Wednesday night’s new episode of “Chicago PD” gave us one of the most difficult Trudy Platt stories of the entire series, and almost arguably the strongest Amy Morton performance to date. She’s someone so beloved by fans and the characters in Intelligence alike that seeing her go through something terrible like losing her father, while having her own life in jeopardy, only made it all the more harrowing and difficult to watch.
Earlier today, we had a chance to speak with Morton about this story, its challenges, and the long-term ramifications that it could have on her character.
CarterMatt – When did you first find out that you were getting a spotlight episode like this?
Amy Morton – It was pretty much when I got the script. There was someone on the set who had an advance copy, and they were like ‘you’re really in it,’ and that was about it. Then I read it and I went ‘wow, I really am in it.’ I loved reading it. I got really psyched. I got really excited.
What was the range of emotions for you in reading it? I know that for me there’s this excitement of getting to learn more about this character, but at the same time you don’t want to see anything bad happen to [Platt].
Oh, I was really excited. I’m like ‘sure, put Trudy through anything — just don’t have her die, do you know what I mean?’
For an actor, this is candy. ‘Wow, I get to do this, and then do that? I’m aiming my gun at that guy, and then I’m in the hospital?’ It’s great. Just let me at it. I had a great time.
In doing this episode, did you change your preparation for it in any way as opposed to the standard episode?
I certainly needed to get a lot more sleep, because my hours were going to be a lot longer than they usually are and I was shooting many more days than I usually. I talked a lot to Brian Luce, who is one of the [police] technical advisers on the show. He’s unbelievably helpful, so talking to him about procedure and about what about cops go through on a daily basis and the psychology of getting through days that are really difficult was unbelievably helpful.
For you, was there any scene that was the most difficult to shoot?
The most difficult stuff, quite frankly, was the physical stuff — trying to make the fighting look real. I’m not a spring chicken anymore, and I wanted to make sure that stuff didn’t look super-fakey. To me, it was the fight at the car that was probably the most difficult. Some of that stuff I had a stunt double for which was great, but for some of the close-up stuff it had to be me, so I think that physical stuff was what worried me the most. The emotional stuff, I’m an actor and I’ve been doing this forever. That wasn’t the hard part.
I want to talk about the scene near the end of the episode between you and Jason [Beghe]. What was the significance of having it be Voight who was the one to ensure that she did not kill the man responsible for killing her father? Was the significance there a product of their history together, or a function of what he went through at the end of last season?
I think it’s all of it. I think the only character who could have had that conversation with me, and that Platt would listen to, would have been Voight. I don’t think anyone else could have had that conversation with her; I think anyone else would have breezed right past her.
The fact that it was him, and that they’ve known each other for so long, was [essential]. They haven’t had a conversation about it, but I’m pretty sure she knows what he did. I love that stuff because it’s not talked about. It’s left up to the audience to get the puzzle pieces to fit together as to why that conversation is happening between those two particular people. I love the symmetry of that, that it has to do with both things: That he just went through something like that, and that their relationship is so long.
Does this stick with Trudy for a long time, and is it addressed for a while in the future? Is this something she’ll try to bury in the back of her head? I’ve never been through anything quite like what she did so I can’t imagine how she processes it.
She does become in future episodes maybe a little bit more empathetic, but I don’t know how outwardly that’s displayed. She is still who she is. She’s also become very wealthy, so who knows where that will take her.
I don’t know [where we are going]. I have no idea ultimately where it’s going to take her in some of the episodes still to come.
NBC was promoting this episode by reminding us that Platt is ‘the heart’ [of the team], and she’s someone people go to if they need someone. Is there some poetry in that now she may need something more from others? Does going through this change her relationships with any of the other characters in some way?
I do think that her relationship with Burgess gets stronger. I don’t think she necessarily becomes sweet with Burgess because I don’t think that’s in her nature, but I do think they have a closer friendship, and maybe I become more of a mentor. I don’t know, but I do see that probably changing and becoming stronger.
After going through something like this, what continues to drive Trudy? You did mention that she has this inheritance, so could she consider a different future; or, is this so ingrained in who she is that she could never walk away from it?
I don’t think she would ever not want to be behind that desk. It’s in her blood; she’s a cop, there’s no other way around. Now of course, if there’s a huge write-in campaign to do an episode in France (laughs), that would be great. That’s probably not going to happen, but wouldn’t that be fun because I’m rich!
I don’t really see anything changing — maybe I’ll get a better house or something, or a better car.
I guess we’ll have to wait on the Paris – ‘Chicago PD’ crossover…
Well, if we get enough fans to write it in — we need to see Platt in Paris — that’d be great!
In speaking of crossovers, do you have anything coming up in that department?
I’ve shot a couple of ‘Fire’ episodes already, and those have been really fun because they’ve been Mouch plot scenes, and [they’re] really funny. I think that’s going to be really cool.
I spoke with Jon [Seda] earlier this week about him moving over to ‘Chicago Justice.’ What’s the mood around that on set? I’m sure it’s sad to lose a close friend to another show, but you’ll still have plenty of chances to see each other.
Jon is dearly beloved on that set, so he’s going to be very missed — but, my feeling is that he’s going to be around. He’s still a cop over on ‘Justice,’ he’s going to be investigating and whatnot. So I feel like he’s going to be doing a lot of crossing over, which is great. He’s really great to have on the set.
Is there anything that you want to say about the remainder of the season? I know this was a very heavy episode, so is there anything lighter on the way?
Platt is still Platt, so there is still some lighter stuff ahead for her. She’s still quick with the wit, and that hasn’t changed, which is great because that would be a shame. She gets right back on that horse, so that’s what you have to look forward to — Platt hasn’t changed that much, I don’t think.
If you missed it, you can head over here now to read our full review for this past episode of “Chicago PD.” Meanwhile, sign up over at this link to score some other TV news on everything we cover, sent right over to you via our official CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: NBC.)