‘Chicago PD’ exclusive: Marina Squerciati on Burgess’ move, Ruzek, Rixton, and more

Burgess -After a brief hiatus, “Chicago PD” returns to NBC on Wednesday night with the first of several episodes that are airing throughout the month of February.  Over the course of these episodes, you’ll have a chance to see everything from shocking cases to big character reveals. Not only that, but Ruzek will be back with Intelligence soon!

In leading up to the show’s return we had a chance to speak to Marina Squerciati about Burgess’ evolution this season, her arrival to Intelligence, and what could happen when Ruzek does end up coming back. We also touched briefly on the upcoming “Chicago Justice” crossover airing March 1 and a great interaction between her and another member of the bullpen.

CarterMatt – What’s the transformation been like for you being up with up in Intelligence now?

Marina Squerciati – Back when it was season 1 and Atwater was making it and I wasn’t I was upset! But then I got used to being in blue and having a different trajectory… It’s a bit hard to leave it. I do miss it. It’s a different feeling being in the blue, and I really respect the people who walk the streets.

I don’t know how much it’s changed your shooting schedule, as in if you’re doing a lot less work out in the field.

Yea, I am spending a lot more time out in the bullpen. It’s a little bit of a learning curve for both Marina and for Burgess. There’s all this catching up to do — all these people have been up there for three and a half years, and I’m just coming. Marina and Burgess, we’re learning how to walk the walk and talk the talk at Intelligence.

One of the things that I’ve wondered is why Voight decided to pair her up with Olinsky, because he’s kind of a curmudgeon, to put it lightly.

But Burgess is such a bright light, she’s hard to put out! It’s funny because Olinsky is like my mom’s favorite, and all my mom’s friends have a crush on Elias [Koteas]. But then Olinsky started treated me badly and she’s like out (laughs). She’s so loyal to me, and she’s like ‘I certainly made a mistake in my alliance?

What’s it been like working with Elias?

He takes the words seriously. He’s like Patty (Patrick John Flueger). If we’re having trouble with a scene, we can help each other through it. Elias is just, to watch him and learn from him and how quiet he is on screen — literally and figuratively. He is such a lovely presence that it’s fun to work with him.

We’ve started to see more of a melting of the ice between Olinsky and Burgess. Is that going to continue moving forward into the season?

Coming up during the crossover, which we just started last night (at the time of conducting this interview), there is going to be such a moving scene. I’m both scared and excited to do it. Any walls that are still there by the crossover are going to start crumbling down.

You mentioned Patty earlier, and obviously the Ruzek question is still out there. How much is his decision to leave in her head?

I think a lot, but what I think is going to be interesting is how it resolves itself because it does resolve itself. The way Burgess acts surprises her. I always love that, when a character acts in a way that they don’t think they’re going to act. We all have these ideals about how we would act in a certain situation, but they don’t come to pass because we’re human and certain emotions run wild. I’m excited to see what the audience thinks when that resolution happens.

We haven’t see too much direct interaction of Burgess and Rixton, but how’s she feeling about him?

I knew that right away — she does not like Rixton. It’s like your boyfriend or ex-fiance’s place was taken over by someone. It’s not his fault, but she does not like this character. That’s clear to me. Whenever there isn’t anything written in, I just give Rixton a dirty look. That’s how I make it work.

Is there anything that he could do other than Ruzek coming back and the two being there at the same time?

I think he’d just have to leave, I don’t know — Burgess holds a mean grudge!

What’s the state of things between Burgess and Platt? Obviously their relationship is in good footing, but the dynamic’s different now that she’s up in the cage. Are there still going to be some of those moments with the two?

I hope so! When the writers brought me up [to Intelligence], one of the things that the writers said that they want to preserve is the relationship between me and Amy Morton. It hasn’t really come to pass, to be honest — I haven’t had any scenes with her. That makes me sad, so I hope coming up we have some scenes together. I think that’s what makes the show so great is that our relationship is so frenemy-like.

Season 3 was about Burgess going through some personal changes, in between what happened with Ruzek and then the relationship with Roman. Has it been nice to shake things up and focus on some professional changes this time?

I think everyone’s really happy to see Burgess focus on herself and her career a little bit. I still think there’s a part of me that feels like the Ruzek storyline is unresolved, so I’d like to see that resolved while at the same time I’d like to see her keep growing independent of any man.

Is there anything coming up in this upcoming run of episodes that you’re especially excited for people to see?

Yea, I mean 4×14 (airing February 15) is where the resolution or non-resolution between me and Ruzek happens. I’m excited for people to see what happens — if it goes well or goes poorly. Then, I’m excited to go on Twitter to read people’s reactions!

Do reading those reactions ever give you any ideas or thoughts on the character, or do you just trust your gut and go with that instinct?

I like to listen to what the fans say, but if you trust the compliments you have to trust the insults too. I try to listen and not let it affect me too much. 95% of what I see is support, and that makes me happy! It’s quite a lovely thing that people like Burgess and how she’s doing with Intelligence. I also think it’s good that some people don’t like her, because she makes mistakes and that makes her imperfect and more interesting. If everyone likes me, that would be a problem.

I don’t tend to get too political here, but obviously we’re in the middle of a tough time for many in the country, and I know that in the Dick Wolf universe there’s always a lot of inspiration that comes from what’s happening in the now. Do you see what’s happening right now influencing the story or decisions being made?

I don’t know, since we just get the scripts and aren’t in the writers room, but I do think that the scripts are a little bit darker right now, but I think what makes it an incredibly dark show is the relationships between the people in Intelligence and how close they are. If you don’t agree with things that are going on outside your home, at least you come home and you’re happy. That’s the way that it is — the storylines have been very tough lately, but up in that bullpen, we’re all supporting each other.

Okay, so let’s end on a lighter note — I ask you about this almost every time we talk, but are there any whispers of the five-part crossover happening yet?

We always hear whispers that the five-headed horse is coming our way, which is really not a problem for any of us other than the people who have to schedule it with the stages. For instance, on this crossover we were filming on the ‘Med’ set with the ‘Med’ crew with a ‘Fire’ director and a ‘PD’ cast. It’s so incestuous, so who knows what’s going on? It’s kind of fun and crazy.

Thanks once again to Marina for her time, it’s always a thrill to speak with her. As a reminder for all you fans out there, “Chicago PD” returns tonight on NBC, and you can get some further news, including some previews and episode reviews over at the link here.

Also, be sure to tell us what you want to see from Burgess this season in the comments below. (Photo: NBC.)

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