PASADENA, Calif. — Congratulations Linstead fans, you broke the internet.
Or at least temporarily messed up Sophia Bush’s phone.
When federal task force rookie Erin Lindsay (Bush) and Det. Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) took it beyond the friend zone in last week’s “Chicago P.D.,” the reaction from Linstead shippers was enthusiastic to say the least.
“I was getting so many tweets per second my phone was freezing; it was wild,” Bush told me at the TV critics’ press tour Friday. She and Soffer were in California repping “P.D.,” along with Jesse Spencer, Taylor Kinney and Eamonn Walker from “Chicago Fire.”
The actress watched the episode in Chicago with her cast mates and the NBC drama’s co-developer Derek Haas, who snapped a “super sneaky photo” of Bush’s mortified reaction to the hot and heavy scene with Soffer.
“I’m so bashful when it comes to that stuff,” the former “One Tree Hill” star said. “I have to remind myself, it may be us on TV, but grownups have sex. It’s OK.”
Halstead and Lindsay have been flirting for what feels like an eternity. They couldn’t act on their feelings because they both worked for the police department’s Intelligence Unit, and Sgt. Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) made it clear that inter-unit romance is a no-no. That hurdle was removed when Linsday jumped shipped to go to the task force.
Soffer’s thoughts on the hook up: It’s about time.
“It’s great that Linstead is finally happening,” he said, noting that fans were getting restless. “I think the Linstead fans would’ve tuned out if they waited one more episode. My social media has just blown up with hashtag Linstead. It’s crazy.”
“I’m sure Voight’s going to find out at some point and we’ll see the wrath of what that looks like,” Soffer added. “That’ll be fun to play.”
One group that isn’t thrilled about the new cop couple: Linseride shippers. They’ve been waiting for things to heat up again between Lindsay and “Fire’s” Lt. Kelly Severide (Kinney). Don’t hold your breath, Bush basically said.
“At this point I think it’s very much dead in the water,” she said about Lindsay’s relationship with Severide. “It was made pretty clear on ‘Chicago Fire’ that while Erin understood what Kelly was going through after Shay died, she’s not going to be the one to sit around and deal with a guy who can’t curb his drinking or talk about his feelings. But if we’re lucky and our shows go for a decade, I’m not making any promises.”
Linstead was in the works for a long time.
“The intention was always to have Linstead be a thing,” Bush said. “We had stage direction about it in script No. 1. I liked the idea of holding off on it for as long as we could. There’s a really special thing that happens when two longtime friends realize they don’t just love each other but they’re in love with each other. What we’re excited to explore is, ‘What does it look like when the starting point is already so far advanced?’”
Lindsay and Halstead exude so much chemistry on screen, some fans have wondered how much the two actors are, well, acting.
After the show’s panel at the TV critics’ tour, another reporter asked Bush if she had someone special in her life. The actress wasn’t taking the bait and declined to answer. I broached the topic later on with Soffer.
“No, no, no,” he said with a smile. (He seemed to be telling the truth … but he is a professional actor.) “We have a great relationship. We’ve been friends for years. I think that chemistry shows through. Our casts spend so much time together. We’re really like one big family.”
Bush and Soffer actually were family in NBC’s “Hatfields and McCoys” pilot, a Charlize Theron-produced show that NBC opted not to pick up. They were cast as siblings. “P.D.” co-star Patrick John Flueger (Det. Adam Ruzek) played their younger brother.
Keep reading for the answers to some non-Linstead-related questions from fans. And don’t forget to check out the fan-generated Q&A with “Chicago Fire” star Jesse Spencer. Still to come: Q&As with Taylor Kinney and showrunner Matt Olmstead.
“I think you’re going to start meeting Halstead’s family members within a few episodes,” Soffer said, keeping the details under wraps. “Possibly siblings coming somewhere in the next four or five episodes. We’ll see where that goes.”
“She’s going to have to evaluate; A bad first day doesn’t necessarily mean a bad career move,” Bush said. “If it doesn’t get better, we all know she’s not shy about telling the truth. If she’s not happy she’ll leave. Only time will tell.”
Whether she stays or goes (and c’mon, she’s bound to go back to Intelligence), Lindsay’s jump to the task force is something everyone can relate to, Bush said.
“It really just went to the sort of human notion of always looking for the next thing. We’re always looking for what’s the next step, how do I get better, how do I move up the ranks? In Lindsay’s case, she gets this great opportunity, being recruited by the feds. And they’ve got the big budget. And they’ve got the big organization. But as I think we’ve seen in the first episode, our [Intelligence Unit] is very surgical and works like a family and sort of has a shorthand. When she goes to work for the feds, her boss doesn’t care about the CIs. He’s just really more concerned with keeping the steamroller rolling, if you will. And what will happen for me is a sort of exploration in that conflict of do I want what looks better on paper or was I happier in this place I was in before?”
“It’s not often that the police department gets themselves into trouble and needs ‘Fire’ to come,” Soffer said. “The fire department ends up saying, ‘We need cop help.’ That’s not to belittle them at all. They uncover criminal activity and then they call us.”
Soffer has popped up a lot on “Fire.”
“But I’ve never had a scene with Cruz and Otis — I’d love to,” he said. “Halstead should get into Zumba.”
“Chicago P.D.” airs at 9 p.m. (Central) Wednesdays on NBC.