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The point where Chicago PD‘s Sgt. Hank Voight ends and Jason Beghe begins can get a little murky every now and then.
“He’s an ungrateful little bitch,” says Beghe with a smile when discussing an upcoming scene with Chicago Fire’s Lt. Matt Casey (Jesse Spencer). “A little pretty boy.”
After three years of portraying the rough and tough Chicago cop, it only makes sense that, at the very least, Voight’s colorful language has rubbed off on the actor portraying him. “If the thing got canceled tomorrow, I don’t think I’d work for awhile because I’d be a little bit like I’m still doing this,” says Beghe. “I feel like we’re still discovering a lot about each other and the other characters.”
Beghe, and frequent on-screen partner Jon Seda, aka Det. Antonio Dawson, first clocked in on in the second episode of Chicago Fire back in 2012. Beghe was the seemingly dirty cop who clashed with Fire’s dashing do-gooder Casey. Antonio was the more sympathetic and even-keeled brother of paramedic Gaby (Monica Raymund). Both characters hit a chord with audiences, which led to the idea of creating a Chicago PD spinoff series. “I can say, and Jon will vouch for this, from the very beginning, I’ve always felt that this show had a really healthy future and that was before we had even made the pilot.”
The show hit a few early bumps, but Beghe was right. After a majority of the characters introduced in the backdoor pilot were recast before the first episode, PD has since hit its stride and earned an early renewal for season three in February. “It’s less tense in terms of, ‘Do you have a job?'” says Beghe.
Both characters have come a long way from since their introductions. Voight has started to show his (slightly) softer side opposite his surrogate daughter and colleague Lindsay (Sophia Bush). Antonio’s world was turned upside down in the season one finale when his wife left with him and took their two children with her.
“What does Antonio do? He dives into his work, his notepad, that’s his wife now, his work. And in this business, in this job, he has to be focused in order to get the job done,” says Seda. “It’s like a horse when you put the blinders on, you worry about what needs to be worried about.”
But Antonio has found some time for a personal life. He recently rekindled an old romance with his former partner, Gina (Angelique Cabral), but it’s unclear if she’ll return. “What may be easy for one person to find romance or love might not be so easy for someone else,” says Seda. “I just think he’s gone through a lot but he loves what he does, he loves where he is. He’s just kind of being.”
This all-work, no-play attitude will serve both Voight and Antonio well later this month when members of the Intelligence Unit must travel to New York to investigate a serial rapist/murderer with Sgt. Benson and the rest of the Law & Order: SVU team. The story line marks the second three-show crossover between PD, SVU and Chicago Fire. “At any rate, we’re getting close to getting him and he gets away. He looks like he’s heading to New York so several of our characters go to New York,” says Beghe. “It’s very personal for us a lot of reasons I can’t say.”
The personalized storytelling, not to mention the multiple crossovers, share a similarity with Seda’s last job on NBC. Nearly two decades ago, he first cut his teeth as a TV detective on another Peacock cop drama, Homicide, which crossed over several times with the flagship Law & Order. “It was about the lives of these individuals and how they deal with these cases, how they deal with each other and play off of each other,” says Seda. “There are a lot of similarities. It was an honor to be a part of that show. It was an incredible time and I’m just glad to be apart of this now.”
Chicago PD airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. on NBC.
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