Chicago P.D. Stars And Boss Discuss The New Theme For Season 10 And 'Broken' Characters

Chicago P.D. is the darkest of the three One Chicago series, without any of the shenanigans that sometimes take place on Fire and Med. The more intense storytelling obviously works for the crime drama as it prepares to enter its tenth season, and it has a brand new theme this time around, as showrunner Gwen Sigan shared with CinemaBlend. She explained what the P.D. team is writing towards, and two stars weighed in on what it means for their characters who may be somewhat “broken” by this point.

The theme for Season 9 of P.D. was “home,” and episodes did track further into the lives of the characters when they weren’t on the job. Upton and Halstead got married, Ruzek wanted to buy a house for Burgess and Makayla, and Atwater even got a long-awaited love interest. For Season 10, showrunner Gwen Sigan revealed over the phone to CinemaBlend that the theme is “savior.” When I asked if that refers to multiple characters or centers on one in particular, she shared:

It is across the board. You will see it in the cases we tell. You'll definitely see it in all of our characters and what they're going through this year. And then we have these amazing guest stars that are coming in and are going to be recurring characters. Their storyline is very much related to that same idea of trying to save something, and this question we keep going back to is, can the broken be saved? Certainly, you could argue a lot of our characters have been through enough that they might consider themselves a bit broken. So that's what we're writing into the season.

Honestly, most of the Chicago P.D. characters went through enough just last season that it wouldn’t be unreasonable for them to feel like they’re broken. Gwen Sigan already previewed the “messy” aftermath of Anna’s death for Upton, Halstead, and Voight, with Upton suspecting that the sergeant blames her for the tragedy. Unfortunately, Halstead presumably won’t be part of how P.D. embraces the “savior” theme for very long, as Jesse Lee Soffer is slated to depart in the first half of Season 10, which undoubtedly means major changes

While viewers will have to wait until Season 10 gets into gear to find out just who needs saving and which characters might be qualified to help, two stars shared their thoughts. Jason Beghe and Marina Squerciati, who respectively play Hank Voight and Kim Burgess, spoke with CinemaBlend and other outlets ahead of Season 10. When I asked what the theme means for their characters, Beghe said:

The subtitle of 'Savior' would be 'Can the broken be saved?' Hank is as broken as we've seen him since at least his son died, and I believe that the death of Anna kind of probably triggered that loss because he tends to be somewhat of a solo hermit type of creature, socially, and so I think more than he knows these connections are important to him. And then when they're taken away, it's a real loss.

Voight has lost a lot of people over the years (including Olinsky under tragic circumstances at the end of Season 5), so it says a lot that Anna’s death has him the most broken that he’s been since his son Justin (played by Josh Segarra) died. None of the cops of the Intelligence Unit have time for much of a social life beyond each other, and Voight’s general isolation evidently will make losing Anna all the worse. But will this be something that takes Voight down? Beghe continued:

I think he will survive, but it's difficult. So he's going to have to end up with some coping mechanisms and there are layers of progress or healing that are going to affect themselves as we move forward, but he will be different. Just like any other human being who has to deal with this kind of a loss. It's a personal thing, which is somewhat new, I think, for our show, in that it's a little bit more personal to the characters, what's happening now. It's less just a cop show. It's still a cop show, but it's the life of a cop personally, I think, moreso. I find that interesting. It's an interesting balance to navigate just in terms of the production, but also as an actor. So it's fun.

It’s not clear whether or not these “coping mechanisms” will actually be helpful in how Voight copes, but it’s safe to say that he won’t bounce back from Anna’s death by the end of the Season 10 premiere on September 21. P.D. telling more personal stories is an interesting prospect.

That said, Gwen Sigan also confirmed to CinemaBlend that the season will still largely consist of “great standalones and great cases” and “maybe six episodes” of serialization, like with the Anna storyline of Season 9. Of course, the theme of “savior” won’t just apply to Voight, and Jason Beghe also mentioned to press that Burgess has filled that role as well:

She's also a savior of Makayla, and I think that Ruzek... a lot of [what] draws him to Kim is to save him in some ways.

Burgess built a little family unit with Makayla, whose trauma might well have overwhelmed her if her adoptive mother hadn’t taken her in and cared for her. Ruzek also rose to the challenge of raising the little girl, even though Burgess was the only one with parental rights on paper. (Things got ugly between them when Makayla was kidnapped after Burgess pointed that out.) 

The unconventional family unit seemed to be going strong by the end of Season 9. According to Marina Squerciati, however, Burgess saving Makayla wasn’t a one-way street. The actress said: 

I think also Makayla definitely saved Kim, as well. I think that after the miscarriage was really a brutal time and they sort of had this connection. So they both are each other's lifeboats.

It sounds like the cops of the Intelligence Unit could use all the “lifeboats” they can get heading into Season 10. A big question is of what kind of support Upton will need after however Halstead is written out. There are no hard details at this point about how Jesse Lee Soffer’s character will depart, but short of Halstead simply being off-screen but still around, it seems safe to say that Upton could need a support system. 

Find out how the show will handle the theme of “saviors” when Season 10 of Chicago P.D. premieres on Wednesday, September 21 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC. All three shows of One Chicago will be back, as Chicago Med has to deliver the aftermath of the fiery cliffhanger at 8 p.m. ET and prices will be paid on Chicago Fire after the Stellaride cliffhanger. 

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).