Spoilers below for anyone who hasn't yet watched the latest episode of Chicago P.D.
It has been quite the eventful season for the characters of NBC's popular spinoff Chicago P.D., since there has been a fairly consistent level of shake-ups happening since Season 4 premiered last fall. The latest happened this week, with intelligence officer Kim Burgess taking an extended leave of absence following an investigation into her sister's rape, and it sounds like franchise star Marina Squerciati will be taking a legitimate break from the show. Thankfully, her reason is a happier one than Burgess', as the actress is pregnant. Here's how Squerciati responded when asked if she was done with Season 4.
Yeah, I think so. I just looked at the script for [episode] 23, and I'm not in it. Paddy and I were, like, 'Maybe we could talk on the phone?' [laughs] You could shoot me from the neck up and we'll be fine. But I think that it's just a little too hard at this point. I was saying I'd have to hold computer monitors instead of file folders to get away with not being pregnant at this point. It's OK. . . . If someone steps off a show for a little bit, you want it to make sense and I think it really does. Her sister has been brutally attacked and she has to sort of become the head of household for awhile and take care of her sister and her niece. I think that most people would do the same thing that Burgess does, as hard of a decision as that is. It feels very valid and very truthful to me.
Before everyone gets too bent out of shape, Marina Squerciati isn't leaving Chicago P.D. on a permanent basis, though it's not exactly clear when she'll be returning. An easy and non-specific guess would be "Season 5," and I'm sure the creative team will be in contact with the actress to make sure everything is going okay with the pregnancy/motherhood so that Burgess' return can be properly formulated.
On both sides of the coin, it seems like only positive things can come from Marina Squerciati putting Chicago P.D. on hold for a while. After all, it's nothing new for TV actresses to face problematic work situations during pregnancies, and while comedies allow for easier ways of hiding a growing belly, crime dramas can often be a tad too intense and kinetic to keep everything comfortable for the expecting actresses. Sure, Burgess could have just asked for a relocation to the basement where the darkness and a desk could provide some handy camouflage, but that wouldn't do much to help Squerciati's growing discomfort.
And on the flip side, viewers rarely get pumped when a character is clumsily written out of a show, even if it's not a permanent write-out. So while it was a heartbreaking bummer that the highly anticipated introduction of Burgess' sister involves a rape and attack, at least audiences know for sure that this is an event that would easily affect Burgess in a devastating way. So having her opt to get away from police work for a while is completely sensible.
As stated earlier, this is hardly the first time Season 4 of Chicago P.D. has seen a casting change. Actor Jon Ceda, who plays Antonio Dawson, left the series to move over to the spinoff Chicago Justice. As well, Samuel Hunt's Mouse also left earlier this season, as did Patrick John Fluger's Adam Ruzek, although he'd since returned. And in fact, Marina Squerciati told THR that this element is what makes Dick Wolf's crossover-friendly franchise so amazing.
It's good for a show at this point to sort of shuffle the deck and keep people on their toes,. You're not used to main characters leaving and I think that's what's kind of amazing about Dick Wolf's franchise, is that you can't really rely on anyone to be there the whole time.
Chicago P.D. fans can expect to see a new face coming into the show while Burgess is gone, and former Revenge star Nick Weschler will be introduced for a multi-episode arc. With Marina Squerciati out until presumably next season, Chicago P.D. airs Wednesday nights on NBC at 10:00 p.m. ET. To see all the other shows coming that may or may not be losing characters of their own, head to our midseason premiere schedule and our summer TV guide.