Wednesday night’s new episode of Chicago PD is poised to be one for the ages, at least in terms of it being one of the most emotional episodes that we’ve had a chance to see so far during season 5. Entitled “Anthem,” this episode will be both touching on an issue that has become very important to many in the real world (National Anthem protests at sporting events) while also offering up some insight into the Denny Woods character. To date, Woods has mostly served as the man invested in taking out Voight; in this episode, however, you may get more insight into who he is as a man.
In this new CarterMatt interview below, executive producer Rick Eid tells us some of what lies ahead within this episode, the reasoning behind telling this story now, and also the show’s long-term future and hopes beyond this season.
CarterMatt – What made now the right time to bring back Voight’s past with Justin’s killer?
Rick Eid – It’s an interesting way to dramatize the Woods – Voight storyline. Now there’s an actual physical thing that Woods can focus on in his quest to take down Voight.
With that in mind, how afraid should viewers be for Voight within this episode?
I think people should be afraid for Voight and other members of the team. This body and the evidence discovered on the body will play out for the remainder of the season. It will be the focus of Woods and Internal Affairs. It may cause issues within the team.
One of the stories that you’ve set up moving into Wednesday night’s episode that is very timely revolves around an athlete who is shot after kneeling in protest. What can you say about that?
This season on Chicago PD we’ve done our best to try to make the show current and make the show feel like it’s existing in Chicago 2018. Clearly, the idea of the National Anthem, and what it means to different people, is an idea we thought would be an interesting way to kick off an episode. It’s an interesting topic and you meet Denny Woods’ daughter in this episode.
In speaking a little bit more about the National Anthem, this is obviously a very tricky subject since everyone has very divided opinions on it and it’s very hard to change anyone’s mind. How do you get people to look at this subject and see different perspectives beyond just what they may hear in day to day life?
We do our best to show both sides of the issues. With certain issues that people are very emotional about it’s hard to do, but we try not to take a major position or be political necessarily in the writing. We just try to write about what’s going on and show both sides of these polarizing issues. We’ll let the audience decide what side they want to agree with. We’re not trying to take any political stance; we’re just trying to tell a dramatic story and infuse it with real-life issues.
So what is the connection between Woods’ daughter and the person at the center of the case?
She knows the person shot. Her boyfriend is one of the kneelers, so to speak. She is very political and is a smart, intelligent young woman whose beliefs differ from her father’s.
Woods has been so transfixed on taking Intelligence down. Is this a distraction in some way or does this morally conflict him?
This episode isn’t necessarily about Woods taking down Voight, but some of the things that happen in the episode may have lingering effects on Woods and his convictions, vis-à-vis Voight.
Will this story show a different side of Woods than what we’ve seen so far? It’s interesting — he’s technically a guy who is trying to do what he believes to be the right thing, and technically Voight is a murderer. Yet, we love Intelligence so we’re not inclined to root for Woods.
I think you might get a good insight into Woods. You’ll see him as a father and not just an adversary of Voight and a policeman. You’ll look at him a bit differently.
But, you’re right. Woods is the face of reform and he’s trying to take down a cop he believes to be dirty and he now has reason to believe he might be involved in a murder. It’s just that we, the audience, like Voight and know why he did what he did. Woods is the villain (laughs), so to speak, even though he’s representing the face of reform.
I think that’s what is so interesting about it — it’s kind of like when the feds are trying to take down Tony Soprano. You’re rooting for Tony Soprano — it’s a little different because Voight’s with the police, but it’s a similar sort of emotional ride.
So you’re saying that the episode is going to end with a black screen…
Is Journey playing in the background? (Laughs.) No. What I will say is that the ending of this episode will be very emotional and very powerful.
So where are you in writing right now?
We’re working on episode 19.
Are you guys starting to circle now what you want the finale to look like?
Yes, and I think there’ll be some interesting developments.
Were you thinking about this season in terms of arcs? I know one of the things that was different about this season is that the Olympics made it so that there were opportunities to tell arcs with these hiatuses breaking up the season. Is the final stretch of episodes structured in a way that it’s a big arc?
I think we always try to have a standalone story that exists for people who have never seen the show before, but we try to have a continuing story we build into every episode. The Olympics isn’t really changing the way we write it.
Are you feeling good about the renewal?
Yeah, I’m optimistic. Best I can tell the ratings seem to be really good and everyone seems to be enjoying the show. But, those decisions are made be people other than me. If it were up to me, I would pick up the show, but it’s not my choice.
If it was, we’d get the headline ‘Chicago PD picked up for five more season.’
(Laughs) I’m optimistic. The feedback is positive, so I hope that results in a season 6.
A very special thanks to Rick Eid for speaking to us and sharing some of what’s coming up on Chicago PD.
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