It’s been seven months since we last caught up with the members of Intelligence on Chicago PD.
Since Episode 20, the world has changed quite drastically with the onset of a global pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement protesting police brutality.
Understandably, this brings into question our favorite police procedural. How will the series handle the unavoidable new realities?
Here’s everything we know as we gear up for Chicago PD Season 8!
Tackling police brutality is going to be more of an uphill battle for Chicago PD as Intelligence is known to cross lines and boundaries in the name of justice.
As times are changing, the show needs to address this very real issue. Showrunner Rick Eid told TVInsider that police reform will be at the forefront of the season and it boils down to Sgt. Voight, who has a reputation of being a bit of a “corrupt cop.”
According to Eid, Voight will have to figure out if he’s “part of the problem or part of the solution” after facing backlash from not only the community but also his superiors.
Per the official synopsis for Chicago PD Season 8 Episode 1, “the team responds to the shooting of a 5-year-old girl andmust work the case while facing the heightened attention on police reform.”
Jason Beghe, who plays Voight, seems eager for the change in light of recent events.
“Because of all the stuff that’s going on with police and Black Lives Matter, for the three weeks before shooting, we were in heavy communication with each other and certain advisers,” Beghe told FBI: Most Wanted‘s Julian McMahon during Wolf Entertainment’s “Unscripted” video on Monday, October 26.
“We’re continuing from there and kind of drawing out the bigger things. As we pick up, it’s post-George Floyd. My character is a real old school, ‘I know what I’m supposed to do but I do what I have to do,’ kind of guy. He breaks the rule and that stuff ain’t flying anymore,” he said.
There’s a New Superintendent in Town
And she’s holding Voight accountable! As TVFanatic previously reported, Nicole Ari Parker is set to recur on Chicago PD as Superintendent Samantha Miller. The deputy superintendent hails from Atlanta and is described as “a progressive, ardent proponent of police reform.”
According to Eid, Miller’s goal is to abolish the “warrior cop” mentality that has fueled Chicago’s police for far too long. In order to do that, she wants to help Voight and Intelligence adapt to a new reality and “views Intelligence as integral in this mission.”
She believes that if she can change Voight, the rest of the force will follow suit. But it won’t be easy as we all know Voight plays by his own set of rules.
Black Versus Blue
The synopsis also teases that “Atwater is targeted by officers who want to hurt him for standing against the blue wall.”
Chicago PD didn’t know it at the time, but when Chicago PD Season 7 wrapped prematurely, it handed itself directly into the narrative that would segway perfectly into the real-life racial tensions stemming from the brutal murder of George Floyd.
For those who need a quick refresher: during the Chicago PD Season 7 finale, Atwater was tasked to work alongside racist cop, Tommy Doyle. The two put aside their beef to work the case, but Atwater called out him out for racially profiling a young Black man.
Doyle’s actions got him killed during the incident, and instead of lying about it as he was advised, Atwater broke the “blue wall of silence” and testified against him.
Atwater’s honesty triggered Doyle’s celebrated police family, who now want revenge.
In the final scene of the episode, Atwater goes home and sees Doyle’s partner waiting in front of his home. When he confronts him, the block lights up in blue in solidarity with Doyle, a sign that the police force is waging war on Atwater.
Photos from the premiere episode show that Atwater is back in action. Even though Voight and the team have his back, his “superiors” are likely not making it easy for him to remain a cop.
There’s a Pandemic Out There
The #OneChicago shows will fully embrace the COVID-19 pandemic and incorporate it into the new seasons, which will naturally force a change in character behaviors.
This isn’t the first time we’ll see our favorites from Intelligence, Firehouse 51, and Med come face-to-face with a pandemic, but it’s the first time the public will be able to relate.
In case you forgot, the three-hour epic crossover event titled “Infection” during Chicago PD Season 7 found all three teams working together to thwart a threat of bioterrorism.
Who could have guessed that just a few months after those three episodes aired, those eerie empty streets of Chicago would become our reality?
Another image from the Chicago PD Season 8 premiere shows Atwater, Halstead, and Ruzek wearing face coverings as they leap into action. Not even a global pandemic can stop these guys!
Halstead Has a Mustache
It’s clear that Intelligence will have a lot on their plates during Chicago PD Season 8, but the most baffling addition is Halstead’s mustache.
Quarantine beards and mustaches are understandable when you’re working from home but not on the job. Did he not get the CDC’s memo that facial hair doesn’t work well with COVID and face mask?
All jokes aside, the mustache looks like a new member of Intelligence. Are you digging it or are you hoping he shaves it off ASAP?
Speaking of police reform . . . Voight’s not the only one who will have to change his ways. Towards the end of Chicago PD Season 7, Haley Upton was so out of line during a case that Voight shipped her off to New York to spend some time with the FBI.
This also allowed the two NBC shows, PD and FBI, to crossover. Win-win, right?
The good news is that she’s leaping back into action Chicago PD Season 8, according to photos from the season premiere.
Intelligence will be down one member as Lisseth Chavez will not be returning as Vanessa Rojas. Chavez is leaving the show after one season. The actress will be the newest recruit of the Waveride on The CW's Legends of Tomorrow as the series regular role of alien expert Esperanza “Spooner” Cruz.
It’s unclear if the series will explain her departure, if Atwater will ever get a love interest, or if she’ll be replaced with a new team member when the time comes.
The Season Will Be Shortened
Blame it on COVID! Chicago PD (along with sister shows Chicago Med and Chicago Fire) will each have 15 episodes for their upcoming seasons.
Seasons typically consist of 22 or 23 episodes, however, all three shows were forced to wrap up their most recent seasons earlier than planned due to quarantine measures to prevent the spread of the virus. Chicago PD Season 7 clocked in at just 20 episodes.
A Major Character Will Reportedly Be Killed Off
Apparently, losing Antonio and Olinsky wasn’t enough! TVFanatic reported that the series is set to kill off a main character when Chicago PD Season 8 resumes. Due to Chicago PD Season 7 getting cut short, some of the big storylines planned for the original finale are getting carried over into the upcoming season.
Chicago PD showrunner Rick Eid explained to TVLine that the death of “someone we know” will likely be nestled into the early episodes of the season.
Unfortunately, we don't know whether it is a recurring player getting the death edit or one of the more permanent cast members.
Who do you think it is?
Where Is the Love?
The season won’t be all police reform and COVID focused. We can’t forget about the potential for romance!
Sparks have been flying between Upton and Halstead, and while some fans aren’t into the pairing, many want to see them finally act on those feelings. Let’s hope she likes mustaches!
There’s also the potential of Burgess and Ruzek, who have established a strong bond following their devastating miscarriage.
"It's become an emotional impediment to their relationship," Eid says. "They have an unbreakable bond, but are they better off as friends?" We can’t wait to find out!
Chicago PD returns to NBC as part of the One Chicago lineup on Wednesday, November 11.
Let us know what you're most excited about!
Lizzy Buczak was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in June 2021..