Squerciati’s Kim Burgess brings compassion to Intelligence Unit
NBC’s Chicago P.D., a police drama series featuring the men and women of the Chicago Police Department’s elite Intelligence Unit, combat some of Chicago’s most heinous crimes. Marina Squerciati, who plays officer Kim Burgess, has continually brought energy, kindness and stellar research skills, proving her to be an asset to the Intelligence Unit.
Now in its seventh season, viewers have seen Burgess rise up through the ranks. In season one she took to the streets as a patrol officer, but quickly made her way to the top by landing a spot on the intelligence team, helping the team take down some of the city’s toughest criminals. Squerciati feels that her character certainly proves she has what it takes to be a real and compassionate police officer.
“I like that she is a badass, but also has a softer side,” Squerciati said. “You don’t have to be made of Teflon to be a strong woman. She’s multifaceted and one of those facets happens to be tenderness and kindness, but that doesn’t take away from how strong she is.”
The show covers some of the city’s most heinous crimes; from organized crime to drug trafficking to murders, the members of the intelligence unit always have one goal in mind: bring the criminals to justice. Fighting crime has proven to be a strenuous task with fight scenes, long-distance running, and the overall stamina needed for the high-intensity scenes in the show. Squerciati exercises a few days a week to stay in-shape.
“I have to go to the gym because there’s a lot of running scenes, a lot of quick moving and [you have to be] agile,” Squerciati said. “You have to be fit in order to achieve that. If we do a fight scene, like the fight scene in the episode where I lost the baby, we had a fight coordinator and rehearsals. But I think there is a level of fitness that just makes it easier, so I try to work out like at least three times a week.”
Squerciati previously lived in New York, but moved to Chicago immediately after she landed the role of Burgess. Filming for P.D. is an extensive time commitment.
“It’s a 10-month season and we film [about] 14 hours a day,” Squerciati said. “But in the Chicago winter, that can really take a lot out of you. We have a school teacher’s schedule in that we have a summer hiatus, so by the time April comes around, everyone is ready for a break. It’s really an incredibly fun and wonderful show to film, but it’s also really hard and that break is pretty crucial.”
From patrol officer to detective, Squerciati’s character has grown substantially over the years, having experienced many hardships throughout the seasons, Burgess’ softer side has somewhat hardened over the years.
“I think as a police officer you see so much that it’s kind of important to harden because if everything affects you the same way you’ll burn out,” Squerciati said. “But I also think it’s important that you don’t harden too much and lose your humanity or forget that you’re seeing people at the worst moments of their life. I think it’s a balance of not being too hard or too soft, but finding some place in the middle. I think that Voigt’s character has really developed to be that father figure that helps us maintain that balance.”
Burgess’ on-and-off again relationship with Adam Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger) has most recently brought tears to viewers eyes. After the brutal fight scene in episode 15 where Burgess ultimately loses her baby, viewers have been speculating how she will handle the loss.
“I think that everyone’s going to deal with that kind of tragedy differently,” Squerciati said. “But I think that for Burgess, it’s a numbness. We left her numb and I think that is how she’s going to survive this for the time being; just not letting herself feel. I think she’s in so much pain that if she lets herself feel it will just overwhelm her.”
Aside from Chicago P.D., Squerciati likes to show off her comedy skills. When she isn’t filming for P.D., she and her partner Patrick Webb developed a web comedy series called Special Skills, which features conversations between two young struggling actors, Patrick and Marina, who are trying to break into show business. They believe they are just on the cusp of making it big time, but things don’t seem to go as planned. Several cast members from Chicago P.D. and Chicago Fire have made appearances in the webisodes. Developed in 2017, the series has five episodes and is streamed on YouTube.
“I like to showcase my comedy side whenever I can,” Squerciati said. “There are some funny [episodes] with Monica Raymond and Patrick Flueger. We got everyone involved, Christian Stolte and Amy Morton, everyone has a part in the series.”
Watch Chicago P.D. on NBC Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET.