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Exclusive Interview with Chicago P.D.’s Marina Squerciati

Photo Credit: Jean Whiteside/NBC
Photo Credit: Jean Whiteside/NBC

Marina Squerciati plays beat cop Kim Burgess on NBC’s Chicago P.D. Squerciati recently talked to us about what the future holds for Burgess, how new partner, Julie Tay, might impact things and whether she still believes in #Burzek. Check out our chat below, and tune into Chicago P.D. every Wednesday at 10/9c on NBC!

You said last season that you expected to see a darker version of Burgess in season four. Are you seeing that so far in the episodes that you’ve shot?

I think ‘darker’ is the wrong word because it implies that she’s going to be Voight. It’s more that she’s a little less trusting, a little more cautious. Burgess is pretty light. This is a couple of shades darker, for sure. She’s learned- she’s been burned a couple of times, she’s maybe been a little too trusting. She has learned and is probably a better cop now because of it. I think she still has that sensitivity and empathy which makes her Burgess, and that’s important. She hasn’t lost that. She is a little darker, for sure.”

We have an idea of what is ahead for her in her personal life, but what about career-wise? Are we going to see her grow at all? Do you finally get your wish of going undercover?

It’s so funny- I don’t think the undercover thing is happening, but I’ll try. I’ll tweet the writers to death if I have to! (laughs)

She wanted to be in Intelligence so much in the beginning. When you start a show, the fans sort of glom onto that beginning persona. Even though Burgess has let it go, I don’t think the fans have. That’s really interesting that they’re still rooting for her to be in Intelligence. I think Burgess has let that side of her go, and I think she appreciates where she is. This new Tay relationship is fascinating. I think fans will be most surprised by what happens and where it goes. I don’t know what it’ll push me to do.”

Speaking of Tay- can you tease at all what kind of impact Tay is going to have on Burgess this year?

I think we all have that person that changes our life, or makes us remember. I think that’ll be Tay for Burgess. What happens with the Tay/Burgess storyline is something that will change Burgess’ life forever.”

Is there anything that hasn’t happened for her that you’d love to see happen? Do you want her to stay on the beat, or move into Intelligence? Where would you like to see her go?

I really love being on the beat. I think Burgess and Marina are a little scared about the whole Intelligence thing! (laughs) It’s a different job- literally and on the show. It’s like learning a different home or a different school with new friends.

I don’t want to lose what I have with Amy [Morton]. I think that would be important if anything were to happen. I love where I am, and I love wearing the uniform every day. It’s like a school uniform. You don’t have to worry about what you’re going to wear. It’s like, ‘this is what I wear. Blue polyester, every day!’ (laughs) I’m really comfortable, but maybe we need to shake that up. I’m not sure.

I’ve said a lot in a lot of interviews that I speak Spanish fluently, and I’d like to use it on the show. I think at this point, I’m officially harassing the writers if I say it again. I just say it so much because I want it to happen. I think it would be really cool! It hasn’t happened, but hope springs eternal!”

I have to address the Burzek-sized elephant in the room.

I know, it’s crazy! (laughs)”

Showrunner Matt Olmstead was quoted earlier in the season. He said that he thought Burzek’s storyline was “fully exhausted.” What do you think? Is there still hope for them? Is their story done, or is there more to tell?

I think there’s more to tell. It should be revisited. I was really surprised. I got on Twitter, and my mentions exploded. I had to get off Twitter for a little because I was so upset. I really didn’t think it was the end of the line.

It can go two ways. If Burgess stays on the beat, I feel like it should be revisited. I don’t think the door is necessarily closed. I think both Ruzek and Burgess had a lot to learn, but I think that they’re meant for each other. I don’t know that the writers agree! Paddy [Patrick John Flueger] and I will keep fighting the good fight. Maybe we’ll wear them down. (laughs)”

Knowing how devoted you and Paddy are to Burzek, I’m curious. If we revisit last season, what was your reaction when you saw that Burgess and Roman were going to happen?

I think it was fine until I found out that Ruzek was going to find out in the courtroom in front of everyone. That was pretty traumatic. I felt really awful about that. That was a hard thing, but I have a really fun time working with Brian [Geraghty], too, so it was interesting, and it pushed me in a different way. They both approach acting so differently that it was kind of cool to work with them both intimately.”

The cool thing about P.D. is that it never shies away from the big issues. It’s to the point now that almost every episode is a really heavy one. What has been your favorite episode to date?

I’m really excited to see episode three (airing on 10/05), where Platt gets taken down, and she and her father get attacked. Platt always comes in in a position of power, and to see her in a hospital bed is really hard for Burgess. How do you treat someone who is your mentor when they’re down and out? It’s really interesting, and how Burgess handles it is kind of unique. Also, Amy is the greatest actor of our time (laughs). So, to see her stretch her legs literally and figuratively is amazing.

LaRoyce [Hawkins] has an episode coming up, too, where we get into his family life. You see how Burgess is involved in his family life, which I really like. We haven’t seen Atwater and Burgess together in a while. It’s nice to touch on it just to remind you that they always have each others’ backs.”

I’m curious about the relationship an actor has with his or her character. Do you as an actor approach it the same way as the fans- where if something comes up, you just think “Burgess! You’re smarter than that!” If it has happened, what has been that moment for you?

I think when I read the Justice episode, and I shot the kid, that was tough to read. I think I feel Burgess out now, so there’s nothing I’m surprised by. Or maybe not surprised by- that sounds wrong. I don’t find that I’m saying ‘Burgess! What are you doing?’ I relate to her now. She’s so much a part of me that I probably would do the same stuff. But I’d probably just trip a lot more- because I’m a klutz. (laughs)”

Something that the fans have been dying for is a blooper reel. The cast is very active on social media, so we see how funny you guys are when the cameras aren’t on. Is there a blooper that sticks out in your mind that you could tell us about?

Oh my gosh! (laughs) Every once in a while, someone will have a line. It’s simple, but for some reason, it doesn’t stick in your brain. You’ll see that person do it twenty times, and all the actors are trying to be supportive behind the camera like ‘it’s okay! You can do it!” And we’re all cracking up because we’ve all been there and it’s kind of funny.

It’ll be as simple as, ‘did anybody hail a taxi? Did anybody hail it? Taxi- what was it?’ And it’s that kind of thing that cracks us up.”

When you’re not in Chicago, you stay pretty busy. Can you tell us about some of your most recent projects and where we might see them? You shot Marshall over hiatus, correct?

Yeah, I’m excited about that. I think that’s going to be a really wonderful movie. I read the script, and it was so powerful. It’s about the early life of Thurgood Marshall, who was a Supreme Court justice, when he was a lawyer for the fledgling NAACP. He goes to Connecticut to defend a black chauffeur accused of raping his white socialite employer. It was in the 1940’s. I play Josh Gad’s wife, who is co-counsel to Thurgood Marshall, played by Chadwick Boseman. We’re sort of ostracized from the Jewish community because it’s a time when Hitler is coming about, and Jews are trying not to stick their necks out too much. He’s making a lot of noise by defending this black man in this difficult time in race relations. The movie is about Thurgood Marshall and this amazing side story about this Jewish community in the 1940’s.”

Do you know when we might see it?

I don’t! No- Open Road, who did Spotlight, bought it recently. We’re pretty excited about that. I don’t know when we’ll see it; it’s in post-production now, but trust me, I will be there!”

You produce a web series as well, right?

I wrote and starred in a web series called Special Skills. Now I’m trying to figure out how to release it. Do I release it once every two weeks? How do I do it? I’m trying to figure that out. It is so funny. The first episode with Monica [Raymund] and Paddy is so hilarious. It’s called Party Animals. I actually wrote it with Brian Geraghty’s stand-in, Patrick Webb, and he’s now Philip Winchester’s stand-in. I keep it tight- all in the family! We don’t stray. We keep it close! (laughs)”

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