The Actor You Didn't Notice Played Two Characters On Chicago P.D.

It's always somewhat jarring, but it is fairly common practice to see one part played by two different actors. Switches such as these can often be explained away by real-world complications like the death of actor, creative differences between cast and crew, or something as simple as a scheduling conflict. However, a far more interesting phenomenon is when one actor unexpectedly plays two roles in the same project. 

For whatever reason, this practice used to be much more prevalent in the world of television than it is today. A number of recurring actors on the original "Magnum, P.I" played multiple roles in the series. Back then, these continuity errors were either explained away quickly or deemed so insignificant that they didn't even require acknowledgement. In recent years, alternate realities have offered a plethora of convenient explanations for similar issues in interconnected universes composed of multiple film and television series like Marvel and DC properties. 

In many cases, the crew behind productions that don't have the benefit of such narrative explanations just hope the audience doesn't notice or care. So long as it's not a prominent character, these incidents can largely go unnoticed by anyone not constantly checking IMDb. However, one actor who appeared fairly prominently in the pilot episode of "Chicago P.D." recently showed up playing a completely different character in Season 9 and Reddit sleuths noticed.

Kurt Naebig originally played Lt. Bruce Belden

In the first season of "Chicago P.D.," actor Kurt Naebig plays Bruce Belden, a lieutenant in the Violent Crimes Unit of the Chicago Police Department. Lieutenant Belden first crosses paths with Sergeant Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) in the pilot episode ("Stepping Stone"). Voight is angered by Belden's lack of communication, something Belden explains is a result of Voight's terrible reputation. The lieutenant's further inaction directly leads to the death of Detective Julie Willhite (Melissa Sagemiller), greatly angering Voight and causing the temperamental police sergeant to attack Belden in the middle of the police station. 

Later, Belden is one of my officers present at Willhite's funeral service in Season 1, Episode 2 ("Wrong Side of the Bars"). Sadly, Belden is also one of many officers murdered by Adres Diaz (aka "Pulpo") (Arturo Del Puetro) during the latter's escape from police custody in Season 1, Episode 13 ("My Way"). While this is the last "Chicago P.D." audiences see of Belden, it is not the last we see of Naebig in "Chicago P.D." 

Naebig returned as Bench the bartender

In Season 9, Episode 6 ("End of Watch"), Kurt Naebig returns to "Chicago P.D." in a brand new role (via IMDb). As Officer Adam Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger) enters a bar, he appears quite familiar with the owner of the establishment, whom he acknowledges by the name "Bench." When Ruzek notes that it's a bit of a slow night for business, Bench agrees and adds, "Slow month," before directing Ruzek to his table in the back. At the end of the episode, Ruzek returns to the bar and drunkenly tells Bench the story of his great uncle's death in the line of duty.

It's a brief role for the actor and probably not a continuity error that's likely to bother many fans. However, a handful of eagle-eyed Reddit users made sure to note the discrepancy. In a post to Reddit published less than a week after the episode aired, Reddit user u/Dewey_Talks_NZ was one of the first to point out the familiar looking face. "I swear he was in a [sic] episode of [sic] two," u/Dewey_Talks_NZ said. Most responses to the post were a simple acknowledgement of this fact, but u/cerysed had a particularly clever response: "He was resurrected and fancied a career change clearly."

It's not immediately clear if Naebig will return to "Chicago P.D." as Bench in the future, but it's certainly possible. However unlikely, given precedent with this particular actor, it also seems possible that Naebig could even wind up playing a third character the next time we see him.