Leading up to this finale, we had a chance to speak to executive producer Rick Eid about what’s coming up next. In the second part of our two-part interview, Rick discusses what we can expect in the finale, Olinsky’s future, and why he chose to focus more on the Bingham case than choosing to hone in on any romantic subplots.
CarterMatt – Olinsky was stabbed at the end of this past episode. How quickly are we addressing the aftermath of that in the finale?
Rick Eid – It plays almost as a continuous event. Episodes 21 and 22 could easily roll as a two-hour episode.
It certainly seems as though Voight is ready to turn himself in to Woods at the end of the episode. Does the stabbing of Olinsky change anything?
That’s why you have to watch the episode! But, the two storylines are definitely connected.
Is the ending to this storyline what you thought it was going to be at the start of the season?
No. Things evolve. You have target ideas and general ideas; we knew this Voight / Woods mano a mano dance would need to resolve itself at some point at the end of the season and it does. The specifics of that resolution, though, we probably didn’t come up with until we were a week away from writing it.
How challenging was it to write this finale? We talked at the start of the season about how reform is a big part of the theme for this season, but Voight has done the sort of things that it’s hard to walk back from. Can he reconcile these things with the idea of reform?
I think you’ll see — Voight has a speech addressing that very issue, why he does what he does and what he thinks of himself. He doesn’t think that he’s a dirty cop and Voight addresses that with Woods in a heated moment. He explains his constitution and his code. You get to hear his analysis of how he acts and why.
I think at the end of the day, the idea of reform was hatched at the beginning of the season; the finale is a worthy ending point. It answers the question of ‘can Voight change, can Voight reform, and can Voight be someone other than what he’s meant to be.’
Has all of Intelligence turned against Voight at this point? There was that confrontation with Antonio at the end of 5×21.
I wouldn’t say that the whole team is turning against him, but I think it’s complicated. I think each character has his or her own point of view on what’s happening and what to do about it.
I think I’d be remiss to not ask about whether or not there is some progress coming for Burgess and Ruzek. Is that something you’re going to explore in the finale?
We don’t address it. In my opinion it’s a very powerful finale and it’s very emotional. It’s stressful in many ways and it just wasn’t appropriate to dig into the romantic storylines in the finale. It wasn’t where the focus of the episode was.
Were you already thinking about the first few episodes of a possible season 6 at the time you were writing the finale?
I think you always have general ideas of what can happen, but to be honest the focus was just on finish this season in the best way possible. The focus was writing the finale and making sure it was satisfying.
Should we expect some sort of cliffhanger?
There’s definitely a cliffhanger that needs to be resolved, but there are also some big storylines that are tied up.
Is there already a larger theme or issue that you’re looking towards exploring next?
I think I need to digest season 5 more before I announce a new theme for season 6. I think in order to do it justice you need to take each character’s endpoint seriously and see where they are at emotionally and see what makes sense.
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