Chicago P.D.: 6 Things To Remember Before Season 8

Spoilers ahead for NBC’s Chicago P.D. through the end of Season 7.

Chicago P.D. stands as the darkest and grittiest hour of NBC’s hit One Chicago block, and the seventh season managed to end on more than one unanswered question despite the premature finale. Now, with the Season 8 premiere on November 11 fast-approaching, it’s time to look back at everything that came before to prepare for what’s in store next for the Intelligence Unit of Chicago P.D.

Like many shows at the end of the 2019-2020 TV season, Chicago P.D. had to end several episodes earlier than intended due to production shutdowns throughout the entertainment industry, but the de facto finale still delivered plenty for fans to think about over the long hiatus ahead of Season 8, and the real-life events of recent months mean changes for Intelligence. Here’s what you need to remember to prepare for the new episodes!

Atwater Made Some Enemies Within Chicago P.D.

The Season 7 finale saw the conflict between Atwater and racist cop Doyle come to a head, when Doyle pursued a Black man without probable cause, resulting in both Doyle's and the man’s deaths. Initially torn between smearing Doyle’s name to tell the truth and letting the truth be buried, Atwater eventually realized that he had to do the brave but dangerous thing and expose Doyle.

Although Voight promised that he and the rest of Intelligence would have Atwater’s back, the end of the episode proved that Atwater might need more than his friends having his back at work. Doyle’s partner and connections within C.P.D. closed ranks on Atwater, proving that they know where he lives and aren’t above intimidation and presumably more. Atwater made some dangerous enemies. The cops have already shown that they’re willing to play dirty, and that could mean danger for the other people in Atwater’s life as well.

Upton Crossed A Lot Of Lines

Hailey Upton all but broke bad in Season 7 when she set a man up to be murdered. Even though he was a bad guy who was getting away with some very bad things, she crossed a big enough line that Voight had words with her. And that wasn’t the end. Upton had no qualms with Voight planting evidence to cover Rojas’ back, and she went even further by planting drugs on her own to frame a drug dealer.

This was the breaking point for Voight, who decided that Upton needed to work with the FBI (over on CBS’ FBI) to get her head on straight. As of the end of Season 7, Voight is the only one who knows how far Upton went, and the other shoe may drop in Season 8. With Upton’s trip to FBI cut short by the production shutdown, it’s possible that Season 8 Upton isn’t as reformed as Voight had hoped.

Sparks Were Flying Between Halstead And Upton

Well, it took three seasons, but Chicago P.D. seemed to be officially heading toward an Upstead hookup. They weren’t happy about being split up when Rojas joined the team, and Upton came very close to dropping an “I love you” on a recently-shot Halstead. They admitted to missing each other when she crossed over to FBI, and all signs pointed toward the good ship Upstead sailing by the end of Season 7 prior to the production shutdown.

And all signs point toward Chicago P.D. sticking with Upstead. Season 7 indicated that they’re stronger together, with Halstead getting himself shot by Angela for keeping secrets from Upton and Upton going dark when leaving out Halstead. Tracy Spiridakos described Halstead as Upton’s “anchor” to CinemaBlend, so Chicago P.D. set up a strong dynamic that could turn into a solid relationship in Season 8, or stall due to their professional partnership and/or Upton’s secrets.

Rojas Was A Major Character

Chicago P.D. didn’t waste any time in replacing Jon Seda’s Antonio Dawson, whose departure set up the introduction of Lisseth Chavez’s Vanessa Rojas, who added a fresh voice to Intelligence and built some interesting relationships. In fact, after moving in with Upton, she filled a little sister-type of role in Upton’s life and resulted in Upton opening up more, which led to some of Upton’s biggest transgressions in Season 7.

Promisingly, she was also seemingly being set up as a love interest for Atwater, which could have meant Atwater finally getting a little love. She proved willing to bend the rules enough to fit in with Intelligence, and even had a intriguing backstory. The reveal over hiatus that Lisseth Chavez isn’t returning for Season 8 means at least one big change coming to Intelligence not related to police reform, and it’ll be interesting to see how Chicago P.D. writes her off.

Burgess And Ruzek Were Getting Closer Again

Former flames Burgess and Ruzek seemed primed to rekindle a romance in Season 7 after a post-crossover hookup that resulted in Burgess getting pregnant. Although they intended to co-parent rather than get back into a romantic relationship, Ruzek was poised to move in, and everything seemed to be going swimmingly. This of course meant tragedy was on the way, and Burgess suffered a brutal miscarriage that left her severely injured and shut her down from opening up to Ruzek.

After a confrontation cleared the air and they finally started communicating again, it was looking like Season 7 was letting them warm up with each other again and rebuild a strong dynamic, if not a romance just yet. As Chicago P.D.’s longest-running on-again/off-again relationship at this point, the door never feels truly closed on Burzek, and they could become important as a duo again after Season 7, although they didn’t have very large roles in the finale.

Somebody Was Going To Die

Season 7’s premature end means that Chicago P.D. didn’t deliver an intended tragedy. Back in April, P.D. showrunner Rick Eid shared that somebody familiar to fans was going to be murdered in the original season finale, and that would probably be pushed back to the fourth or fifth episode of Season 8. Of course, that was before police reform and COVID-19 became parts of the plan for Season 8. Eid didn’t reveal who was going to die, but there were candidates.

Atwater's brother’s return meant that he could definitely have been killed off following that cliffhanger, and Jordan would have qualified as a familiar character whose death would be game-changing without P.D. killing off a member of Intelligence. That said, with the hiatus news that Rojas will be gone, it’s possible that she was planned as the Season 7 finale death. Season 8 may still deliver a big death, but only time will tell who will be the victim.

Find out how all of these Season 7 events impact the course of Season 8 when Chicago P.D. returns to NBC on Wednesday, November 11 at 10 p.m. ET, following the Season 9 premiere of Chicago Fire at 9 p.m. ET and Season 6 premiere of Chicago Med at 8 p.m. ET. For some more viewing options now and in the coming weeks, be sure to check out our 2020 fall TV premiere schedule.

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).