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Chicago P.D. Details That One Chicago Fans Will Love

It's hard to imagine Dick Wolf replicating the longevity and success of the "Law & Order" franchise, and yet, with his "One Chicago" franchise, Wolf's on his way to doing just that. Flagship series "Chicago Fire" has aired for over a decade, and the first spinoff "Chicago P.D." isn't far behind. Each of the "One Chicago" shows rates solidly with primetime viewers: According to The Hollywood Reporter, from 2021 to 2022, "Chicago Fire" ranked fifth in network television shows, while "Chicago P.D." and "Chicago Med" came in at number 10 and number 11, respectively.

As a whole, the franchise tends to deal with real-life struggles. "Chicago P.D." focuses on timely subject matter, and takes a gritty look at first responder life. On an episode of Wolf Entertainment's YouTube series "Unscripted," Jason Beghe, who portrays Sergeant Hank Voight, spoke about how the show deals with things like the Black Lives Matter movement and police reform. "We feel a certain sense of responsibility to address these issues," he said.

The chemistry of the leads on "Chicago P.D." translates well on screen and is part of what makes the show shine. "It's a pretty big family," Dick Wolf said at a press conference (via Tell-Tale TV). "Everybody gets along. I mean, there are no squeaky wheels in the cast." Let's take a further look at some interesting details about "Chicago P.D." that fans will love.

The ER connection

Long before "Chicago P.D." and "Law & Order" were twinkles in Dick Wolf's eye, "ER" stood as the NBC procedural drama juggernaut. As Doctor Peter Benton, Eriq La Salle was one of the hottest stars on "ER," a show that followed the lives of the doctors at County General Hospital. Interestingly, "ER" was also set in Chicago. La Salle left the show in Season 8 (although he would guest star in two episodes of the show's final season).

La Salle would later appear in shows like the supernatural drama "Under the Dome" (based on the Stephen King novel of the same name), in which he played quasi-villain Hektor Martin. Per Deadline, he directed two episodes of the series, but did you know that he directed and produced multiple episodes of "Chicago P.D." too? La Salle joined the show in Season 5, acting as an executive producer and the show's main director. "I like my storytelling to speak more to reality," he told the Chicago Tribune at the time. "Some of it is like: Wow, this is dark subject matter, but it's real."

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, La Salle called his eighth season departure from the show "bittersweet," and it seems the "Chicago P.D." cast shared those sentiments. LaRoyce Hawkins, who plays Kevin Atwater, said: "I always wanted to make him proud. He's taught me so much."

The real reason Sophia Bush left the show

A street kid-turned-member of the Hank Voight-led elite intelligence unit of the "Chicago P.D.," Erin Lindsay (Sophia Bush) proved the heart of the show from Season 1 through Season 4. Lindsay sees Voight as the father she never had. She spends much of her time helping kids from broken homes redeem themselves, including Nadia (Stella Maeve), an ex-drug addict. After gaining sobriety, Nadia becomes Erin's roommate; sadly, she's tragically murdered in a cross-over episode of "Law & Order: SVU." Eventually, Erin struggles with her own addiction issues, is investigated by Internal Affairs, and leaves the Chicago P.D. for New York City.

Sophia Bush chose to quit the show after Season 4, and she has since disclosed her on-set struggles. Before her "Chicago P.D." role, Bush was well-known for playing Brooke Scott on the long-running teen soap opera "One Tree Hill." Portraying Erin Lindsay gave Bush the chance to show off more subtle dramatic chops via her flawed yet endearing character. However, behind the scenes, Bush struggled with the show's atmosphere.

On an episode of Dax Shepard's podcast Armchair Expert, the actor disclosed the real reasons she left the show. "It was a consistent onslaught of abusive behavior," she said. "I programmed myself to tolerate the intolerable. [...] My body was, like, falling apart, because I was really, really unhappy." She didn't address specifics, but it's clear Bush's choice to leave the show was vital for her health.

Season 10 is Jesse Lee Soffer's last

From Season 1 to Season 10 of "Chicago P.D.," Jesse Lee Soffer appeared in every episode. Soffer's character, Detective Jay Halstead, is a former Army Ranger and the younger brother of Dr. Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss) on "Chicago Med." He displays blunt and sometimes violent tactics which may result from post-traumatic stress disorder. It's revealed he suffers from the disorder in the Season 9 Halstead-centric episode, "The One Next to Me." Over ten seasons, fans have had the chance to watch the youthful Detective Halstead grow up and become Hank Voight's go-to guy, endure a failed relationship with Erin Lindsay, and, ultimately, marry fellow detective Hailey Upton.

According to Outsider, the detective's sometimes out-of-hand behavior caused his popularity to wane among fans. Before the Season 10 premiere, Soffer announced the season would be his last. The actor told Variety: "I will always be proud of my time as Detective Jay Halstead." Tracy Spiridakos, who plays Hailey Upton on the show, gave her onscreen husband a shout-out on Instagram, saying, "I guess the word is out there. Jesse, what can I say, you're the absolute best. Thank you for your kindness, your guidance and your friendship. You're the greatest onscreen husband a girl could ask for."

A showrunner rose through the Wolf Entertainment ranks

Since the show's inception, "Chicago P.D." has had the guidance of three showrunners. The co-creator of the series, Matt Olmstead, served as the original showrunner, but left after Season 4. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Olmstead left for a deal with ABC Studios where he was an executive producer for the sadly short-lived "Stumptown." After Olmstead, Rick Eid took over the show's reins from Season 5 to Season 9, and although he remains an executive producer of the show, Eid now concentrates on "Law & Order" as well as Dick Wolf's newest potential franchise, "FBI."

Much like her predecessors, the latest showrunner Gwen Sigan is firmly entrenched in the world of Wolf Entertainment. According to Deadline, before her promotion, Sigan worked as a writer and executive producer on "Chicago P.D." and she also now serves as showrunner for the "Law & Order" revival. In 2015, Sigan began her thriving Wolf Entertainment career as a writer's assistant under the tutelage of Matt Olmstead and quickly climbed the creative ladder. Erin Underhill, the President of Universal Television, said about Sigan: "From her first day on the job at 'Chicago P.D.,' she captured the characters' voices and flawlessly weaved them into thrilling cases with unexpected character turns. We are grateful to have her at the helm of this venerable Wolf series, and look forward to a long and successful partnership."

Matt Olmstead is still involved with One Chicago

When news breaks about the departure of a show's creator or original showrunner, the reasons for the exit often tend to involve drama. However, the co-creator and original showrunner of "Chicago P.D." Matt Olmstead was never accused of bad behavior, and he exited the show in good standing. The Hollywood Reporter shared the news of Olmstead's Season 4 exit and explained that the writer-producer's contract with Universal Television had expired, confirming that his exit came on pleasant terms.

Olmstead wasn't out of a job for long and he continued to work as an executive producer on "Chicago Med" –- according to IMDb, Olmstead has produced over 140 episodes of the third show in the "One Chicago" franchise. Olmstead also briefly served as the showrunner of another Dick Wolf show, "Law & Order: Organized Crime," before stepping down in 2020. He continues to contribute to the world of Wolf Entertainment.

Jason Beghe is a former Scientologist

It's hard to imagine anyone but Jason Beghe portraying the complicated character that is Hank Voight. Fans have raved over Voight's complexities for years. On one Reddit thread about the best characters of "Chicago P.D.", a fan said about Voight: "He's excellent. I love that he cuts corners." Perhaps Beghe can portray Voight with such authenticity because his own life has layers of nuanced twists.

Beghe spoke about his interesting past in a wider-ranging interview with The Daily Beast. He brought up his "second father" Harry Belafonte and claimed that he once smoked pot with John F. Kennedy Jr. during a trip to Europe. He reflected on the life-threatening car accident that gave him his unique, gravelly voice. He also discussed the fact that he was once a member of the Church of Scientology, which he called "a cult." Beghe joined in 1994 and rose through its ranks, donating $1 million to the group's coffers before leaving for good in 2007. He has since spoken out against Scientology and appeared in the film "Going Clear," a critically acclaimed documentary about the organization and its practices.

The actor further explained life after Scientology. "It's light and dark," he said. "It's the way it is. And sometimes the darker it is, that makes that light even more beautiful, and more important, and rare, and worth something. That's part of my story. It's who I was at that moment, and I'm sure it has something to do with who I am now."

LaRoyce Hawkins is a stand-up comic

LaRoyce Hawkins' Kevin Atwater is an integral member of the Intelligence Unit in "Chicago P.D." Initially, the patrol officer found himself at comical odds with Desk Sergeant Trudy Platt (Amy Morton). However, after being promoted to the Intelligence Unit, he found himself entangled with racist cops and racially-motivated crimes. In Season 9, Atwater's arc evolves to include a blossoming romance with a social justice advocate named Celeste (Amanda Payton). Hawkins spoke to CinemaBlend about the evolution of his character. "To be honest with you, what I'm grateful for is ['Chicago P.D.' writer] Ike Smith, who kind of accepted these ideas," he said, adding that he was also "grateful for Gwen Sigan for allowing us to really take Atwater's journey into an element that it feels good to really play with."

Despite the dark storylines his "Chicago P.D." character finds himself involved in, Hawkins performs stand-up comedy frequently, too. He told the website Rolling Out, "What a lot of people don't know is that stand-up was my first love." The actor also stars as Michael "Shaw" Owens on the HBO Max comedy "South Side," which gives him the chance to show off his comedic skills onscreen. Comedy isn't the only side project Hawkins has embarked upon, either. Per the Aspen Challenge, an inspirational platform for youth, in his spare time, Hawkins gives motivational speeches to young people looking to overcome obstacles in their lives.

Jesse Lee Soffer and Sophia Bush dated

Working on a television show means long hours and, at times, an emotionally charged atmosphere. Hollywood actors often find themselves working in intense situations and romantic relationships can develop between co-stars. Jesse Lee Soffer and Sophia Bush, who portrayed romantic partners Jay Halstead and Erin Lindsay on "Chicago P.D.," also dated in real life. According to E! Online, the couple began dating in 2014 and split in 2015. Bush and Soffer dated for several months before going public with their relationship, which lasted for almost a year.

Soffer wasn't the first onscreen love interest who Bush dated offscreen. When the actor starred on "One Tree Hill," she famously dated and briefly married her co-star Chad Michael Murray (who played Lucas Scott). Per Us Weekly, after Bush and Murray divorced, she was romantically linked with other "One Tree Hill" castmates, including James Lafferty (Nathan Scott) and Austin Nichols (Julian Baker). According to People, she married FocusMotion Health co-founder Grant Hughes in 2022.

Soffer also dated Torrey DeVitto, who played Natalie Manning on all three "One Chicago" shows. They started going out in 2018. "Everything's going so well," Soffer told Us Weekly at the time. "I'm really happy, [the] happiest I've ever been." Sadly, the relationship only lasted for eight months — they called it quits in May 2019.

A medical emergency almost tanked Marina Squerciati's career

Marina Squerciati plays flight attendant-turned-intelligence officer Kim Burgess on "Chicago P.D.," a compassionate officer. Burgess endures much on the job –- romantic drama with fellow officer Adam Ruzek (Patrick Flueger), gunshot wounds, and kidnappings. Yet, she always manages to overcome her obstacles. Squerciati has played the character since the first season of the show, but her acting career was almost derailed before it even really began.

On an episode of the HypochondriActor podcast with Sean Hayes and Dr. Priyanka Wali, the actor revealed a medical emergency she experienced in college that almost kept her from an important audition. When Squerciati was a theater student at Northwestern University, a high fever sent her to the hospital. Squerciati told Hayes and Wali that while in the hospital, she suffered from a botched spinal tap that caused a blinding headache, and she passed out from the pain.

Despite this, Squerciati had an audition with an agent in New York that she refused to miss. "There's this thing at Northwestern," she explained. "They pick the top four female and four male actors to take them to New York, audition for agents, and basically sort of set you up on this platform." Her mother came to visit her at the hospital — and ended up busting her out. "My mom had flown in because they were so scared about my condition, and I was like, I cannot miss this. I cannot. So my mom got this hospital tray and we went."

Amy Morton has two Tony nominations

"Chicago P.D." Desk Sergeant Trudy Platt strikes fear into the hearts of all patrol officers. Her abrasive and sarcastic approach to those around her leaves many in the police department feeling disconnected from her. However, Amy Morton, the actor behind the prickly Platt, infuses her character with humor. According to Outsider, her dry wit and relationship with Randall "Mouch" McHolland (Christian Stolte) make Trudy Platt a fan favorite. Morton has appeared on all three shows under the "One Chicago" umbrella, and although Platt is mostly a secondary character, the actor gives her layers.

Morton may not be widely recognized for her various onscreen roles apart from Trudy Platt, but she is something of a Broadway legend. She has acted in or directed over 30 plays for Chicago's famed Steppenwolf Theater, and she has decades of Broadway performances on her impressive resume. The actor has two nominations for Tony Awards for best actress in a play, one for her role as Barbara Fordham in "August: Osage County" and the other for portraying Martha in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

The actor behind Bunny Fletcher was an '80s star

On "Chicago P.D.," Barbara "Bunny" Fletcher (Markie Post) is a problematic character at best. The mostly-absent mother of Erin Lindsay, Bunny's life of domestic abuse calls and charges makes her a well-known presence within the ranks of the Chicago Police Department. Bunny's drug addiction and alcoholism colors every choice she makes, and each time she shows up, she creates problems for her daughter. Bunny is the recurring character we love to hate, and Markie Post portrays her with aplomb.

Post was a household name long before her recurring role in the series. In the 1980s, the actor spent three years playing Terri Michaels on the hit television action drama "The Fall Guy" and eight years portraying public defender Christine Sullivan on the NBC comedy "Night Court." In 1986, Post opened up to People about her problematic experiences on the set of "The Fall Guy," stating, "It was not a happy set. I felt like an outsider, a prop." However, she survived her early television ordeal and life in the public eye. Post worked steadily in television for almost forty years. Sadly, she died of cancer on August 7, 2021. She was 70 years old.

The cast mourned Anne Heche

Anne Heche had a rough go of public life in the late 1990s. Just as the actor was building her big screen resume with gripping performances in films like "Donnie Brasco," she had a scrutinized romance with (and extremely public breakup from) Ellen DeGeneres. Heche told Page Six that her three-year relationship with DeGeneres left her blacklisted in Hollywood. "This was a moment in my life when I was given the glory of being able to stand up for what I believe in and have since I was a kid. I didn't do a studio picture for 10 years," she said. "I was fired from a $10 million picture deal and did not see the light of day in a studio picture." In the early 2000s, a public struggle with mental health and substance abuse hampered Heche's career as well.

However, Heche was able to overcome these obstacles and carved out a steady television career in their wake. On "Chicago P.D.", Heche portrayed Deputy Superintendent Katherine Brennan. She endeared herself to her fellow cast members, and in August 2022, when Heche passed away after crashing her car, they paid tribute to her. Among other heartfelt remembrances, Jesse Lee Soffer wrote on Instagram: "Anne was such a kind person. Always generous. Always funny. I'm so sorry for her family. I hope they know how many people she really touched."