'Chicago P.D.' Boss Breaks Down Sophia Bush's "Meaningful" Onscreen Farewell

New showrunner Rick Eid also discusses Halstead's struggles in the premiere episode and Voight's "toughest opponent yet."
Matt Dinerstein/NBC

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Wednesday's season five premiere of Chicago P.D., "Reform."]

Det. Erin Lindsay (Sophia Bush) is gone but definitely not forgotten.

Chicago P.D. opened its season five premiere with a tribute to the now-former member of the Intelligence Unit, a series of clips showing everything from her recounting when Voight (Jason Beghe) and his late wife took her in off the streets as a troubled teen to her rollercoaster relationship with partner and beau Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) to, finally, her accepting a job with the FBI in New York from the season four finale, just as Halstead was about to propose.

The first new season five footage also hit hard on her exit, first with Halstead going back to her now-empty apartment and finding a picture of the two of them together, and then with Voight telling a stranger about how difficult it was to say goodbye to the woman he thought of as a daughter.

Even as Halstead dealt with the blowout from accidentally shooting a little girl during a bust, he asked Voight if he had heard from Lindsay. The answer? A definitive no. "Look, it was time for her to move on," Voight told him. "You need to make peace with it."

And with that, the new Chicago P.D. — after all the season premiere is titled "Reform" — got down to business. The hour set up new tensions between Voight and his boss (Esai Morales) as well as the new independent auditor, his old partner Denny Woods (Mykelti Williamson). The premiere also set the stage for Antonio's (Jon Seda) full-time return to Intelligence (following the cancellation of Chicago Justice) and also began to lay the groundwork for Halstead's new partnership with Det. Upton (Tracy Spiridakos), even as he struggled to cope with not only Lindsay's absence but the fact that he accidentally shot and killed a little girl.

There was also some movement on the romantic front, when Burgess (Marina Squerciati) informed ex-fiance Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger) that she was seeming someone new despite their kiss midway through season four.

New Chicago P.D. showrunner Rick Eid answered all of THR's burning questions about Burgess and Ruzek's "intense romantic connection," Voight's "toughest opponent yet," and to get the behind-the-scenes story on Lindsay's "meaningful" farewell.

The season five premiere opens with flashbacks of Lindsay's time on P.D. You could have easily gone the Law & Order route and not made mention of her exit, so why did you think it was best to acknowledge her absence and in this way? Why was this the right way to start the episode?

We knew the unit would feel Lindsay’s absence in a meaningful way. Voight saw her as a surrogate daughter, Halstead wanted to propose to her last season, and she’s been an integral part of Intelligence from the start. So it felt right to acknowledge this new reality in the premiere.

We also see Voight getting emotional when talking with someone about Lindsay leaving Chicago. Can we assume this is some kind of therapy? Will he be going back? What makes him open up in such a way about her leaving?

Voight is a complicated character who has a hard time opening up to friends and colleagues. He’s more likely to open up to a perfect stranger. The woman he meets with in the premiere is more of a surrogate therapist than a professional psychologist. He may visit with this woman again. You’ll have to watch.

The case at the center of the episode is a big one for Halstead. Why, out of everyone in the unit, did you decide to have him be the one to accidentally shoot and kill a little girl? 

From the start of the series, Halstead was set up as a white knight. He always had a strong moral compass. We wanted to throw him into the vortex of reform and racial tension prevalent in Chicago right now. It made sense to use Halstead because he is such an honest cop and we know he plays by the rules. If he can get blown up in this political climate, anyone can.

He still seems shaken up at the end of the episode, so how will this event impact him going forward?

Halstead will certainly carry the weight of accidentally shooting and killing this little girl. It’s a wound he initially buries but will be forced to confront later. It’s an interesting and emotional season for Halstead.

There appears to be tension between Hank and the auditor, Denny Woods, at the end of the episode. What can you say about their dynamic going forward? 

The tension between Voight and Denny Woods won’t be going away. In fact, Woods may be Voight’s toughest opponent yet. He’s shrewd, calculating and politically powerful. He also has a personal vendetta against Voight, who tried to take him down last season. Bottom line: Voight would be a great trophy for Woods in this era of police reform.

Burgess also revealed in this episode that she's dating someone else. Why did you decide not to revisit the Burgess-Ruzek pairing after their kiss in season four?

This is a big season for Burgess as a cop. She always wanted to be in Intelligence and missed her first shot at the unit largely because of her romantic relationship with Ruzek This season she’s determined to focus on her career more than her love life, but once again they will intersect.

Is this person someone viewers already know? If and when will viewers see them together this season? 

No, it isn’t someone that viewers have seen already.

What else can you say about this mystery man? How is her relationship with this new person different from her relationship with Ruzek?

I think Ruzek and Burgess will always have a very intense romantic connection. I wouldn’t give up on them just yet. 

Chicago P.D. airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on NBC.

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