By Emma Sarran Webster | April 18, 2017 | People
Chicago P.D.’s Marina Squerciati has been a fixture on Dick Wolf’s ever-growing “One Chicago” franchise from the start, killing it as officer-turned-detective Kim Burgess for four seasons so far. Now, the actress is taking a bit of a break for her maternity leave (she’s expecting her first child soon). We caught up with Squerciati to talk about her big last episode this season (it was a doozy), hilarious web series, and plans for a Chicago summer.
Marina Squerciati on Chicago P.D.
An episode featuring Burgess, “Last Minute Resistance,” centered around sexual assault, and deals with the issue of consent and what that means. How do you approach such sensitive and serious topics?
MARINA SQUERCIATI: I think, first of all, that it’s great that we’re approaching it. A lot of it’s been in the news and consent is really topical right now. And that’s what’s great about the show. Last year, my character dealt with shooting an unarmed black youth, and I love that we’re not shying away from these really touchy, incredibly divisive subjects. So it’s an honor to do that, to be able to bring that into people’s homes and promote discussions. I think you approach it the way you approach anything as an actor: You try and do the best you can.
We also found out in that episode that Burgess is taking some time off, which, of course, coincides with your maternity leave. Will you be out for the rest of the season?
MS: Yes, this is my last episode, which is bittersweet. It’s hard, especially for Burgess, who is just kind of hitting her stride in intelligence, which I think makes the end of the episode sort of tragic. She realizes her life is going to change and she's going to need to be this sort of head of the household for her sister and in charge of her niece. I guess we’re both becoming moms to some extent, taking care of people—but it's hard. What’s great about Burgess is that the fans have really rooted for her to come up to intelligence and she's finally hitting her stride, and now she has to take a step back and it’s difficult.
Will we see her back in intelligence at the start of season 5?
MS: I hope so! I hope that [squad commander of the District 21 Intelligence Unit, Hank] Voight, doesn’t give my place away. When Ruzek came back and asked for his place, [Voight] wasn't so kind about it. So I’m hoping that Voight has a soft spot for Burgess, which I think he does.
How was it shooting the show while pregnant? You worked for a pretty long time throughout your pregnancy, right?
MS: Yeah, I mean, I would’ve kept working, but it’s hard because they’re hiding it. So if they had written it in, it would've been a different story. I feel like a lot of times in interviews celebrities are always like, “You know, it’s so easy.” It’s hard! Your body’s a little bit more tired, but it's also your job and your work, so you do what you need to do. You take more rests between takes, or you have more protein—whatever you can do to survive. It's your job; it's what you have to do. And I also love working, so it was fun.
Marina Squerciati on Chicago P.D.
Aside from Chicago P.D., you have your web series, Special Skills, which you mentioned when we talked to you last year. Tell us a little bit more about that series and how it came about.
MS: Well, Brian Geraghty had a stand-in named Patrick Webb, we saw him at iO and we just sort of started improvising together, Patrick and I. And out of that came this sort of amazing thing where the people from all the [NBC Chicago] shows, like Monica Raymund, Christian Stolte, and Amy Morton, all wanted to be involved in this comedic web series that we created about two actors struggling to make it—which, believe me, I can relate to; I’ve had many day jobs. It’s so fun to be able to take all these serious people—we do serious things every week—and really let our comedic sides shine, and I’m pretty proud. It’s been getting such positive responses that it makes me want to do a second season.
What’s been your favorite episode so far?
MS: I think my favorite episode is the one with LaRoyce [Hawkins] called “Hot Tea.” There’s a line in it called, "practice makes pimping"—that was a LaRoyce improv line and I love it. He’s kind of this lothario teaching Patrick Webb how to pick up ladies. And it just rings very true to me. I think the closer you are to truth, the funnier it is.
And you said you're hoping for a season two. Do you think it'll happen?
MS: For sure. We had so many actors that we didn’t get to put in this season of Special Skills [who] want to be in it. Like Jesse Lee [Soffer said], “I really want to be in one.” So we have to make some place for the people who want to do it!
You mentioned iO and some improv lines. Do you get a chance to take in a lot of comedy and improv shows here in Chicago?
MS: Sophia Bush and I just did iO with “Whirled News.” It was really fun. We were the guest stars. And I did [“The Armando Diaz Experience” recently.] So getting to flex those muscles is really important to me. I do drama every week; I need a little bit of lightness to balance that out.
So here in Chicago, the weather is hopefully warming up for good. When that happens, is there anything you’re looking forward to doing in the city? Or are you leaving for the hiatus between Chicago P.D. seasons?
MS: Well, I’m actually going to stay during hiatus this year because I’m having a baby. Also, there’s a couple of other people from the shows who are staying, so I’m basically staying because they’ve all offered to babysit. So I’m like, “Well, I’ve got free help, so I might as well!” I think there are a lot of great things to do in the city when it’s warm—[like] walking on the lakefront and going to museums. But I don't know, I’ve never been a mom before, so I don't know if you can take a baby to a museum—we'll see!
Well, I'm sure you'll find some fun things to do!
MS: Because I haven’t been working, I've been sort of a homebody in sweatpants and t-shirts, I'm kind of looking forward to shopping again. I know that sounds trite, but taking care of myself a little bit after I'm no longer pregnant sounds glorious. Maybe a pedicure—you know, go crazy!
Do you have any favorite shopping spots in the city?
MS: There’s a store called Rider in the West Loop, which is so cool. There are pictures, rugs, stationery, pens, and clothing. And it’s just such a beautifully-curated store that I go in and I come out with something different every time—like perfume, shoes, or a TV.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Matt Dinerstein / NBC ('CHICAGO P.D.' SHOTS); Parish Lewis / NBC (RED CARPET)
November 15, 2018