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The Transformation Of Marina Squerciati From Childhood To Chicago P.D.

During her nine seasons on "Chicago P.D.," Intelligence Unit officer Kim Burgess (Marina Squerciati) has become a genuinely beloved character for fans of the hit police procedural. Debuting on the show in its premiere episode "Stepping Stone" in 2014, she's been a mainstay of the high-intensity, action-drama element of the "One Chicago" universe for over 170 installments and counting (via IMDb).

During that time spent taking down the baddest of the bad guys on the mean streets of Chi-town, Squerciati's character hasn't exactly had an easy go of it, either. From risking her life to save her partners, to a tempestuous romantic triangle, to eventually being kidnapped and grievously wounded when she's shot by a murderous thug, Officer Burgess has seriously earned her stripes on the show. And while the actor is by now one of the highest-profile personas in the series, she came to the franchise with a lengthy show-business history that many fans may not be familiar with.

That being the case, let's take a look at the extraordinary transformation of Marina Squerciati from childhood to network TV stardom on "Chicago P.D."

She acted off-Broadway and danced with Macaulay Culkin

Born in New York City, Marina Squerciati's early interest in acting led to her earning a B.A. in Theater from Northwestern University with additional dance education at the renowned School of American Ballet (via The Imagista). Finding work early in her career in New York's theatrical scene, she appeared on the stage in the off-Broadway shows "Beauty of the Father" and "Manipulation," and portrayed Judy Holliday in the off-Broadway production of "Just in Time" (via her resumé). When that show was selected for the internationally recognized Fringe Festival, Squerciati would win the coveted Agnes Moorehead Award for her performance.

While it was clearly Squerciati's acting that would form the basis for her career in future years, it was her talent as a dancer that resulted in her first on-screen appearance. Because in 1993 she was cast as a Mouse and Polichinelle in director Emile Ardolino's big screen adaptation of the perennial Christmas-themed classic, "The Nutcracker." And dancing alongside her as the eponymous Nutcracker himself? "Home Alone" star Macaulay Culkin (per IMDb).

She shared the screen with Meryl Streep and the son of a Beatle

Acting for the first time in a feature film in the 2009 feature "It's Complicated" in the small role of Melanie, Marina Squerciati found herself on screen with major Hollywood marquee names like Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, and Steve Martin (per IMDb). Three years later, she would land the part of Dr. Sara Bella in the superhero movie "Alter Egos," where she shared the screen with Sean Lennon, son of Beatle John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

2009 was notable for Squerciati for another reason, as she made her first appearance in one of the many TV procedurals created by Dick Wolf, the mega-producer behind a long list of hit network staples including the "One Chicago" universe. Cast as Betsy Naylor in the "Revolution" episode of Wolf's long-running "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" franchise, Squerciati followed this role up with additional appearances in other TV series including the part of Cheryl Willens in "The Good Wife," as Anne Connel in "Damages," and Cameron Swanson in "Blue Bloods."

She was a recurring presence on Gossip Girl

Marina Squerciati's next feature film assignment saw her cast alongside Adam Driver as a waitress in director Noah Baumbach's feature "Frances Ha" in 2011 (via IMDb). That same year would mark a new high point in the young actor's career when she landed her first recurring role in a TV series.

Cast as publicist Alessandra Steele in the CW drama "Gossip Girl," Squerciati would cut her teeth as a regularly appearing TV actor in this long-running hit about New York teens attempting to live their lives under the constant glare of the blogger detailing their high-society exploits. In the show, Squerciati's character showed herself to be a capable, sometimes unconventional publicist, but one who was not above engaging in flirtatious behavior in the course of her duties.

Spending a total of eight episodes on the series, her character debuted in the "Jewel of Denial" episode, and she would go on to play Steele for the next two seasons, finishing up in the "Raiders of the Lost Art" installment in 2012.

She played a spy and visited all four One Chicago shows

In the wake of her attention-grabbing role as a regular on "Gossip Girl," Marina Squerciati would next find herself cast as a spy in the critically acclaimed Cold War espionage drama series "The Americans" airing on FX.

Then, in 2014, Squerciati would again find herself drawn into Dick Wolf's TV empire when she made her first appearance in one of Wolf's "One Chicago" slate of shows. And while she's now known primarily for her work on "Chicago P.D.," the fact is that Officer Kim Burgess made her first on-screen appearance in the 2014 "Chicago Fire" episode "Tonight's the Night." It wasn't until "Chicago P.D." was spun off from "Fire" in 2015 that Squerciati's officer Burgess would join the CPD team in the series' premiere and go on to become a fan-favorite partner to the show's other mainstay characters. Furthermore, in crossover events between the various "One Chicago" series, she would spend time on all four Chicago-verse shows, including the short-lived "Chicago Justice" (via IMDb).

So, from her early forays onto the off-Broadway stage in New York City, to small parts on TV and in films, to her stint on the teen hit "Gossip Girl," Marina Squerciati has undergone a major transformation from childhood to a fandom fave on "Chicago P.D."