Chicago P.D. has always been a show where the cops can sometimes cross enough lines that they could qualify as criminals themselves, and Voight in particular will do what needs to be done to close cases and protect his people. This tendency of Voight to focus on the ends rather than the means has created a particularly interesting dynamic in Season 7 thanks to the introduction of crime lord-turned-CI Darius Walker, played by Michael Beach, who shared his thoughts on the Voight/Darius relationship in a recent chat with CinemaBlend.
Michael Beach, who also appears in Apple TV+'s new drama Truth Be Told, said this when I asked him to describe Darius' situation as a crime boss doubling (unwillingly) as Voight's informant:
He's a guy that's trapped between a rock and a hard place. He's also trying to do some good. He's not just a crime boss guy, but he's trying to make sure that the people [in the community] that he really thinks really have a shot at bettering themselves get that opportunity because he doesn't think that they would get that opportunity from the city government as it is. So the guy is so complicated and that's why he's so fun to play and the Voight character on the show is, they're almost like the same guy. One's wearing a badge and one is on the other side.
Darius' life really might be easier if he didn't have the good of his community at the root of his shady actions on Chicago P.D.! As Michael Beach noted, Darius does what he does to try and give people in his community, which was been neglected by the city, an opportunity for a better life.
Unfortunately, he just goes about getting the resources for that betterment via methods that put him in the path of Voight and the Intelligence Unit. Voight has a badge to achieve his ends; Darius doesn't and so employs other means.
The similarities seemingly haven't been lost on Voight, who hasn't exactly been falling all over himself to find a reason to put Darius behind bars, even while Upton was pretty much one pep talk from Halstead away from going rogue and taking Darius down in the first half of Season 7, prior to the huge Halstead cliffhanger that may be enough to wipe Darius from Upton's mind for a time.
When I noted that Voight really seems to have an unconventional respect for Darius, Michael Beach said this:
Thank you, yeah. He does. I think they both have a love/hate relationship.
What will come of the love/hate relationship when Chicago P.D. resumes Season 7 in 2020? Michael Beach promised some "shocking stuff" is in store, and that's saying something considering P.D. airs on a broadcast network rather than a streaming service with looser rules about what can and can't make it into episodes.
In fact, Michael Beach shared some additional ways that Chicago P.D. differs from shows that air on streaming service when he explained what sets his new Apple TV+ series apart. He also elaborated on some similarities between Darius Walker and his Truth Be Told character and why these kinds of characters appeal to him:
Those types of characters, like the character on Truth Be Told, I just love it when a person has their back against the wall and they have to fight out to survive. That's the difference between characters. One does this and one does that and the way they do it, that's what's so interesting. The way you choose to deal with a situation. Those are the types of characters that I love to explore.
Michael Beach's Truth Be Told character couldn't be much more different from his Chicago P.D. character, although they do seem to share a desire to do good. On the Apple TV+ series, Beach plays a lawyer by the name of Ingram Rhoades who went against his families wishes to marry his wife Poppy (Octavia Spencer) and has become distinguished in his career.
Darius Walker's career will likely only continue for as long as the people in his neighborhood remain unaware of his status as a CI. So what's next?
Chicago P.D. returns to NBC with its Season 7 winter premiere on Wednesday, January 8 at 10 p.m. ET following the winter premieres of Chicago Fire at 9 p.m. ET and Chicago Med at 8 p.m. ET. You can catch Michael Beach in episodes of Truth Be Told, releasing Fridays on Apple TV+. Swing by our 2020 winter and spring TV premiere schedule for more important days coming up for television.