[Warning: This article contains spoilers about Wednesday's episode of Chicago P.D. Read at your own risk!]
Burgess has left the building — for now.
On Wednesday's episode of Chicago P.D., after going undercover and knowingly downing a date-rape drug in order to arrest the man who sexually assaulted her sister, Burgess (Marina Squerciati) decides she needs to take some time off and step away from the job for a little while, to help her sister recover and process her own emotions.
"She knows what she needs to do," Squerciati, whose real-life pregnancy is the reason for Burgess' (temporary?) absence, tells TVGuide.com. "But at the same time, she's going to miss where she was. I think she's going to miss where she was on the job and where she was as a person before all this happened too."
So, is this the last we're going to see of Burgess? How will her colleagues react to her absence? And what's going on with her and Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger)? We got the scoop from Squerciati.
Will we see Burgess again this season?
Marina Squerciati: Currently that's it for me. It all depends on when I give birth. [Laughs] ... I'm going to go on maternity leave until I pop. But that's it for me for right now, and then hopefully in Season 5, we'll see what's happened to Burgess — and Marina — in the meantime.
Since Burgess' sister is in Chicago indefinitely, will we be seeing more of her?
Squerciati: I don't think you're going to be seeing much of Burgess, so I don't know if you'll be seeing her sister either! [Laughs] ... I think [actress] Julie Wilcox is such a wonderful addition. I would love to see more of her. I also think that the way that Nicole changes will reflect how Burgess changes too, because I think she's going to sort of be a mom to her niece for a while while her sister recovers. Which is funny, because I'm going to be a mom too. So, we'll both be moms offscreen. I would love to have her come back. I'll talk to Dick [Wolf], but who knows.
What was your reaction when you got the script for this episode?
Squerciati: When you're trying to make it as an actor, you're always emailing your family and friends, like, "Hey, please come see me in this theater" ... all these crazy things. I've been on the show for four years now, and every once in a while I'll be like, "Hey, family, this episode means a lot to me." And I just sent out a blast like I did in the beginning of my career, because I think this episode is really beautiful.
Walk us through Burgess' emotions after she learns of her sister's rape.
Squerciati: She just goes into sort of the best cop you have ever seen mode. Like, I'm gonna get the perp and I'm gonna solve this, and emotions I'll deal with later. Which I think a lot of people do, when they're sort of in the thick of something. I will deal with the personal side of what's happening later. I think that sort of comes out in the scene where she goes undercover, that brutality that she's been suppressing.
Consent and sexual assault are very topical issues right now. How did you feel about being part of an episode that dealt with those?
Squerciati: Absolutely. The last episode that was really big for me that I sent out the family emails for was the spin-off to [Chicago] Justice, where Burgess shot an unarmed black kid. In the context of what's going on in Chicago and across America, and the strained relations between citizens of the city and the cops, I think to be able to talk about it or show something on television — it's not real life and I don't want to make it real life — but to be able to in some way discuss it or promote discussion is really important. Those are two really big issues, the issue of consent and the issues of cop brutality or non-brutality. So I'm honored to be able to sort of bring that to the forefront of the show.
Burgess had a rough start in Intelligence, but she seems to feel more at home there now.
Squerciati: That's what I think makes the end of the episode so sad. She finally has kind of everything that she needs in Intelligence. She's finally fitting in. Voight finally gives her the nod of, like, "You belong here." Maybe it's the hormones but I'm getting misty right now. I feel really bad for Burgess. She finally makes it, and then she has to sort of face it and tell [Voight], "I need time," and it's Voight acquiescing to that and allowing that to happen. That's Burgess' choice, and I think it's a really hard choice.
It was a nice moment between her and Voight (Jason Beghe) at the end, but did she maybe cross a line with him earlier when she brought up Justin?
Squerciati: She 100 percent crossed a line, and good for Burgess! She's not a line-crosser, so I like that in this episode, she's like, "Mmm, I'm gonna cross over these lines to get what I want."
How would you describe their relationship at this point?
Squerciati: I think Voight and his team live in a gray area. Every once in a while, he goes too far, and I think that the one who calls him out is Jesse [Lee Soffer]'s character, Halstead. This time, it was Burgess, and I think that Voight sort of respected that and also saw that she's willing to live in a gray area too, which he didn't really know. She tends to be a little bit of a goody two-shoes, so I think it's good. I think that's why he gives her that compliment. She's ready, and she's 100 percent committed.
Burgess and Olinsky (Elias Koteas) seem to have reached a nice plateau as well. Do you think he views her as a surrogate daughter?
Squerciati: I know, I really like that. I think it's really sweet. I think that definitely she is a sort of surrogate daughter at this point. Somebody else asked me, "How is Olinsky going to take Burgess being gone?" And I was like, "Hopefully he'll just cry in a corner and not be able to do anything productive," and Voight'll have to be like, "Snap out of it!" I feel like everyone's going to have a really tough time with Burgess leaving. Even if they don't write it into the script, it's subtext.
We know that Tracy Spiridakos is coming on board. Is her character a replacement for Burgess?
Squerciati: I think so. And I'm glad it's a female, to be brutally honest. I think that you need more ladies up in Intelligence. Sophia [Bush] and I took Tracy out and she is awesome. So, if anyone has to replace me for the rest of the season, I'm glad it's her. She's a lovely woman and I'm excited to see what she does. ... I know that character really gives Voight a hard time — which, I'm excited to see a little female power give it to Voight.
Do you have anything to say about the news that showrunner Matt Olmstead is leaving the show?
Squerciati: I actually don't. I reached out to Matt, and he was going on vacation with his kids, so I have no information for you except that he was loved and he will be missed.
Burgess and Ruzek had that kiss a few episodes ago and then we haven't really seen anything more from them. Do you know if there will be any further developments with them this season?
Squerciati: I don't. Ultimately, I think that they belong together. I think that they should be together, but I like the idea that it's a slow burn and that they're putting their careers first and they know they're maybe not ready for each other right now. They get along and they make each other laugh and they support each other, which is great for right now. And I think it's OK if they're not in a relationship right now. They're figuring it out.
Chicago P.D. airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on NBC.