That Chicago Fire-Chicago P.D. double-whammy was quite a journey for Severide, eh? After finding out he could no longer donate his bone marrow to Anna and going into an epic downward spiral that landed him in jail and suspected of vehicular homicide, it’s hard to imagine that the pride of Firehouse 51 is going to be walking on the sunny side of the street anytime soon.
EW caught up with executive producers Matt Olmstead and Derek Haas to rehash this heavy crossover and discuss what’s down the pipeline for Taylor Kinney’s character.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I spoke to Derek a few weeks ago, and he said he felt this was Taylor Kinney’s best performance to date. Matt, do you agree with that?
MATT OLMSTEAD: I would agree with that. He’s given a lot of great performances; obviously, the guy is a star. But it’s pretty riveting seeing him there, and just the way he tracked this defiant, indignant, pissed off, and this dawning realization of “Man, I might’ve done this, and if I did, don’t come for me,” and then the relief and gratitude later.
Even after he realizes the accident wasn’t his fault, he’s still beating himself up. Are we going to see more of that?
DEREK HAAS: I can say that continues forward into the next Chicago Fire where he takes some serious punishment for the benefit of someone else. Anna (Charlotte Sullivan), in particular.
Are we going to see her more?
HAAS: Yes. We’re not done with that. Her treatments were going terribly in the episodes that you just watched but there’s going to be an improvement, which is going to give Severide the chance to donate. But there are complications that are going to involve some serious pain on his part, and Severide, in the place that he’s at following these two episodes, welcomes it.
Seems like this is also setting up a bit of a romantic situation there with Anna.
HAAS: Your instincts are dead on.
Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo) took being the emergency contact really personally and seriously. Are they going to reconnect?
HAAS: Yes! We really liked the Severide-Kidd pairing that we had going toward the end of last season, into the beginning of this season, and then for plot reasons they separated. But we thought as we were developing the second half of the season, an interesting two characters to follow would be Kidd’s feelings toward Severide as Severide’s feelings grow toward this patient that he’s trying to save.
Why would Lindsay (Sophia Bush) pick Severide up from prison instead of Kidd?
HAAS: When we were devising the two hours, the second hour definitely focused on the question of Lindsay’s judgment perhaps being compromised by the fact that she had gone out with this guy who could’ve potentially had a vehicular homicide. And the way that played with her interactions with both Voight (Jason Beghe) and Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer), it seemed proper for the story to have her be the one who picked him up at the end because she was the one who believed in him all the way down the road in that second hour.
Are there going to be further ripple effects on that for Lindsay and Halstead?
OLMSTEAD: No, we’re really happy with the chemistry and the storyline of Halstead and Lindsay. We played obviously the Severide-Lindsay storyline early on in the show. Who knows? We could have another ripple, but right now there are no plans to revisit Lindsay-Severide.
HAAS: Practically speaking, it’s hard because we have two actors who are in just about every scene of their own shows, and then trying to bring them over to do crossovers within episodes that weren’t big crossovers was very difficult.
Given their history — and the history of the shows — it was nice to see Casey (Jesse Spencer) and Voight and their drama popping back up.
HAAS: Matt Olmstead, who is sitting next to me, was the original writer of that third episode of Chicago Fire, and in a lot of ways, that scene where Voight sits across from Casey in that diner and slams his hand on the table and says, ‘I’m not asking!’ — that honestly launched four seasons of another show. So anytime we can go back to Casey and Voight and their complicated, complicated relationship, that’s very fun for us.
OLMSTEAD: Really the first time that there was some civility was the beginning of this season on P.D. when, at the crime scene, Casey extended his hand and said, “I’m sorry to hear about your son,” who had died. And that meant a lot to Voight. … When they do cross, there’s got to be some meaning behind it because it just can’t be a casual, “Hey, how’s it going?”
On the P.D. side going forward, what is it going to take for Burgess (Marina Squerciati) to prove herself to Olinsky (Elias Koteas)?
OLMSTEAD: Having now seen and been a part of the scripts going through episode 16, there is a full arc. It’s not just open-ended discord and hostility. Initially, she realizes, “This is a test, and he has articulated why he thinks I may not be ready, and Al’s treating me in a way that either is sincere or might also serve a dual purpose of trying to push my buttons and see if I’ll actually confirm his suspicions by complaining, by bursting into tears, by quitting.” And so she realizes very early on, “I’ve got to just nod my head and say, ‘You’ve got it’ and ‘When do you want it’ and take care of it. And however long it lasts is however long it lasts because he’s not going to break me. I’m not going to walk away from Intelligence; I’ve wanted it my whole career and I finally got here. He of all people is not going to take it from me.”
Does Voight have any of those concerns?
OLMSTEAD: He smartly knows when to just drop back and observe and let people work out what they need to work out. Or, if people make a valid point, he’ll see how far it goes with it. … He’s not being Machiavellian and pitting people against each other for his own amusement, but he wants to see: Bring the new girl up, she has a certain style reinforced by how she interacted with Platt, I believe in her, but she’s got to adapt and grow as a detective or patrolman up in Intelligence and see if she can do it. So Voight is letting it happen.
And Al’s already trained Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger) to be a good member of the team. How does he feel about his mentor’s new focus?
OLMSTEAD: Ruzek is aware of that training, and so maybe he’s a little bit reluctant to see his former flame have to go through that knowing that [Olinsky’s] Baptism by fire is not a hand-holding situation.
Is there room for a rekindling there? Ruzek’s clearly not over Burgess.
OLMSTEAD: That’s one of the surprises Burgess encounters when she goes over to Intelligence. She looks to him and thinks, “Here’s my ally, here’s my rock, my friend,” when actually he doesn’t want to deal with it. He kind of flees from having to interact with her, and she realizes actually Ruzek took [their breakup] a little bit harder than she anticipated.
Chicago P.D. has another new episode on Wednesday at 10 p.m. on NBC. Chicago Fire airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on NBC.