CHICAGO P.D. Post-Mortem: Gwen Sigan on the Upstead Heartbreak and the Ruzek Reveal - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

CHICAGO P.D. Post-Mortem: Gwen Sigan on the Upstead Heartbreak and the Ruzek Reveal

January 17, 2024 by  

Chicago PD upstead divorce

CHICAGO P.D. — “Unpacking” Episode 11001 — Pictured: Tracy Spiridakos as Hailey Upton — (Photo by: Lori Allen/NBC)

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Wednesday, January 17 season premiere of CHICAGO P.D.]

As CHICAGO P.D. kicked off season 11, Upton (Tracy Spiridakos) was struggling—living in a new place (but still unpacked six months post-move), served divorce papers from the still-gone Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer)..and then tasked with working with a crisis prevention team.

Unfortunately (and fortunately) for Upton, her struggles were noticed by the team. After Voight confronts her about the divorce papers—which she left out—Upton tries to prove she’s okay by putting them in the outgoing mail.

But…with Trudy (Amy Morton) standing there—and all sorts of problems with leaving an important envelope out where anyone could grab it—are Upton and Halstead really divorced?

“We wouldn’t do that to you—they really are divorced,” CHICAGO P.D. showrunner Gwen Sigan tells Give Me My Remote. “So there’s some closure, pragmatically, in that relationship. And what we’ll see in the follow up for [Upton] is you obviously see at the end of the episode she’s not as okay as she wants to be. And she doesn’t understand why; she’s confused as to why she feels the way she feels. And so the rest of the season, we’re going to see her deal with that and get to a place where she can see that the relationship wasn’t all bad. That relationship wasn’t all terrible. There’s a lot of love there. There’s always going to be love there. And we’ll get to see how she grows from it.”

Complicating matters, the case went haywire and their suspect, Derek, killed himself—leaving  his brother, Cam (Nicholas Podany), who was the reason the crisis team was initially dispatched, distraught, and Upton guilt-ridden.

After brushing off multiple attempts of the team to help her through it, Voight (Jason Beghe) stops by her apartment for a heart-to-heart. 

“I think the nice thing that you’ll see is as she’s going through [these] emotions in the first episode, she’s definitely—they’re not letting her—trying to isolate herself,” Sigan says. “It’s kind of a sign of the depression that she’s feeling right now. She’s trying to be on her own. And so we’ll see that.”

“We’ll see the unit doing their best to care for her, doing their best to care for each other,” she continues. “They don’t always know how; they’re not always very good at it, but they try.”

And there will be some new faces she meets as the season progresses. “We’ll also see her up against a lot of new characters this season and how that affects her and how cases are gonna affect forming new relationships,” Sigan previews. “And once you’re willing to form new relationships, to let people in, is that a sign of growth? And having to have some new friendships for her is a sign that she’s doing better. So we’ll get some fun new characters, too.”

One old character, thankfully, isn’t going away. The premiere revealed that Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger) survived his gunshot—but still hasn’t been able to pass his tests to get back on the force.

“The benefit of this six-month jump was that we could play it really realistically, which, usually, if you’ve been shot on the job, it takes you a long time to get back,” Sigan points out. “So we got to play that this year, which was really nice. And in the first episode, you see the physical of it—that he hasn’t passed the test yet.”

“The second episode this season is a full Ruzek episode,” she continues. “And it’s all about the emotional side of that: Of what it actually feels like to be off of the job for six months and rehabbing and not knowing if you’re going to get back. And how that can spin out and bring up some fears that you have and insecurities. Am I okay without this job? Will I be able to be without this job? So it’s a really interesting episode for him, and for Burgess, and how she deals with that.”

And, yes, Burgess (Marina Squerciati) and Ruzek are still going strong six months later…even with his injury and the recovery process. “As it always has with the two of them, it ends up strengthening them—[they] end up growing closer,” Sigan says. “And making them grow up in a different way.”

“As much as he was her rock last season, now it’s the flip,” she continues. “She is his rock and helping him through a struggle, that in a lot of ways she understands and can relate to, because it’s what happened to her. But it’s coming out in such a different way; it’s manifesting so differently. [She] is still navigating, ‘How do I support you in this and what support do you actually need as opposed to what I feel I should be giving you?’ So it’s an interesting look into them as a couple now.”

CHICAGO P.D., Wednesdays, 10/9c, NBC


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