Thanks to veteran
producer Dick Wolf (the Law & Order series), Chicago is not just
a toddliní town, but Windy City is the go-to place for young TV
professionals. In the last few years, Wolf has created a series of
procedural shows based on the town, looking in on the police in
Chicago PD, rescue workers in Chicago Fire and now doctors in
the latest addition, Chicago Med. Among those resolute young
striders trying to find their lifeís work in making the city safe is
street cop Kim Burgess, a beautiful and determined uniformed officer
played by actress Marina Squerciati.
is not Squerciatiís first TV role. The actress has been working her way
towards capturing the notice of casting directors for a decade now,
landing bigger and more important roles as she went along. She had an
important arc in Gossip Girl and also played a conflicted Russian
spy in the first season of The Americans. (Honestly, that was the
first time I saw her and her accent was so good that when she turned up
on Chicago PD I was surprised to find that she was actually not a
However, Chicago PD
is her biggest role in her biggest hit yet. Squerciati plays Officer
Kim Burgess, a patrolwoman who cases the streets of the Windy City. As
the series is entering itís third season, Burgess has her hands full.
She has just been turned down for her dream job of working undercover in
the intelligence unit, however her new partner is giving her a newfound
respect for being an uniformed policewoman. She has also gotten engaged
to another officer, a situation which will undoubtedly cause intriguing
As the third season is
taking off, we recently were one of a few select media outlets to chat
with Squerciati about life in Chicago PD.
What is it that you
like most about the character you play in
I really like the fact
that sheís not cool. I mean that in the fact that I see a lot of role
models who are just badass at everything. My character definitely has
badass qualities, but also has some places where she needs to grow and
learn. Much like young girls today or people looking to go into law
enforcement. Everyone has places they need to grow. My character
definitely has that. That excites me as an actor as well, because my
character is constantly trying to improve.
Do you think Kim is
scheming to be part of the intelligence unit? What are her plans for her
As an actor, it was
really hard when I learned that I wasnít making it to intelligence. That
had been my goal as an actor and as a character for so long. But I
really do think itís something that sheís not thinking about right now.
I think that Roman Ė her new partner Ė really has this love of the
streets. Itís taught her this newfound respect for being where she is.
Iím not saying that [joining intelligence] is not in the cards, but I
really do think itís something that has taken a back seat to her
ambition right now. I think sheís very happy where she is.
The idea of two police
officers being in love and engaged is very romantic, and yet itís also
fraught with so many different potential perils. Do you think that their
relationship will be able to survive both the dangers and just the
stress of the job?
something Iím excited about that theyíre going to address; the fact that
your partner is constantly putting themselves on the line, as are you.
How do you react when you see that? So far, Ruzek has been a little bit
protective when he sees me, which is not helpful, unfortunately. I think
the more that we interact as cops, the more that will rear its ugly
head. So thatís actually a story point that Iím excited to see develop.
I do find that Burgess
has these bursts of comedy that come out on the show. Is a lot of that
you just working it in or if thatís in the scripts originally that you
should be funny. How did that evolve?
Itís both. I love
comedy. Iíve done a lot of improv at UCB [comedy troupe Upright Citizens
Brigade] and some at Second City. The writers see that I can do humor
and comedy. So they write it in. But I also think that the lightness is
really wonderful to have with all the darkness on Chicago PD, so
I try to work it in there. When Iím working with Platt [played by Amy
Morgan], it just comes naturally. We both have a good rapport. Itíll
come out of any scene, even a horribly serious scene. Sometimes we have
to run it a couple times offstage, so we donít laugh. (chuckles)
We literally just run it a couple times.
Since Burgess and
Ruzek are now engaged, will we get to see any kind of wedding planning
going on this season?
Weíre filming episode
nine and so far there has been no wedding bells, or hint of wedding
bells. A lot of my fans tweeted me: when are we going to see it? They
think that I know. (laughs) I donít know. The writers do not
trust me with that secret. Hopefully this season, but I literally have
So weíre not going to
see Burgess taking Platt up on her offer to be a wedding planner any
Sheís definitely doing
it. I just donít know how long it will last, or when the wedding will
take place, or if the wedding will take place.
Dick Wolf is such a
legend in making TV procedurals. What is it like to work with him and on
one of his shows?
Thereís a lot of trust
and confidence when you work on a Dick Wolf show. Itís like you know
that youíre safe, because you know that his formula works. You know he
knows how to run a show and treat his actors and his writers with
respect. It feels like a great, safe environment. Youíre with someone
whoís been through it and knows exactly what works.
Chicago Ė isnít that
your home town? Or do you live there?
No, my home town is
New York City. I was born and raised in New York. I went to Northwestern
for school. So I do feel pretty comfortable here, but itís not my home
Do you run into female
police officers that look up to you? Youíre a very authentic character
in what you do in the show.
Oh thanks. Yes. We
have a technical advisor on set. His name is Brian Luce. Heís absolutely
wonderful. But I think sometimes there are problems specific to female
officers. He set me up with a female who Iím not going to name, but she
has been helpful and guided me in the murky waters of being a female
police officer. One of the things she always told me is that she tries
not to lead with her voice or bark, because a guyís always going to
probably be louder than her. So she finds other ways to control the
situation. I found that interesting, using your strengths as a woman to
control a situation. Sheís really helped me in other matters as well.
I know that fans of
the show really appreciate the strong female characters. And one thing
that we havenít gotten to see too much of is the interaction of the two
Between two women! I know. Donít even get me started. I know!
Youíve only filmed
nine episodes so far this season, but will we get any more of that? Or
youíre also pulling for it but it hasnít happened yet?
Well, Sophie [Bush] is
a good friend of mine and I love her. We always want to be in scenes
together. Itís fun to work with your friends. To be fair, Iím not really
in one-on-one scenes with a lot of intelligence officers. We have
different storylines. But this year we definitely have more interaction.
Thereís a couple storylines where Jesse and Soph go undercover as
uniformed officers for a minute. We have this interaction in the teaser.
So little things, which really are lovely and hopefully will build to a
big kickass girl-fight sequence that I hope the writers read that Iím
requesting right now.
We can always start a
campaign and harass them online too.
Iím trying myself, so
join my one-woman campaign.
As you mentioned,
Burgess and Roman seem to make a pretty good team. Could you preview
anything that they have coming up with their partnerships this season?
Weíre about to film an
episode where their... Let me see. How do I put this? Where their
relationship and Burgessí loyalty to Roman really gets tested. Roman is
coloring outside the lines a little, which is not something that Burgess
is completely comfortable doing. But itís a classic story. How far do
you go for your friends? Do you do exactly what you want or do you have
to blur the lines a little because you need to help a friend? Weíll see.
Itís really exciting. Itís [episode] 3-09 and itís kind of a crazy story
in which Roman gets into a lot of trouble.
Beyond the show and
Chicago Fire, theyíre now adding the new show, Chicago Med.
Will that show be crossing over into the world of Chicago PD?
Oh, my gosh, yes. Iíve
already been on Med, which is so wonderful and cool. Iíve been on
Fire a couple times. Thereís going to be a lot more Mollyís
scenes [set in the hangout bar for all the shows], which is great. Dick
Wolf has said that he wants more Mollyís scenes, more crossovers in each
episode. What I love about it is sometimes thereís substantive
crossovers; but a lot of times itís just because itís the same world and
Chicagoís such a big little city. Weíre all often at the bar just
walking by, saying hi, ordering a drink. It doesnít have to necessarily
be this major storyline, which is cool. It just shows that the world is
so cohesive that Dick Wolf has built.
Just as a follow-up on
the crossover question, thereís been quite a few crossover episodes and
there are more to come. Is there any character or actor that you havenít
had the chance to work with yet, but youíd love to? Be it from one of
Law and Order?
Torrey [DeVitto] is a
new female on Chicago Med [she plays Dr. Natalie Manning] and I
think itíd be so cool. And [S] Epatha [Merckerson, former Law & Order
actress who plays the head of the hospital] too. Itíd be great to
have... weíre just talking about a girl power story. Letís get everyone
in the hospital fighting a criminal and just trying to take him down Ė
me, Epatha, Torrey and Soph. Iíd be down for that.
One of the things Iíve
been bummed about is we havenít seen that much of Burgess and Ruzek out
of work, how they fell in love and the development of their story. Have
you guys had a chance to shoot any more scenes where we get to see them
being a couple?
I have to say,
unfortunately not. I would love that as well. I would definitely say
there is more Ruzek and Burgess developments of their story line coming
up, especially in an episode coming out Wednesday. Thereís something
which I think is interesting, Roman inserts himself into a situation.
The relationship between Roman and Burgess is very interesting and how
it affects Ė not in a jealousy way Ė but how it affects her relationship
with Ruzek. Youíll see very strongly in this coming episode.
Now that the showís
been going for a while, do the writers look at your strengths when
theyíre planning on things for Kim? Do you have any kind of input at
all? And also, how do you feel that youíre most like and unlike Kim?
Okay. So one, I went
to ask the writers, do you have a whiteboard of what we do well and what
we donít do well? (chuckles) They went, no, not exactly like a
whiteboard. But yes, itís like any job. They can see your strengths and
your weaknesses and they play to your strengths, which is great. Letís
do that always. Then in terms of Kim, I really do love her dedication to
her job. I had a day job as I was trying to make it as an actor the
whole time. I did commercials. I did all the stuff you needed to do to
work my way and get this job that I love so much on Chicago PD.
So I think that drive and the inability to be exhausted by it in terms
of just trying to get to your goal Ė I think that definite we share