‘Chicago P.D.’s Marina Squerciati on Burgess’ Devastation & That Brutal Fight
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 7, Episode 13 of Chicago P.D., “I Was Here.”]
Chicago P.D. delivers five of the most brutal, intense, and heartbreaking minutes of the entire series at the end of Wednesday’s episode.
In “I Was Here,” Burgess (Marina Squerciati) is on light duty, due to her pregnancy, when a girl calls 911 pleading for help. Intelligence uncovers a sex-trafficking ring, and Burgess tries to stay at a desk for the duration of the investigation. But she’s the first to reach the motel room where the girl’s being held, and when she hears a scream, she feels she has no choice but to go in.
What ensues is one of the most hard-to-watch scenes in the show’s history as Burgess fights for her life, and while she takes down the man running the ring, she’s left bloody and bruised. And as the final scene reveals, she ultimately loses the baby.
Here, Squerciati breaks down that devastating episode and previews how Burgess handles the loss and what it means for her and Ruzek (Patrick Flueger) going forward.
What was your initial reaction when you read the script for this episode?
Marina Squerciati: I was worried that losing the baby would seem like my fault and not like a necessity. It had to be that I had to save this girl, that this girl would die if I didn’t go in this room. I talked to the director about my concerns and how to shoot it in that way, and with [consulting producer Brian] Luce, our technical advisor, about how to choreograph it so it was definitely certain this girl would die if I hadn’t gone in. That was my main concern. Then, making the fight pretty brutal and working on the choreography for that fight [with stunt coordinator Tom Lowell] was also very important, to make it all really believable.
And it’s quite the emotional roller coaster for Burgess, from start to finish. She and Ruzek begin the episode talking about him moving in and becoming a family, and they’re happy…
Yeah, they were moving in together! That just breaks my heart. It’s so sad because they’ve gone through so much and to get to a place — a healthy place — where they could move in together and co-parent is pretty amazing, and to have it so thoroughly destroyed is pretty devastating.
Is Burgess numb in that final scene?
I think so. I think it’s just a coping mechanism of not being able to process and also she’s not in a place where she can even share her thoughts and emotions with anyone. She just needs to be alone with them and sit with them. They’re just so painful.
How is Burgess going to recover moving forward? How much of that are we going to see in upcoming episodes?
You’ll see a lot. You’ll see that she is pretending to have healed and has definitely not. Voight knows that about her and is giving her some space, but Ruzek, for some reason, doesn’t understand that as much.
So how does this affect their relationship?
It’s going to be very touch and go. I don’t know that it’s smooth-sailing [but] I have some hope. We did film a very sweet scene recently. I just said some things to him that were nice and walked away, so I don’t know if they’re made up, but Burgess is doing her best. She knows that she shut him out and she’s trying to rectify that.
Helping people and being a police officer is such a big part of who Burgess is, and like you said, she had to enter that room to save the girl. But we also had that heartbreaking “I can’t go in” before she did. Does any part of her regret what she did?
I think so, and I think you’ll see that. It was like a rock and a hard place. She saved the girl, but her own baby died, so how do you feel entirely good or entirely bad about that situation? There’s no happy ending and no tragic ending because a girl got her life and yet my child died. It’s really hard. There’s no easy way through that because it’s not all good or all bad, it’s just really gray.
Does this change how she goes about her job in any way going forward?
Yeah, she’s going to be reluctant to put her emotions on the line anymore because it has such a devastating effect for her. She’s going to be more robotic in the future.
How do you think Burgess’ time in Intelligence and how she’s grown since we met her on patrol will help her deal with this loss?
I don’t know that being in Intelligence helps her with this loss. I think she’s grown and she’s able to weather the blows a bit more, probably better than if it happened Season 1 or 2 or 3, but I don’t know that Voight has taught her how to handle her emotions. He’s probably like, “don’t bring that to work.”
What do we see from Voight looking at Burgess moving forward?
He is an incredibly kind father figure to all his children when they screw up, and that is an important side of Voight and it makes him human. While I am hurting, he is there for me, but once I’m done when I decide to come back to the job, that’s it for him, and we move on.
It’s been a tough season for the unit so far. Is there any happiness on the horizon?
Let’s hope Rojas and Atwater get together. That’s all I can hope for.
Chicago P.D., Wednesdays, 10/9c, NBC