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Chicago P.D. boss previews changes ahead at Intelligence Unit

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Matt Dinerstein/NBC

Will Lindsay betray Voight? That’s the big question heading into the fourth season of Chicago P.D.

As Voight (Jason Beghe) shows no remorse over presumably killing the man who shot his son, the brass puts pressure on Lindsay (Sophia Bush) to flip on her mentor. “Does she defend and ultimately try to save Voight at the risk of her own career, or is it time for her to break away and be her own person?” says EP Matt Olmstead, adding that Lindsay will get out from Voight’s shadow and move in with Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) this year.

Olinsky (Elias Koteas), meanwhile, will take Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger) and Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins) under his wing as he contemplates his own legacy, while Antonio (Jon Seda) finds himself in a May-December romance with Chicago Fire‘s Brett (Kara Killmer). With Roman gone, Burgess (Marina Squerciati) puts her focus on work and new partner Tay (Quantico‘s Li Jun Li), who got demoted after a relationship with a police captain turned sour. Is Chicago Couples Therapy next? EW turned to Olmstead to get the scoop on season 4:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Where does the new season pick up?

MATT OLMSTEAD: We are picking up with Lindsay being summoned to the silos a week later by Commander Crowley (Barbara Eve Harris). She, and by extension the ivory tower, have identified Lindsay as the entry point/weak link that can hopefully help them find out what happened. It’s made known to Lindsay that they are tracking people’s movements on their cell phone and in their cars, so they know that she was at the silos, that someone was there and never left. They look at her as being possibly complicit. They are trying to appeal to her as a cop: Are you essentially Voight Jr., or are you making your own decisions? Does she defend and ultimately try to save Voight at the risk of her own career, or is it time for her to break away and be her own person? There is a scene later where Halstead makes the appeal to her like, “Don’t go down the tubes with him.” There are things that happen in the case that they are working on that kind of resonate with her in terms of what’s doing the right thing and what’s not doing the right thing, what’s loyalty, what’s being smart or being stupid? So it really all centers on her in terms of she’s the one who can either say Voight or either not say Voight.

How do you think this has changed Voight?

It’s interesting, because he has zero guilt about what happened. Zero. He’s just more dealing with the grief of losing his only child, his son. We play it through the episode, and it’s funny because I had a long conversation with Jason Beghe about it, and we were thinking the same thing, which is he makes no apologies for it. He’s going to keep his head held high, he has no apologies for what he did. What it becomes is his awareness that they are coming after Lindsay for it. It brings up this whole father/daughter type relationship that they’ve had. He’s giving her the room to make her own decision, whatever that decision is going to be. He’s not about to beg her to cover for him or lie for him; he just has to step back and let her make her best decision, like a parent would. There’s always a debt that Lindsay feels towards Voight, but the student one day becomes the master and the master is proud the student is ascending. There’s always going to be some heartbreak there, because someone’s leaving to go into the world, essentially, so it’s very complicated for him in watching how she negotiates this whole thing — proud of her, sympathetic toward what she’s going through, but, as you’ll see at the end of the episode, there is a bit of a shift in their relationship because of it.

There was talk at the end of the season of Antonio replacing Voight. What does the squad look like when we pick up with them?

The squad’s back to business, and they feel bad for Voight, but also they were sealed off intentionally from knowing anything that may have happened in order to protect them from being brought in to be questioned. Hearing stories over the years from cops, where in these rare tragic events — less so nowadays — but back years ago, you’d hear stories about active pursuit of people who killed cops and it takes on a whole different feel. There was one story I heard that there were two cops killed and there was a ravage search for the offender. When the offender was captured and brought back to the station, there were a lot of cops, as told to me, who were upset that that offender was brought back alive. So there’s a complicated approach to what Voight went through, because something shady happened, yet this was a cop’s son who was murdered. How far are you going to take it? How far are you going to push it? You’re not going to pin a rose on him, but nor are you going to drop a dime on him essentially, so everybody is able to just put it behind them and get to work, which enables people to distract themselves from traumatic events. It’s really Lindsay and Voight who are the only ones in the crosshairs of the ivory tower. And by extension Halstead, who’s counseling Lindsay on how to negotiate this — his allegiance is to her and not with Voight so much.

On the relationship side what’s next for Lindsay and Halstead? How does moving in together affect their dynamic?

In this breaking away from Voight as a daughter, instead of looking at herself as that 15-year-old urchin who was saved by Voight, it’s more of like, “I’m a full-blown adult,” in her mind. As articulated later in the episode, she feels like she is now even with Voight. She’s able now to shift time, energy, loyalty, and concern from Voight to Halstead, and she’s also now not worried about if Voight is going to approve as her boss and as her dad, essentially. She doesn’t really care about that, so she’s able to devote more time to Halstead and a relationship that she wants to pursue out of the shadow of Voight. Because the events that have happened have really rocked people; you realize that anything can happen on the job, but they have a say in the matter about what happens between them personally. The case and what happens in the season premiere informs a lot of things in their desire to make a go of it as a couple.

Li Jun Li is playing Burgess’ new partner; what can you tease of their dynamic and how Burgess is moving on in the wake of Roman’s exit?

Burgess’ attitude this season — going forward we will see how long it lasts — but it is important for her to trust her partner as she did with Roman. Sometimes you are presented with life and death situations and you damn well better be able to trust your partner. She’s a bit relieved when she finds out that she has a female partner, because as she explains in defending her vow of celibacy that she wants to take, “Forget in-house romances,” she doesn’t want romances for awhile, she just wants to concentrate on herself and knuckle down. So the new partner comes in, played Li Jun Li, and they get along because there is the right chemistry together, which is interesting for us in terms of the opportunity to explore two female cop partners, which does exist in Chicago and in other cities, and what that dynamic is like. We have Tay coming in with her baggage. It’s a story that was told to me by a female cop who dated a captain, and when the relationship went south, the captain went into punitive mode and moved her; she was a patrolmen to the worst district. Tay’s got a brick on her for the last year, writing parking tickets in front of the courthouse, and just trying to survive and hope this goes away. As it turns out, it takes a couple episodes and help from other people on the show to get that brick off of her, but she’s relieved to be a cop once again. In her mind, she’s hoping it lasts longer than a couple shifts.

Any other new additions? Or promotions or demotions?

No, we are sticking with that crew for right now.

Any chance for Burgess and Ruzek to get back together this season?

No, there’s always going to be an attraction there and never say never, but I think we fully exhausted that storyline all the way up until being engaged. To revisit might feel a little bit like a retread. I think they are both obviously very capable actors, we can give them some new storylines involving new characters.

But you will have a romance across shows. What can you tease of Brett and Antonio?

We kind of stumble onto it chemistry-wise between Antonio on P.D. and potentially Brett on Fire. We like them. You always go through the rosters in terms of where is everybody at and is there romance for them? We like those inter-show romances. They can be hard to facilitate scheduling-wise, but they do work. It started to gain some traction because of the actors. There’s plenty to play in terms of the May-December version of Brett to Antonio — his character has a couple kids, he’s divorced, no way should he be with this woman, but she’s had her heart broken. She’s looking for a real man, he qualifies. He’s looking for a real soul, a real heart, and she qualifies. In the middle of it you have his sister, who works with Brett. So far it’s been playing really well for us, but there will be little brush strokes as we go along. We’ll see where it goes.

What’s next for Ruzek this season?

We’ve been playing the education of Adam Ruzek essentially over the show. This wet-behind-the-ears kid, right out of the academy, he falls in with the uniform, which probably isn’t the best thing to do — his romance with Burgess, his dad was  a dog cop, as they say, and all along we wanted to track what it’s like for someone who rose as a cop and so we are playing that. We’ve been grooming him and it was said by Olinsky to the character last year, “You’ve got to decide what kind of cop you want to be. You want to be out there chasing girls or do you want to be a real cop?” We want that to resonate with the character, so we’re positioning him as a robust, full body, active cop. We’re going to start pairing him more with Atwater, who wants the same thing. They’re friends. We’re putting more time with Ruzek and Atwater as partners, kind of by design with Voight. It’s time to toss them in the deep end and see what they can do. There’s a cool pairing of those two cops with Olinsky as the Yoda, because he vouched for both of them, and so he’s teaching them along the way. It’s time for those two cops to be on their own as the next generation of detectives.

What else his in store for Olinsky?

We run into a couple things. We have a storyline coming up where it’s a character of wealth and fame is caught up in a murder mystery. It’s revealed that Olinsky was hanging around the house, much like when O.J. was friends with LAPD — there were LAPD officers hanging around his house, watching ball games, which complicated matters later, as we all know. It just gives another window into Olinsky’s life as for those lost years. When we first met him, he was living in his garage because he was separated from his wife and he had been in the wilderness for too long. This is a window back into the wilderness and maybe a re-appreciation for his family, so we have storylines coming up that address where he’s at.

How about for Platt?

Platt, we definitely crossover a little bit with Mouch on Fire on both shows. There’s a storyline that we’re doing on Fire where Brett and Mouch join up to write this firefighter romance lit, which is its own real genre that Mouch gets wind of, which Platt finds out maybe not the way that she would have preferred. So she’s mixed up on the Fire side of it all. And at the offset of this season, she’s the one who really went to bat to bring the Tay character over, locking horns with this commander, who is the one that broke the brick on Tay because of spurned advances. She takes a big risk in saving this girl’s career and also going toe-to-toe with this guy. It doesn’t work out well for her initially until she is able to get help from another character on the show to maybe turn the tables on this guy. So when we see her initially she’s identified a real good cop in Tay, who needs a break, which is great because we’ve played her as the gruff, usurped, sarcastic character, but this reinforces the other side of her, being great at what she does and identifying when someone needs help.

Anything for Halstead outside of the relationship with Lindsay?

Yeah, we have a storyline coming up in the first few episodes. The main thing is obviously him and Lindsay, but with the Mouse character, we’ve established he wants to go back and serve in the unit that they were in before they left, which throws Halstead into a huge spin in terms of not thinking the guy’s ready. What are the real reasons Halstead doesn’t want him to go? Is it out of concern for him, does he not think he’s equipped to go back and do it, is it his own fears or anxieties or scars that he carries with him that he’s attributing to Mouse? We’re playing that over a couple episodes — this friendship, driving  a wedge because he doesn’t want to facilitate Mouse going back over there to serve because by doing so, am I signing this kid’s death warrant? Keep in mind, Halstead’s the one who pulled Mouse out of the street, got him this job, looks after him, and now in his mind it’s all going to be for not because he’s on a kamikaze mission essentially.

Chicago P.D. returns Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.

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