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Winds of Change

Some big moves are in store for the three Chicago series

This season, Chicago means change.

Whether actors and characters are coming or going or both, each of executive producer Dick Wolf’s Wednesday-night One Chicago dramas is expected to have cast alterations during their new seasons.

Chicago Med — which bade farewell to founding co-stars Brian Tee and Nick Gehlfuss last year — leads the night with the start of its ninth season, which will welcome Luke Mitchell (Blindspot) as a doctor with a link to Gaffney Chicago Medical Center’s psychiatric chief, Daniel Charles (Oliver Platt).


Then, Chicago Fire is slated to say goodbye to Blake Gallo (Alberto Rosende) in its season 12 opener, but Lt. Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney, who took a leave of absence) is scheduled to return — and there’s the matter of the marriage proposal Matt Casey (Jesse Spencer) made to paramedic Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer, who has announced her intention to leave the show either during or just after the new season).

Finally, Chicago P.D. is expected to lose Det. Hailey Upton in the course of its upcoming season 11, amid her marital woes with the now-absent Jay Halstead (former cast regular Jesse Lee Soffer), since actress Tracy Spiridakos is planning to leave that show. However, Jason Beghe — alias the series’ intelligence-squad leader, Hank Voight — says he’ll believe her exit when he sees it, an approach he always likes to maintain for himself, no matter what has been reported by others.


“I know some stuff has leaked out, but I don’t believe everything I read,” Beghe says with his distinctive rasp. “There may be discussions about one thing or the other, but as both Jason and as Voight, I don’t take for granted that something is a fact. Things change. Right now, I love working with Tracy, and Voight appreciates working with Upton. I’m in that moment, and if something happens, we’ll have to deal with that then.”

Beghe notes that the first new Chicago P.D. story focuses “a lot” on Upton: “Voight is keeping an eye on her, given what’s been going on with her and Halstead. He feels he needs to be there for her, even though she’s like, ‘I’m fine.’ I hope it comes off as sweet and even heart-wrenching in a way. In the story, she has to follow this new kind of crisis-response team, and some bad things happen.”


The self-styled, no-nonsense Voight is known for some bad things himself, given how he has conducted himself on the job in certain instances — making him the subject of internal investigations on more than one occasion — but Beghe is proud that there’s never a doubt that the character has the backs of his team members. “I think those are the closest relationships he has,” the actor assesses. “It’s similar to what parents experience with their children. He’d jump in front of a train for them.”


David Eigenberg, the Sex and the City alum who plays Chicago Fire’s Christopher Herrmann, is ready for a time of rebuilding after a highly emotional 11th season, in which Herrmann’s wife Cindy (Robyn Coffin) had a cancer battle that taxed the couple and their five children. Eigenberg has seen his share of cast changes since Chicago Fire began. Besides Spencer, Lauren German, Monica Raymund, Charlie Barnett and Steven R. McQueen have been among performers who had significant stays at Firehouse 51.


“I’ve been doing this a long time, and when changes occur, it’s hard,” Eigenberg reflects. “We’re all carnies, though, and you want to just grab a bag and hop on a train going northeast. We all move on, but you never say goodbye in this industry, because you just never know. I’ve bumped into people 30 or 40 years after I worked with them, and there’s a kindred spirit among us. Paul McCrane [ER] is coming back to direct on the show, and 35 years ago, we did a play on Broadway together.

“You have to be ready to roll with whatever changes come,” reasons Eigenberg. “It bangs you around, but it’s the nature of the beast, and it ties into the nature of the show. There are changes in firehouses and in lives.”


Budget considerations have each of the Chicago regulars appearing in only a certain number of episodes for the new season. In Eigenberg’s view, that’s not such a huge on-camera change, since characters always have been featured more in some episodes than in others — but he acknowledges a related difference behind the scenes because “you’re not around physically to be amongst the ‘family’ ” when not working. He adds, “Sometimes, you go, ‘I haven’t been at work a lot.’ And I miss that. It’s not about screen time; I just want to be with people I care about.”

Chicago Med airs Wednesday, January 17, on City & NBC

Chicago Fire airs Wednesday, January 17, on City & NBC

Chicago P.D. airs Wednesday, January 17, on City & NBC

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