Fans of “Chicago P.D.” character Kim Burgess — and star Marina Squerciati — must say a temporary goodbye in Wednesday’s episode, titled “Last Minute Resistance.” After filming the episode in early March, the 33-year-old actress took maternity leave for her first child, due early this month.
Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) grants Burgess a leave of absence from the Intelligence Unit. Both character and star go out on top.
In the episode, Burgess and the Intelligence Unit investigate the brutal sexual assault of her sister, Nicole (Jules Wilcox). It’s one of Squerciati’s finest episodes as she shows Burgess — who faced some challenges when she moved to the Intelligence Unit earlier this season — finally come into her own while dealing with a highly personal case.
“It’s important that she is growing and becoming a different cop,” Squerciati said. “She is exploring her strength. In this [case] I think she goes a little bit too far, but I think most of us would if a family member was hurt.”
The last time a “Chicago P.D.” episode focused on Squerciati’s character, Burgess — still a uniformed officer — shot a suspect and set off citywide protests over police brutality. The latest episode explores the same type of topical subject matter, raising questions about sexual assault, consent and how Internet anonymity spurs inappropriate and sometimes dangerous behavior.
“Right now, consent is such a big thing in the news, especially with this Facebook Live [assault] that just happened,” Squerciati said. “It’s so important that we talk about these things in art, and I’m honored that I can bring them to the forefront. It’s hard as an actor and it’s difficult and dark, but it’s great to be able to make it a part of people’s Wednesday night conversation.”
The subject matter made this one of Squerciati’s most emotionally draining episodes to film, but her pregnancy added a bit of levity to filming. Viewers of recent episodes probably have noticed Burgess carrying more file folders, standing behind her fellow detectives or filing cabinets, or wearing bulky coats
Squerciati wasn’t sure how the production would pull off one scene in this episode in which her character goes undercover with Detective Erin Lindsay (Sophia Bush). “When I read, ‘Burgess and Lindsay go to the club dressed to the nines,’ I was like, you have got to be kidding me,” she said. “I work out so hard to try and keep in shape, and the one episode where I’m at my most pregnant, I get to wear club clothing?”
Squerciati said the wardrobe team got creative, and production also raised the height of the bar tables by putting books under the table legs.
Since completing the episode, Squerciati has been getting ready for the baby. This summer she plans to stay in Chicago, where she has taken comedy and other acting classes. She still plans to write more episodes of “Special Skills,” the web series she created with local actor Patrick Webb, and will be back shooting “Chicago P.D.” in the fall.
But until then, she has a special message for potential viewers of “Chicago P.D.” “If you’ve never seen [the show] I think this is the one to watch, because everyone is involved emotionally and physically,” she said. “It’s really topical and beautiful. I’m so proud of this episode.”
Read more about Squerciati’s web series at www.tvshowpatrol.com.