'Chicago Fire' Star to Direct 'Law & Order: SVU' Episode

Monica Raymund is leaving Chicago Fire, but she is still returning to NBC this summer to take a new career path. She will direct an episode of Law & Order: SVU as part of NBC's new initiative for more women directors on its shows.

"Excited to finally announce this! I am thrilled and honored to be involved in this program, continuing my relationship with NBC and directing Law & Order: SVU," Raymond announced on Twitter Wednesday. "I fully believe in integration and I look forward to exploring my career as both Actor and Director."

According to Deadline, Raymund is one of 10 finalists for NBC's "Female Forward" initiative, chosen from 1,000 applicants. The program was launched last year and each finalist will shadow TV directors on up to three episodes. After that, they will get to direct an episode themselves during the upcoming season.

The other nine finalists are Rebecca Addelman (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Daniela De Carlo (Chicago Med), Lee Friedlander (Good Girls), Heather Jack (Superstore), Katie Locke O’Brien (A.P. Bio), Ramaa Mosley (Blindspot), Olivia Newman (Chicago Fire), Lisa Robinson (The Blacklist) and Christine Swanson (Chicago P.D.).

In order to be eligible, the finalists could have experience directing in other media, but could have no more than one scripted TV credit. In Raymund's case, her only directing credit is a 2016 short film called Hidden Tears: Tanya.

“We’ve proven time and again that our pipeline programs discover undeniable talent who bring a fresh point of view to their work, and our first Female Forward class is no exception,” Karen Horne, Senior Vice President of Programming Talent Development and Inclusion at NBC Entertainment said in a statement.

“Diversity in the director’s chair encourages inclusion at every echelon of a production, and our hope is that these 10 women will join the ranks of other women directors who have exponentially affected change by opening doors for those who follow them not only in their field, but across our industry," Horne continued.

Raymund left Chicago Fire during the season six finale with a cliffhanger giving her enough leeway to return if she chooses to. In the episode, Raymund's Gabby Dawson chose to volunteer in Puerto Rico as her relationship with husband Matt Casey (Jesse Spencer) began to deteriorate over adoption. Raymund confirmed her exit in a statement on Twitter.

“It has been an honor to play Dawson on Chicago Fire and one of the most meaningful experiences of my life,” Raymund wrote. “I am so thankful for the journey and especially to all of you for watching, but I have made the decision that it’s time for me to move on to the next chapter in life.”

Outside of Chicago Fire, Raymund also appeared on Chicago P.D., Chicago Med, The Good Wife, Blue Bloods and Lie to Me.

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Law & Order: SVU season 20 starts on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 9 p.m. ET.

Photo credit: John Tsiavis/NBC