Art imitating life. When Chicago P.D. returns for season 8, the events of the news will be reflected into the story line, Jason Beghe revealed in a new interview.
“Because of all the stuff that’s going on with police and Black Lives Matter, for the three weeks before shooting, we were in heavy communication with each other and certain advisers,” Beghe, 60, told FBI: Most Wanted‘s Julian McMahon during Wolf Entertainment’s “Unscripted” video posted on Monday, October 26. “I talked to a bunch of cops. … The other good thing with the extra time between is instead of just waiting for a script, we had scripts early. It gave me time to get ready for it. By the time we started shooting, and I think I speak for the whole cast and the crew, we were fairly zoned in.”
Beghe, who has portrayed Hank Voight on Chicago P.D. since its 2014 debut, also noted that as a show about the police unit, they “feel the sense of responsibility to kind of address these issues” — something that is both “fun and challenging” as an actor.
“Thankfully we have good writers and good advisers. I’m really proud of our first scripts,” he continued. “I hope they’re not only entertaining but maybe — without being grandiose — maybe be useful. [We’re] trying to bring about some understanding between these disparate groups that tend to be at odds right now. It’s tricky.”
The Thelma & Louise star also explained that Chicago P.D. was “tee’d up” for the story line to focus on the racial dispute. During the season 7 finale, Officer Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins) stood up to a white police officer who was profiling a young Black man. In turn, many other officers in Chicago turned against Atwater.
“It’s a perfect segue. We’re continuing from there and kind of drawing out the bigger things. As we pick up, it’s post-George Floyd,” the New York native said. “My character is a real old school, ‘I know what I’m supposed to do but I do what I have to do,’ kind of guy. He breaks the rule and that stuff ain’t flying anymore.”
He continued: “I think in any life well lived, there’s gonna be moments where your knees hit the ground, and you look in the mirror, and you say, ‘This ain’t working, somethings gotta change.’ Those are exciting things to deal with. It’s a responsibility, and there may be people who are offended, there may be new fans, who knows what’s going to happen.”
Chicago P.D. returns to NBC on Wednesday, November 11, at 10 p.m. ET.
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