Chicago P.D. star Patrick John Flueger on Ruzek's desperation to save Burgess: 'His head is exploding'
Season 8 of NBC's Chicago P.D. wraps on Wednesday but fans shouldn't expect it to be tied together with a neat little bow, as evidenced by EW's exclusive clip from the finale above.
Last week's big cliffhanger saw new mom Burgess (Marina Squerciati) drive solo in search of a potentially dangerous perpetrator who successfully evaded the team. He was waiting for her in the dead of night ready to pounce — and now she's gone.
Her on/off love Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger) is now under intense pressure to ensure she makes it home to her adopted daughter Makayla, whom he promised to look after should anything happen to her.
"We shot that scene at about three in the morning, so most of the intensity came from multiple cups of coffee," Flueger tells EW with a laugh. "Yes, the stakes are higher when it's one of our own. Everyone wants Burgess back, and everyone has their own ideas of how best to do that. It's definitely a recipe for conflict. Ruzek's got a child that he's now responsible for. He's gonna have to shift and change, but for now, I think his head is exploding."
Adds series executive producer Rick Eid, "Ruzek loves Burgess and has promised to be Makayla's guardian. So, as you might imagine, he's incredibly invested; he'll do anything to find her alive. His passion and intensity in this episode are off the charts!"
As fans might predict, Ruzek isn't the only one struggling to navigate the intersection between doing the right thing and doing whatever needs to be done to save Burgess. Voight (Jason Beghe), who has worked hard to do things by the book this season, goes off the rails in the finale in the finale.
"Police reform has been an important part of season 8. Voight and the other team members have tried really hard to modify their behavior and do things by the book," Eid shares. "They know the world has changed and that they must change, too. But that doesn't mean it's going to be easy. Especially for Voight. He's done things a certain way for a very long period of time."
He continues, "In the season finale, our goal was to put this idea of police reform under a microscope; to see how our different characters react when a loved one is in harm's way. Will they cross lines, or will they follow the letter of the law? As you'll see, they all have different points of view on the best way to proceed. They all want to find Burgess, of course, but there's lots of conflict and tension regarding the best way to do that."
The events surrounding Burgess' abduction will also affect the dynamic duo known as Upstead.
"Halstead [Jesse Lee Soffer] and Upton [Tracy Spiridakos] have a complicated relationship, but they love each other very much," the P.D. boss says. "They also have different philosophies about policing, which might make it hard for them to stay together. In the finale, the police and personal storylines will intersect ... causing Upton to make a difficult decision."
If Burgess should survive, could this be the catalyst to a romantic reunion? Both Flueger and Eid sound hopeful.
"I've always liked that their relationship was atypical. It's been its own thing that sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. But at this point. I wouldn't mind for them to be able to experience some normalcy," Flueger says with a laugh.
Watch the season 8 finale of Chicago P.D. on Wednesday night at 10 p.m. on NBC.
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