Dawson tends to quickly lose her temper, a behavior regularly getting her in trouble with her hierarchy.
During the first two seasons, Dawson was the Paramedic in Charge (PIC) of Ambulance 61. In Season 2, she was accepted to the Chicago Fire Academy, where she initially failed her physical agility test by several seconds after spraining her ankle. While at the academy, she met Rebecca Jones. Dawson caught Jones cheating during a written examination and took a disliking to her. Jones eventually graduated from the academy and was assigned to Truck 81 as a firefighter candidate. The two started to get along after Dawson discovered that Jones' father, a chief officer, was against her career choice and wanted her transferred to an administrative position. When Jones committed suicide, she left a letter to Dawson, who was deeply affected by it.
After making a call, Casey is successful in getting Dawson readmitted to the academy to retake her physical agility test. In Season 3, she graduated from the academy and was assigned to Truck 81 as a firefighter candidate. She completed her candidacy on 81, and then became a firefighter. After taking in her foster son, Louie in Season 5, she decided to transfer back to the Ambulance. She now serves on Ambulance 61 with Sylvie Brett.
She has one brother, Chicago PD Intelligence Unit detective Antonio Dawson.
She co-owns a bar called "Molly's" with Christopher Herrmann, Otis and Leslie Shay. After saving the precedent owner from a fire in the bar, Herrmann came up with the idea of buying the business and looked for co-owners. Otis and Dawson accepted to join on this project. They soon discovered that the place came with a passive associate, Arthur. He wanted at first 25% of the benefits but Herrmann managed to lower the new associate's part to 1%. Arthur is revealed later to be a mobster under the watch of the undercover detective Jay Halstead. Knowing at first neither his undercover assignment nor his relations with Arthur, Dawson started a romantic relationship with him until he decided to join the Intelligence Unit. In season 4 Dawson saves a boy Louie in a house fire and she wants to foster him, which causes tension between her and Casey. In Season 5, we see them happily enjoying family life together. In the episode "One Hundred", Casey and Dawson get married. In recent episodes Dawson and Casey see their foster son taken away and Dawson takes back Ambulance 61
Chicago Fire Department
Dawson started off as the paramedic in charge of Ambulance 61 and later took the firefighter test, and became a firefighter on Truck 81 on her second attempt. At the beginning of season 4, she transferred to Arson Investigation, after revealing she was pregnant, however after she miscarried the baby, she rejoined Truck 81. After adopting her foster-son, Louie, she decided that she would prefer a less dangerous role and then transferred back (as a paramedic) to Ambulance 61. She is now under the command of Sylvie Brett.
She has a close friendship with her co-worker Leslie Shay. The two have been seen together often and are one another's support both on and off the job. Gabriela often shares what has been deemed 'eye-sex' with Shay and there has been speculation about their feelings for one another. They have acquired the ship name 'Shawson' which is a mash-up of their surnames. This relationship takes a turn in the second season after a traumatic case caused Dawson to "accidentally" blame Shay and it sends her into a self-destructive phase in which she pursues a party-hard woman that she met at a party. Shay stops communicating with Gabriela, and even goes so far as to transfer out of Firehouse 51. However, Dawson tracks down Shay after she spirals into depression after a tough case and they rekindle their friendship. It ends badly after Shay dies during an explosion from a head injury at the scene. She's deeply upset and disturbed by it which isn't initially shown until it's revealed that she's been going to the department's psychologist for a month. She reveals that she told Shay to switch places with her just before the explosion so Shay could get some PIC experience. She feels extremely guilty that if she hadn't told Shay to take her place, she wouldn't have died.
At the beginning of the series, Dawson has an huge crush on Matthew Casey. This relationship comes to a semi-climax at her family Christmas party, to which Dawson brings Casey as a 'casual' date. He appears to have shown interest in her only to kiss her on the cheek when she goes to kiss him.
Later on in season 2, the two reconnect and start dating. Their romance progresses and Casey eventually asks Dawson to move in with her. They start looking for apartments but Dawson is dragging her feet.
In Real Never Waits, Casey proposes to Dawson at Boden's wedding. She doesn't have time to answer because a call comes in. He proposes again to her and she accepts. They can't get married and try to hide their relationship since Dawson works under Casey as a candidate and she can't be married to the leading Lieutenant.
In the Season 3 finale it is revealed that she is pregnant with Casey's baby. In season 4 mid-season finale it is shown Casey and Dawson are engaged and more in love than ever.
She shares a love of cooking with Peter Mills. The two's relationship slowly declines and Mills appears to develop a hatred on her. The pair share a home cooked meal, supposedly as friends, but it turns into something more. In the 'morning after' scene, Mills says that he won't tell any of their colleagues, because what happened was between them only. They appear to continue the secret relationship, as Gabriela comes to like Mills more and more. Then Gabriela decides it is best if the two come out as a couple. They break up later on when she tells him about the affair between Boden and his mother since she didn't tell him for a long time despite knowing. They break up for good when Dawson is unable to tell him that she doesn't have feelings for Casey.
Dawson saves a young girl in a possibly dangerous procedure. Though the procedure succeeds in saving the girl's life, Gabriela gets into legal trouble concerning her level of training and her ability to have performed that procedure safely. A known hot-head, her temper get the best of her and nearly costs her her job. Dawson has a "Wall of Fame" in her kitchen which is seen in the episode It Ain't Easy. This wall features pictures of Mills and her nieces and nephews. Casey seems to be jealous of the picture of Peter so proposes that the two take a picture to put up on the wall of fame. Casey takes his phone out and snaps a shot and the two share a moment soon after the photograph is taken. Gabriela is in a serious accident in the rear of her ambulance with her partner Leslie Shay. The two are injured, but Shay much more severely so. Dawson is distraught and worries for her as she is admitted to hospital while still unconscious. She later visits Shay in the hospital and the two have a short but sweet conversation before being interrupted by Kelly Severide.
In part 2 of season 2, we see Dawson train to be a firefighter at the Academy. There she meets Rebecca Jones and they bond over being the only females in their class. At the academy, Gabby struggles with the physical tasks, having troubles breaking 7 minutes on the physical agility course.
Rebecca then committed suicide because of her father, who was doing everything in his power to get her pulled from the firehouse because he didn't want her to be a firefighter and wanted her to have a safer job behind the desk. She left a note to Gabriela, which deeply upset her. Gabriela lashed out at Rebecca's father, who was also a Chief, and told her it was his fault that his daughter was dead.
In season 3, Gabby stays at Firehouse 51 after Shay's death. This causes her to lose her spot as a candidate for Firehouse 105. She instead becomes a candidate on Truck 81 under her fiancée Lt. Casey. The dynamics of the solution cause problems at home and work for the couple. This comes to a head when Gabby breaks off the engagement in Let Him Die.
Dawson fosters Louie but things don't go the way she and Casey have planned after Casey is accused of using his political status as alderman to fast-track fostering him. Things escalated when DCFS told the couple that Louie would most likely be taken from them and placed back in a home because of the way he was fostered, as it caused public backlash.
Susan Weller helps sort the problem shortly before Casey finds out she was responsible for the whole thing in the first place and fires her. Gabby starts the adoption process but is told it will be difficult to adopt Louie by listing that she will be with Casey as boyfriend and girlfriend as they aren't married. Casey is slightly hurt that Gabby will have to list herself as a single mother.
Casey and Dawson make the decision to marry each other, with the rest of 51 following behind. They are married and things go smoothly as the adoption process begins.
However, soon after, Louie's birth father, Andre, finds them and is extremely upset that he won't be able to e with his son. Casey and Gabby put him off as neglectful until they find out that he is a soldier and was on duty and wasn't told about Louie and only found out when he returned recently. Gabby hesitantly gives him a chance to meet Louie, but Andre fails to show up and tells them the next day that he has to go on duty again in a few days. Gabby makes the decision to still allow Louie and Andre to meet out of guilt. However, after meeting Louie, Andre is guilt-ridden and loves his son clearly and no longer wants to be out of the picture. Andre has a loving family, who all show Gabby that they will love Louie and protect him. The two sides fight for custody with their lawyers but Gabriela says she can't live with herself if she separates him from his family that clearly can do a lot more for him than they can and makes the decision to let Louie go. She is very upset to let Louie go, but the loss hit Casey a little harder, and he began taking it on 51.
- Her parents divorced in Lift Each Other and this deeply upset her as she'd a based her idea of a 'perfect marriage' on them.
- Her brother is a Chief Detective in the State's Attorney's office.