'Chicago P.D.' Boss Says 'Intense' Fall Finale Tests 'Upstead' Future and 'Burzek' Baby Surprise (Exclusive)
By Philiana Ng
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Jay Halstead is in trouble.
Chicago P.D. is gearing up for its fall finale on Wednesday, titled "Absolution," which finds Jay missing after he gets abducted and faces life-and-death stakes. Scrambling to save one of their own, Intelligence races to rescue Jay from dire straits but the task proves more difficult than they could ever imagine. (Of course.) Will they save him in time?
"Halstead's attempt to make a past wrong, right, puts him in harm's way," Chicago P.D. showrunner Rick Eid tells ET. That past wrong Eid is referring to is the Marcus West case from the Oct. 30 episode, "False Positive," in which Jay caught the wrong suspect he believed killed two young boys. "Jay was very aggressive in his policing trying to get a confession and it turns out the facial recognition software was wrong, and they had the wrong guy, and the man ended up getting killed, and in prison. That bothered him. That lingered with him."
"In an attempt to try to make sense of all that and purge himself of all his guilt, he does certain things that ultimately put him in harm's way," he previews. Ahead of the fall finale, ET spoke with Eid about Jay looking down the barrel of death, how Upton handles the news and Burgess' surprising pregnancy.
ET: The official synopsis for this episode hints at a "secret ongoing relationship" Jay has with a woman from the Marcus West case. What can you divulge?
Rick Eid: It's surprising, unexpected and I'll leave it at that. I don't want to give away too much, but it's consistent with Halstead.
How worried should we be about how Jay comes out of this?
You should be worried. He's in a bad position. He's in a bad place, and yeah, he should be worried.
There's been a slow burn between Jay and Upton. How does Upton handle him being in such a dangerous spot?
You'll see her react in a way that's representative of her feelings. Everybody wants to find Jay, and help Jay. She's just approaching it in a slightly different way, and you'll see a slightly different attitude, and I think it speaks to how strongly she feels for him.
It's been refreshing to see their relationship grow gradually as it slowly evolves, and they're in no rush to put a label on their connection. What has been your approach to this particular partnership?
Yeah. We talked about this going back all the way to last year, when she and Ruzek started hooking up. We would say that she and Ruzek are hooking up, but she and Halstead are in love. So even while she and Ruzek were, I guess, romantically involved, we still wrote Halstead and Upton like they were in love. So you're right. It's a slow burn, I guess is the answer. It's been lingering and burning now for awhile. It's fun to write.
Is there an end goal in mind that you have for them by the end of this season? Do you want them to reach a point where they're comfortable testing the romantic waters in a more official capacity?
Yeah, I think we're still thinking about it. You watch each episode and see how it looks, and what feels right and honest to these characters. So to answer the question, we don't have, like, a specific [destination]... "Episode 22, this is what's going to happen." We have a bunch of ideas what might happen, or what might not happen, but we always remain open to changing our minds.
How does this ordeal with Jay affect the P.D. team?
There aren't major changes. One of their own is taken and some bad things happen. [But] it will change things moving forward in very meaningful ways. It reminds them that their actions have consequences. I think there's a line, I don't know if it's in this episode or the next episode, but there's a line that, "The No. 1 killer of cops is guilt," you know? And I think it reminds them that it's not always easy to be a cop and that sometimes you can't act on your guilt. You have to just let it linger. I think that's the overarching sentiment.
In the last episode, the show dropped a surprise pregnancy for Burgess, who is expecting Ruzek's baby. When did you get the idea that this would be an interesting story to explore for these characters?
We were talking in the summer... We were talking about her character and what the natural next step for her character was. And then we started talking about how hard it is for female cops to have kids, to be pregnant, what the sacrifices they have to make. And then we started talking about being a single mother -- if that's something that would be interesting for a character. It's particularly hard when you're a cop, and especially a member of the Intelligence division. When your life is in danger, you're undercover, is it selfish to do that when you have a kid? Or do you have to take desk duty? Like, what does it all that mean? We started riffing on different ideas and ultimately, we decided she'd be pregnant, and that Ruzek was the father.
You touched on it a little bit already, but the question of balancing career with motherhood is something that working women deal with in real life. Are you fully diving into the complexities of that for Burgess and Ruzek?
I think so. I mean, we're still talking about a million different versions of this, but I think there's something very interesting about being the type of cop that Burgess and Ruzek are, and having a kid at that. And especially interesting from the female perspective 'cause I think there are certain expectations, maybe steeped in the past, that affect women more than men -- being a modern woman and being untethered to the past and how things used to be. What is it like now when you're a modern woman and you have a kid and you love your job, how do you square all of that up? When bullets are coming in your direction, it's a little different than if you're an investment banker or a pediatrician or a nurse or a teacher, you know what I mean? It forces you to organize your priorities in a way that a lot of people might not have to.
Ruzek was incredibly supportive and going with whatever Burgess decided to do -- if she wanted to keep the baby or not. She ended up deciding to cancel the appointment. What are Ruzek's true feelings about becoming a father?
Well, she just decided to cancel an appointment. Baby steps, baby steps.
Does that mean she's keeping the baby or is it more complicated than that?
I think it's more complicated. We dig in pretty thoroughly into all of this and Ruzek's feelings. This was just the first episode where they find out and I think they're both shell shell-shocked. It's a weird place to be as a woman. It's a weird place to be as a man, or I guess as the mother and the father. I think Burgess is trying to figure out what to do. I think Ruzek is figuring out, "What's my role in this? How do I -- am I allowed to have an opinion? Am I not allowed to have an opinion? If I have an opinion, am I out of place?" But in episode 11, we dig into this in a very thorough way.
How would you describe the fall finale?
It's intense, suspenseful and emotional. And there's a big cliffhanger at the end. You'll get to see Upton and Halstead's relationship, in some form or fashion, on display. You'll see the team come together to try to rescue one of their own and you'll see a very intense, edge-of-your-seat, suspenseful crime show playing out in front of your eyes.
The Chicago P.D.fall finale airs Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
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