‘Chicago P.D.’ Is ‘Trying to Be Useful’ Addressing Police Brutality in Season 8

Jason Beghe in Chicago PD as Hank Voight - Season 7
Matt Dinerstein/NBC

Chicago P.D. is making some changes in Season 8, and those changes will start at the very beginning.

In a conversation with Julian McMahon (who plays Jess LaCroix on FBI: Most Wanted) for Wolf Entertainment’s YouTube Channel (watch it below), Jason Beghe (Sergeant Hank Voight) discusses how the One Chicago franchise will address real-world events moving forward. Season 8 of P.D. picks up after George Floyd’s death (which led to protests against police brutality and racism this spring and summer). And don’t forget how the previous finale ended: with one of Intelligence’s own, Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins) informing Internal Affairs that a fellow cop and an innocent man wound up dead due to racial profiling by the officer.

“We’re continuing from there and drawing out the bigger things,” Beghe says of Season 8. “It’s a responsibility and there may be people who are offended, there may be new fans. We’re going in both barrels blazing really, going for it.”

As for how Voight will deal with this, Beghe notes, “My character’s a real old school, ‘I know what I’m supposed to do but I do what I have to do’ kind of guy, and he breaks the rules and that stuff ain’t flying anymore. There’s going to be moments where your knees hit the ground and you look in a mirror and you say, ‘this ain’t working, something’s gotta change,’ and so those are exciting things to deal with.”

The actor also shares that leading up to filming, the cast and writers spoke with each other, advisors, and cops and had more than one script ready. “It gave me a lot of time to get ready for it. So by the time we started shooting — and I think I speak for the whole cast and the crew — we were fairly zoned in,” he explains.

“I guess we feel this sense of responsibility to address these issues. … I’m really proud of our first scripts. I hope they’re not only entertaining but maybe we’re trying to, without being grandiose, maybe be useful,” Beghe continues. “Bring about some understanding between these disparate groups that tend to be at odds right now. It’s tricky.”

As executive producer Rick Eid told us previously, Voight has to figure out if “he’s part of the problem or part of the solution” as a new Deputy Superintendent Samantha Miller (Nicole Ari Parker) comes to the city with a police-reform agenda.

Chicago P.D., Season 8 Premiere, Wednesday, November 11, 10/9c, NBC