Marina Squerciati, who plays Officer Kim Burgess, on NBC’s Chicago P.D., recently had the chance to sit down and discuss what its like going into season three and how her character has evolved. Since playing Officer Burgess her character has been able to take a drug ring down basically on her own, survived a brutal shooting, learn to deal with a new partner, pass on a spot in intelligence, and become a fiancé.
Squerciati said that this season, creator Dick Wolf and his team of writers has even more in store for the officers over on Chicago P.D.
What is it that you like most about the character you play in Chicago PD?
Marina Squerciati: I really like the fact that she’s not cool. Like – and I don’t mean that as in – I mean that in the fact that I see a lot of role models who are just badass at everything. And I think that my character definitely has badass quality but also has some places where she needs to grow and learn, much like young girls today or young girls – or people; looking to go into law enforcement.
Everyone has places they need to grow, and my character definitely has that. So that excites me as an actor as well because my character is constantly trying to improve.
My question is about the ambitions of Kim Burgess. Do you think she is skimming to be part of the intelligent unit? What is her plans for her future?
Marina Squerciati: Well, I think me as an actor – it was really hard when I learned that I wasn’t making it to intelligence because that had been my goal as an actor and as a character for so long. But I really do think it’s something that she’s not thinking about right now. I think that Roman — her new partner — really has this love of the street and taught her this newfound respect for being where she is.
And I’m not saying that that’s not in the cards, but I really do think it’ something that’s taken a back seat to her ambition right now. I think she’s very happy where she 8is.
The idea of two police officers being in love and engaged is very romantic, and yet it’s also fraught with so many different potential perils. Like for example when Burgess found the syringe in his bag. Obviously that was sort of explained away, but do you think that their relationship will be able to survive both the dangers and just the stress of the job?
Marina Squerciati: Well, so my – the partner – I’m a little confused because the partner that I found the syringe in is just my partner on the streets and not my lover. My fiancé is in – but I think that in terms of – I think that your question applies to an engagement as well in terms of my fiancé is a police officer.
I think that’s actually something I’m excited about that they’re going to address, the fact that your partner is constantly putting themselves on the line, as are you. And how do you react when you see that?
So far, Ruzek has bene protective when he sees me, which is not helpful unfortunately. And I think the more that we interact as cops the more that will rear its ugly head.
So that’s actually a story point that I’m excited to see develop.
I wanted to ask you because I do find that Burgess has these bursts of comedy that come out on the show. And I wanted to know if that’s a lot of you just working that in or if that’s in the scripts originally that you should be funny. How did that evolve?
Marina Squerciati: I think that it’s both. I love comedy and it’s something – I’ve done a lot of improve at UCB and (unintelligible) Second City. I think it’s both, but 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 I’m working with Platt I think it just comes naturally. We both have a good rapport that it just – it’ll come out of any scene, even a horribly serious scene. So sometimes we have to run it a couple times offstage so we don’t laugh. 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?
Marina Squerciati: We’re on episode – we’re filming episode nine and so far there has been no wedding bells or hint of wedding bells. And I think the – a lot of my fans tweeted me like when are we going to see it? And I think they think that I know. I don’t know. The writers do not trust me with that secret.
So hopefully this season, but I literally have no idea.
So we’re not going to see Burgess taking Platt up on her offer to be a wedding planner any time soon?
Marina Squerciati: We are – she’s definitely doing it. I just don’t 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 on with him and on one of his shows/
Marina Squerciati: I think there’s a lot of trust and a lot of confidence when you work on a Dick Wolf show. It’s kind of like you know that you’re safe because you know that his formula works and you know he knows how to run a show and treat his actors with respect and his writers with respect. And it’s just – it feels like a great, safe environment. You’re with someone who’s been through it and knows exactly what works.
Do you run into female police officers that look up to you? Because you do play a – you’re quite a very authentic character in what you do in the show. So that’s awesome. But do you run into other people that are real police officers that say anything to you about that?
Marina Squerciati: yes, I think we have a technical advisor on set. His name is (Brian Luce) and he’s absolutely wonderful. But I think sometimes there are specific problems specific to female officers. And he set me up with a female who I’m 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 guy’s always going to probably be louder than her. So she finds other ways to control the situation. I found that interesting, like using your strengths as a woman to control a situation. And she’s really helped me in other matters as well.
I know that people, fans of the show really appreciate the strong female character. And one thing that we haven’t gotten to see too much of is the interaction of the two main…
Marina Squerciati: Between two women, I know. Don’t even get me started. I know.
And you’ve only filmed nine episodes so far this season, but will we get any more of that? Or you’re kind of also pulling for it but it hasn’t happened yet?
Marina Squerciati: Well, Sophie is a good friend of mine and I love her, and we always want to be in scenes together. It’s fun to work with your friends. To be honest, I’m not really – to be fair, I’m not really in one-on-one scenes with a lot of intelligence officers. We have different storyline.
But this year we definitely have more interaction. There’s 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 I’m requesting right now.
Yes, we can always start a campaign and harass them online too.
Marina Squerciati: I’m trying myself, so join my one-woman campaign.
As you mentioned, Burgess and Roman seem to make a pretty good team. So I was just wondering if you could preview anything that they have coming up with their partnerships this season.
Marina Squerciati: Yes. It’s about – we’re about to film an episode where they’re – let me see. How do I put this? Where their relationship and Burgess’ 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 it’s like 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?
So we’ll see. It’s really exciting. Its 3-09 and it’s kind of a crazy story in which Roman gets into a lot of trouble.
Beyond the show and Chicago Fire, they’re now adding the new show, Chicago Med. Will that show be crossing over into the world of Chicago PD?
Marina Squerciati: Oh, my gosh, yes. I’ve already been on Med which is so wonderful and cool, and I’ve been on Fire a couple times. There’s going to be a lot more Molly scenes, which is kind of great. Dick Wolf has said that he wants more Molly scenes, more crossovers in each episode.
And what I love about it is sometimes there’s substantive crossovers; but a lot of times it’s just like because it’s the same world and Chicago’s the – such a big little city that we’re all often at the bar just walking by, saying hi, ordering a drink. Or it doesn’t have to necessarily be this major storyline, which is kind of cool. It just shows that the world is so cohesive that Dick Wolf has built.
A follow-up on the crossover question, I know that there’s been quite a few crossover episodes and there’s more to come. Is there any character or actor that you haven’t had the chance to work with yet, but you’d love to? Be it from one of the Chicago franchises or the Law and Order?
Marina Squerciati: I would love – Tori is a new female on Chicago Med and I think it’d be so cool and (unintelligible) too. And I think it’d be great to have – we’re just talking about a girl power story. Let’s get everyone in the hospital fighting a criminal and just trying to take him down — me, (Apasa), Tori, Soph. and just – I’d be down for that.
One of the things I’ve been bummed about is we haven’t seem that much of Burgess and Ruzek out of work, just like in their lives where – how they fell in love and the development of their story. I just wanted to know if you guys had a chance to shoot any more scenes where we get to see them being them as a couple?
Marina Squerciati: You know, I have to say unfortunately not. But I would love that as well. But there has – I would definitely say there is more Ruzek and Burgess developments of their story line coming up, especially in an episode coming out Wednesday. There’s something that – which is think is interesting. Roman inserts himself into a situation. I think the relationship between Roman and Burgess is very interesting and how it affects – not in a jealousy way, but how it affects her relationship with Ruzek. You’ll see very strongly in this coming episode.
Now that the show’s been going for a while, did the writers look at your strengths and stuff like that when they’re planning on things for Kim? Or is that something that’s – do you have any kind of input at all? And also, how do you feel that you’re most like and dislike Kim?
Marina Squerciati: Okay. So one, I do think – I want to ask the writers, do you have a whiteboard of what we do well and what we don’t do well? And they went, no, not exactly like a whiteboard. But yes, it’s like any job. They can see your strengths and your weaknesses and they play to your strengths, which is great. Let’s do that always.
And then in terms of Kim, I really do love her dedication to her job. I’ve done – I had a day job 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 sort of drive and energy and the inability to be exhausted by it in terms of just trying to get to your goal — I think that definite we share that.