[Warning: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen the April 29 episodes of Chicago P.D. and Law & Order: SVU.]
The Intelligence Unit of Chicago P.D. lost another one of its own Wednesday, when Nadia (Stella Maeve) was kidnapped, raped and murdered by serial killer Greg Yates (Dallas Roberts).
“That sends Lindsay on a spiral,” Chicago P.D. showrunner Matt Olmstead tells THR. “Voight tries to keep her from losing it, and that leads toward our cliff-hanger in P.D., which is Lindsay looking at her badge. Is she going to fling it and just go back to the party life where she came from and drink her sorrows away? Or is she going to stick it out and be a cop? That’s the decision she has to make.”
Nadia’s demise was particularly bittersweet. She was sober, living with Lindsay (Sophia Bush) and working as an assistant for Intelligence while studying to become a cop.
“It was never the plan,” says Olmstead. “All along, we wanted Lindsay to find a character and be to that character like what Voight was to her. To reclaim somebody and give them an opportunity and try and help that person get back on their feet and that was what happened. … Everything we had planned was paying off.”
However, says Olmstead, “It became apparent that a death would really put some teeth” into the crossover, once he went to New York to work with Law & Order: SVU showrunner Warren Leight on the episodes.
“In order to bring those guys east and for the story to continue with them engaged, there had to be a personal motivation,” says Leight. “You don’t question for a second why CPD comes to New York if one of their own has been taken hostage by the bad guy. … Yates feels like CPD messed with him, so he’s going to mess with them.”
Nadia is just the latest casualty to hit the unit (see: Detective Julia Willhite in the series premiere, Sheldon Jin in the season-one finale). In contrast, the death was more notable for the far less bloodthirsty SVU. “I don’t like to kill ’em off,” says Leight. “We don’t even kill off many victims on our show. So [Nadia’s death] was not arrived at quickly or without a lot of thought.”
Although not a series regular, Maeve had recurred on the show since the fourth episode. “At first I was reluctant because Stella the actress is so great and has been so much for us, but then it became apparent it wasn’t just a quick hit,” says Olmstead.
“It gave us definitely a season finale, and it’s going to give us something to come back to and play the beginning of next season. Just looking at what we could get and how it would affect other people and the drama we could get out of it, it was a very tough decision to make.”
Looking ahead, Nadia’s replacement is one of several new faces that will pop up at the precinct. “One of the great luxuries of having a show that you know is coming back and is doing well is being able to introduce a character and just giving them an opportunity. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out, and if it does work out, you’re off to the races,” says Olmstead. “We’ll be bringing in a new person in the next season to work in the office and then there’s also — which is one of our cliff-hangers in P.D. — the mystery arrival of a heretofore-unknown family member who shows up for one of our characters and upends that person’s world, and they have to deal with the ramifications of that next season.”
Law & Order: SVU airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC. Chicago P.D. airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on NBC.