Five years ago, the Parks Department would've quickly fallen into chaos without the quirky and compassionate bureaucrat. But now that Leslie has imparted enough wisdom and can-do attitude to Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) & Co. Pawnee would be just fine without her. But will Leslie actually take the new opportunity?
"One way or the other, Leslie makes a decision about taking the job," executive producer Mike Schur tells TVGuide.com. "It actually happens fairly early on in the episode thanks, in no small part, the appearance of the First Lady of the United States, who had some wise words for her about the nature of public service."
If Leslie were to take the job in Chicago, it would seemingly take her away from Pawnee, the town she loves — and the show's main setting for the past five seasons. But that isn't necessarily a dilemma the writers are concerned about. "We've never shied away from ideas like that," Schur says of the. "It's obviously not Leslie's life, but we moved Ben [Adam Scott] and April [Audrey Plaza] to Washington for several episodes. It's part of the DNA of the show that there are things that can change dramatically from season to season.
"The only thing that is even giving pause about whether to take the job is how much she loves the town," he continues. "The push-pull of her life is always going to be her ambition and her love of her hometown and people who live and work there. That's the big conflict in the finale."
But her decision is only one part of the finale, which also features Leslie & Co. heading to San Francisco for a parks conference, the long-awaited Unity Concert, the return of Tammy 2 (Megan Mullally) in a bid to win Ron back, and the opening of Tom's restaurant, which doesn't "go super well," Schur says. (Wait until you see April working as a waitress at the bistro!) Check out an exclusive sneak peek of the finale below:
Parks and Recreation's season finale airs Thursday at 8/7c on NBC. Catch up on past full episodes here.