Consider season 5 of Chicago P.D. something of a rebuilding year.
With Sophia Bush’s Erin Lindsay headed to New York to work undercover in a counter-terrorism unit of the FBI, season 4 guest star Tracy Spiridakos takes a permanent seat as Hailey Upton. With Chicago Justice out of the picture, Jon Seda’s Antonio Dawson will be back on the team. And that’s just onscreen. Behind the scenes, P.D. is working with a new showrunner, Rick Eid (Law & Order: SVU), who explained to EW a bunch more of the ch-ch-changes heading our way… and they don’t look great for Voight (Jason Beghe).
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I imagine Sophia Bush’s exit created a pretty significant shift in the series. Are we going to see a little bit more aftermath of Erin Lindsay’s departure?
RICK EID: In the season 5 premiere, her not being there is something people notice and comment on. But when actors leave, you move forward and you dramatize what you have in front of you playing with the actors we have.
Back in May, there was some talk about her coming back and wrapping up some stories. Are there any plans for that?
It’s too early to tell. I’m not sure about that.
How is Halstead handling her departure, especially since he was last seen expecting her to show up at Molly’s and maybe going to propose?
He and Voight in particular will feel her absence given their relationships, so they’ll both be dealing with her not being there in their own ways.
Is there a central theme for this season?
The real goal for this season is to try to attach this show to a time and place, and by that, I mean Chicago 2017. There’s a lot of interesting stuff going on in Chicago right now as it relates to the police department and to crime, so I think we’re really trying to locate the show in that universe more and really play what’s going on in society and in that particular city as much as possible. We’ll feel that our detectives are in that world.
It’s always been a really hard job to be a good cop in Chicago and it’s getting harder. There’s reform, the federal government is sort of helping them do their jobs, so to speak. So there’s a lot going on there that makes for interesting television, hopefully.
Are we going to see some of that reform and how it affects Voight especially?
Yeah. The goal remains the same: keeping the city safe and protecting its people, just how you get there might be a little different.
Is Halstead going to bounce back romantically or is it going to be awhile before he gets out there again?
I think he’s trying to work through some things in the early part of the season. Towards the end of the season, it’s possible, yes. But I think he’s trying to make sense of what’s happened. But there’ll be romance. There’ll be some romance and we’re going to explore their personal lives but I think he’s not in a place to pursue a meaningful relationship at the moment.
In the finale, Burgess was on leave as Marina Squerciati welcomed her first child. Is she going to remain on leave for a bit, or will she be back at the beginning of the season?
She is coming out of the box in episode 1. She’s going to be back in the saddle.
Speaking of the saddle, what’s the current state of her and Ruzek?
I think they both have strong feelings for each other and there’s still some lingering romantic tension there. We’ll see how that all plays out, but I don’t think early on necessarily they’ll be together but it’s something that’s possible.
Is Upton going to get in there and cause a little romantic drama?
We don’t know her very well… I think first and foremost with Tracy as Upton is to establish her as a person independent of her romantic beliefs and who she is. So we just want to really land her as a person and as a character, and then the romantic situation will sort of go from there.
How is Jon Seda going to re-enter the fold?
You’ll see him in the premiere. The way he comes back is there’s a need for him in this particular case and Voight reaches out to him and he appears on the show in a hopefully organic way and then he decides to stay. Voight wants him to come back, they have a great bond and a great relationship and I think deep down, he misses the excitement of being on the street and doing the type of cases that they do at Intelligence versus working at the State’s Attorney’s office.
You’ve got the 100th episode coming this season, though not for a while yet. Have you started to think about that?
We’ll do our best to make that a special episode. We’re building toward that so we don’t have anything specific on that right now, but we will do our best to make it worthy of the 100th episode, because that’s a heck of a landmark these days. I mean, not for Dick [Wolf] — he seems to have them all the time!
Chicago P.D. returns Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.