘It doesn’t make a difference to me. He’s happy, I’m happy.’ And he goes to Severide and says as much,” Olmstead says. “Dawson has a different reaction, which then drives a little bit of a wedge between Casey and Dawson. It kind of shines a light on their relationship.”

Not helping matters is the recent strain on Casey and Dawson’s engagement due to her assignment to Firehouse 51 as a candidate. “Casey, as he admits, is a little jealous because here he is in this relationship where they have to kind of play ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell,’ and hide it from people and be covert,” Olmstead says. “Then you look at two people who just met each other and now they’re living together and they ran off. Why can’t he do that?”

Chicago Fire airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on NBC.

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11/25/2014 (10:00PM – 11:00PM) (Tuesday) : AT FIREHOUSE 51 SOME RELATIONSHIPS ARE TESTED, WHILE OTHERS ARE STRENGTHENED — When the team responds to a semi-truck leaking hydrochloric acid in a busy intersection, Casey (Jesse Spencer) and Dawson (Monica Raymund) find their relationship being put to the test. Meanwhile, Severide (Taylor Kinney) learns more about Brittany’s (guest star Serinda Swan) past and Mouch (Christian Stolte) has some difficulties in his dating life. Eamonn Walker, Kara Killmer, Charlie Barnett, David Eigenberg, Joe Minoso and Yuri Sardarov star. Randy Flagler, Amy Morton and Jesse Lee Soffer also guest star.