Chicago P.D. pulls out all the stops every week — but nothing quite compared to its 200th episode, which found Kim Burgess (Marina Squerciati) and Adam Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger) trying to piece together a dark case while stuck aboard the busy “L” subway train.
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“It’s a pretty chaotic process. There were so many moving parts to this. I don’t remember yesterday much less a few episodes ago, but that sure felt like the most ambitious thing,” Flueger, 39, exclusively told Us Weekly of “Trapped,” which aired on Wednesday, February 22. “You’ve got some of the grip boys rocking the train with two-by-fours to make it look like we’re moving. You’ve got hair and makeup who are all rushing around because we’re shooting completely out of order. … It’s all over the map. And so, everybody’s trying to track where they are, and Marina is in the midst of it and its chaos. People are yelling and like, not out of anger, but trying to get things done.”
The Princess Diaries actor compared the production to a blockbuster film. “A movie would shoot this sequence for what, two months?” he asked Squerciati, 38, during the joint interview. “Something like that for a long time. And we tried to do it in three or four days. God bless our crew.”
The NBC procedural keeps it moving when shooting each scene. “You don’t get a ton of takes in TV,” Squerciati explained. “There’s just no time. Our executive producer is really kind and lovely and if I need it, he’ll definitely give it to me, but I try not to. Our crew is working their tater tots off, so it’s not like I want to be pushing everyone to the limit. I’ll use that card when I really need it, but you really try and hit it on the first or second try.”
Burgess’ trauma has slowly been catching up to her in season 10. And during Wednesday’s episode, the Intelligence cop is forced to confront her past experience while working on the case with Ruzek. (She previously was abducted, shot and nearly killed, and began to show signs of PTSD when her hand involuntarily began to shake in episode 8.)
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“Marina literally carried [this episode] and I haven’t seen the whole thing, but crush town, population one, Marina,” Flueger gushed of his costar. “Bottom line is she would have 19 people in her face moving her clothes around, putting blood on, taking clothes off because they were too bloody, this, that and the other thing. And then it would be action. And her ability to snap out of that … [maybe] that chaos going on around us helped her. But I was consistently impressed.”
Burgess has a panic attack in “Trapped,” which Squerciati prepared for by watching videos online. “There’s an ABC journalist that had a panic attack on air. There’s a model that was having a photo shoot and had a panic attack on her Instagram and posted it,” she explained to Us. “I did a ton of work. And I hope that it shows because … I really wanted it to be grounded in reality.”
Flueger chimed in: “I can’t imagine how exhausted she was at the end of the day. And then she’s got her real life to go back to, which is also much more complicated than mine. Can’t imagine.”
The actress and her husband, Chicago-based lawyer Eli Kay-Oliphant, are parents of a daughter, whom they welcomed in 2017. “You can’t tell your kid, ‘Listen, can you get yourself to school today? Cause mama’s tired,'” she teased. Flueger added: ”’Mom held a fake dying man in her arms for the last two days. So school lunch has to be made by you.’ That’s not a reality.”
Flueger and Squerciati have worked on the crime drama since its 2014 debut. The show also stars Jason Beghe, LaRoyce Hawkins, Amy Morton and Tracy Spiridakos.
To celebrate its 200th episode, the cast and crew did a cake cutting on set, but they will most likely find another time to take in the big milestone together.
“I think at the end of the season. There’s just so much work that goes into this show. It’s really hard to find time to celebrate,” Squerciati said.
Flueger noted that “there was no slowing down” because the episode was “so ambitious.” He went on to joke that trying to recall the past 200 episodes has also proven to be difficult.
“I’d say 99.9 percent out of the time that I catch an episode that wasn’t filmed yesterday, I’m like, ‘What? That’s surprising,’” he told Us. “This is gonna paint a picture of me more. I remember what happened after that day of work more than I remember the day of work. Like, ‘Oh, I remember that. That’s where we went that weekend, and we got the party bus to wherever.’ That’s kind of how I measure time — less moments of work and more moments of tremendous fun.”
For Squerciati, she can pinpoint an episode based on what the weather conditions were like. “The only thing I’ll remember is if it was particularly cold. Particularly hot or if I got injured. I was like, ‘Oh, right. I busted my kneecap on that one.’”
Chicago P.D. airs Wednesdays on NBC at 10 p.m. ET.
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