The most notable change coming is the loss of Sophia Bush. The actress played Det. Erin Lindsay for the first four seasons of P.D., but decided she was ready to move on. To make up for the loss, Det. Hailey Upton, played by Tracy Spiridakos, is filling in.
There's also a big change happening behind the scenes heading into this new season. Rick Eid has stepped in as the new showrunner for Chicago P.D., replacing co-creator Matt Olmstead.
Eid recently spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about taking over P.D. this season, and he revealed that plenty of change was on the way. Mainly, he said that the story this season will tackle real-life social issues that are currently taking place in Chicago.
"The big thing that we're trying to do is really attach the show to Chicago 2017, and to make the episodes in the show feel like it's in the middle of that complex city right now," Eid said. "There's a lot going on there socially, politically, certainly as it relates to what's going on with the police department, so we just really wanted to locate the show in that rich, complicated and racially charged and socially charged and politically charged environment."
How Does That Change the Show?
So, the series is tackling more social issues in the new season, but how exactly are they going to do that?
Eid went on to say that a character will immediately come in and shake things up for the police department.
"In the season premiere, we're introducing this idea of reform. The chief of police and superintendent has designated an independent auditor to oversee the police department and that independent auditor will be Mykelti Williamson [who played Voight's old partner Lt. Denny Woods in season four]. So we're literally introducing an authoritative figure who is charged with overseeing the Chicago Police Department and making sure it operates in an appropriate way and in conformity with new guidelines and regulations."
This new approach to moral issues on the show will affect all of the characters, but Hank Voight will have to learn to adjust to this new world he's found himself in.
"As a policeman, he's going to have to react to it in a way that allows him to do his job and protect the city and do what his goal has always been: to protect the city and get the bad guy. He's just going to have to do it in a different way. You're going to have to see him possibly be a little bit more cerebral or figure out a new way to get from a to b. I don't think his moral compass has changed or his code of ethics has changed necessarily. He's smart and he deals with what's in front of him, and what's in front of him in this moment is this idea of police reform. As a smart, instinctive creature, he's going to adapt and figure out how to do his job the best way possible in the new environment. It's just a new obstacle for him."prevnext
The Whole Team Is Changing
This reform coming to the department is going to be a difficult change for everyone, especially with Voight being given a slightly shorter leash.
Eid revealed that the new technology being presented to real-world police officers will start to come into play this season. It's a complicated time to be a cop, and Eid wants to make sure and capture that.
"I think the theme for the season probably is the idea of reform. But in terms of what we'll see week to week and for the season is the characters just immersed in complicated cases with lots of moral and ethical dilemmas along the way in terms of solving cases. I think, again, if possible, we're trying to dramatize what's going on in the city and what's going on with the new Chicago Police Department and the idea of reform.
"It's an interesting time to be a police officer, especially in Chicago but I think also across the country. There's phones everywhere there's cameras everywhere, there's a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking going on among policemen so I think it's a really complicated time to be a cop and I think that hopefully within the construct of our bigger cases, we're feeling that in each episode, that it's really hard to be a cop and how do you do it? How do you get the best results in this sensitive and challenging environment where you've got a bunch of people telling you you're doing it the wrong way?"prevnext
About Sophia Bush's Exit
There was no way Eid was going to get through an entire interview without being asked about Bush's exit. The decision took the fans by surprise, and many are still wondering how her departure will change things.
After revealing that he wasn't involved in the discussions about her exit, Eid was asked about the possibility of Bush returning at some point.
"It's probably too early. There's nothing specific on the table right now so I don't really have a comment on that right now."
Eid went on to explain just how the departure of Det. Lindsay will affect the characters closest to her, specifically Voight and Halstead.
"I think they'll probably handle it differently because they're different characters but I think her absence is definitely something they'll feel. And we'll see it at different times. It's definitely addressed in the season premiere and from time to time, we'll feel it, whenever it feels right for the characters. Sometimes you might not even be talking about it but you might think that's what's going on, for example with Halstead. Her loss will impact him in a meaningful way."prevnext
It sounds like Halstead will be the one on the team who is the most affected by Lindsay's exit. Eid revealed that the character will find himself in a difficult place when the series begins.
"He's a really interesting character in that he tries so hard to do the right thing all the time and that's a great character, especially in such a challenging job, to have that kind of compass. I think the loss of Lindsay... in the season premiere, he's involved in a situation that affects him so the combination of those things sort of throws him off balance. It's just seeing a guy trying to deal with some real emotional, personal issues the best way he can, trying to handle it by himself, trying to stay strong in the wake of adversity. We'll see how that plays out for him."
While he's losing Lindsay, Halstead is now partnered up with Hailey Upton this season, and that should provide an interesting dynamic for fans to enjoy.
"We're still writing it and watching it and seeing it evolve. I'm hoping it's a great partnership. They look out for each other, is the real dynamic that begins to take place. As the season progresses, I think Halstead will be doing things in a way that's a little different than how he used to, and Hailey will be there to help him and clocking this new behavior. Ultimately, they're there to have each other's back and they're there to protect each other and I think that will be in full focus."
Eid later said this of Det. Upton this season:
"She's smart, she's pretty fearless, she has a slightly different approach and viewpoint than some of the other characters. She's very pragmatic, she's a combination of street-smart and book-smart and she does it because she loves it. And so she's an interesting character that we're excited to explore week by week by week. Rather than just announcing these are all her attributes, I think we'll see them in focus episode by episode."prevnext
Jon Seda's Return
Eid teased that Seda's character will return right away, and that he'll be jumping right back in with a new case.
"He comes back in the season premiere. The case we're involved in, there's a need for someone like Antonio, in particular a character that is unknown to the criminal element we're pursuing so Voight reaches out to Antonio and he becomes involved in the case and ultimately, Voight offers him the job and he decides to stay. When we're talking amongst the writers, there's a war going on out there and he wants to be part of it. I think he felt like he might have been a little bit on the sidelines more at the State's Attorney's office and he wants to be in the middle of the fire. So that's why he comes back.0comments
"The idea of why Voight wants him back is, with all the oversight and all the eyes watching this unit, a standup, solid, morally unassailable character like Antonio is great for Voight. He's a guy that will keep him in check hopefully."
Chicago P.D. will premiere its fifth season on NBC Wednesday, September 27 at 10 p.m.prev