‘Chicago P.D.’: Marina Squerciati On How Art Imitates Life; That Surprise Proposal & Saying Goodbye To Tracy Spiridakos

SPOILER ALERT: The following story reveals major plot points from tonight’s episode of Chicago P.D. titled, “Safe Harbour.”

Officer Kim Burgess (Marina Squerciati) had her work cut out for her in tonight’s episode of NBC’s Chicago P.D. As the only Spanish speaker available to take on a case involving a murdered Venezuelan refugee, Burgess is all in but soon discovers a potential suspect is closer than she realizes.

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Although the episode could’ve done a much better job in handling the controversial conversation around immigration—take a drink every time they use the word “illegal”—Burgess captivates in those moments where, instead of judging her fellow humanss, she goes into action while being sensitive to the plight of the refugees using humanity as her preferred weapon.

“Safe Harbour” opens with the slaying of a Venezuelan refugee who was shot to death in a drive-by shooting by an unknown assassin. Officer Danny Alvarado (EJ Bonilla) immediately makes himself available and offers his assistance to Burgess and Voight (Jason Beghe), who accepts.

Burgess and Alvarado collaborate and are in pursuit of the shooter leading them to a junkyard. In the end, the assassin is dead thanks to Danny who shoots him to death even though Burgess had the situation under control. What was that all about? wondered Burgess.

Alvarez turns out to be a dirty cop who raped the refugee and left her pregnant and later hired an assassin to get rid of her before she could give birth and prove paternity. He asks Burgess for a few minutes alone with a gun which she declines and proceeds to take him into custody.

The one bright spot is the ending of “Safe Harbour” sets up Burgess and Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger) to get engaged—again. But this time, everything is different. The couple has cheated death in other seasons but they’ve survived and used those moments to grow as individuals.

Squerciati spoke to Deadline about the intense episode and the low-key proposal, as well as how similarly to her character, she is fluent in Spanish and volunteers her time helping immigrants. Oh, and Squerciati also talks about the dreaded moment she will have to say goodbye to longtime co-star Tracy Spiridakos.

DEADLINE: Before we discuss the big engagement, why was this episode so depressing?

MARINA SQUERCIATI: This is Chicago P.D., you know that, right?

DEADLINE: Yes, I watch the show. It’s a difficult topic for the Latino community and it was nice to see Burgess humanizing the refugees. What can you share about your experience shooting this episode, especially about such a controversial topic?

SQUERCIATI: I don’t think it’s controversial; there’s a migrant crisis and we need to help. I’m involved with some charities where I do a lot of hands-on work. We’re in Chicago where there’s a big migrant crisis. I live by a shelter where I go and offer help and let them know I speak Spanish. What do you guys need? I’ve taken a lot of the kids out on playdates or I’ve taken them out. There’s a lot that people can do like donating food and coats, because a lot of the kids and adults come without coats. Since I speak Spanish fluently, I’m able to give in a grassroots way. A couple of days ago, a little boy named Jose turned four so I got him a gift. It honestly was such a great script to show people this crisis and how to help in some way.

DEADLINE: When did you learn Spanish?

SQUERCIATI: I had a single mom who had a lot of jobs including working as a writer that took her away from home often. She hired a woman named Maria Oliva [as my nanny] and she only spoke Spanish while my mom spoke none. I helped them understand each other but it was pretty funny seeing them find ways to communicate. Oliva was just here staying with me for three weeks. She was cooking all my favorite foods and bonding with my kid. She’s 95 years old and I call her Mami; she’s the greatest.

DEADLINE: I wondered the entire episode about Dante (Benjamin Levy Aguilar). Where was he?

SQUERCIATI: Dante is taking care of his mother but he comes back with a vengeance. Jason [Beghe], the leader of our show, doesn’t often give out compliments often. He’s a wonderful man but if he’s going to compliment you, he means it. I heard him go up to Benny and be like, “It was great episode.” So he must have done really well. I haven’t seen it yet and I wasn’t in that episode. So don’t worry, Benny’s back.

DEADLINE: Let’s fast forward to the end when Ruzek proposes to Burgess. It was very lowkey.

SQUERCIATI: That’s so them, right? They have a crazy life. They’ve both been shot and almost died. The team works to find out who shot them. She adopted a child without him and then with him. They’ve been engaged. So there’s no better way to show how much they’ve grown than with a calm, beautiful, no-frills proposal. I would kill someone if they did this to me, but for them it was perfect. It made sense.

DEADLINE: Ruzek is showing how much he’s grown. Would you credit this to him almost losing his life recently?

SQUERCIATI: Almost dying makes you reevaluate your life, which happened to Kim two seasons ago. She’s been through it and worked on herself and now here she is, brighter and stronger for it. I think Adam’s doing the same. They’ve both done the work and here they are, ready to go forward together.

DEADLINE: Do you think we will finally see you two walk down the aisle one day?

SQUERCIATI: I don’t know. She’d be walking down the aisle and like a body would fall on top of her. Or she’d end up chasing after a perp in her wedding dress. I can’t predict what Gwen [Sigan] is gonna do. [Laughs]

DEADLINE: This is a shortened season of Chicago P.D. so I don’t know if there’s enough time to plan a wedding but, lately, there have been One Chicago marriages that have turned out to be departures for one or two of the actors. Are you planning to leave the show?

SQUERCIATI: I am not leaving the show, no. We have some changes coming up but I’m still here.

DEADLINE: Speaking of changes, what’s it like working with your co-star Tracy on her final season?

SQUERCIATI: She knows I’m very mad at her. She told me and I cried. I was telling her, “Tell them you take it back!” We’re going away to Miami soon for a girls’ weekend. We’re planning to not leave the hotel or the pool. She’s an amazing woman and I’m gonna get really sad. She will kill it on whatever her next venture is. She is an amazing actress, amazing woman and amazing friend. I can’t say enough good things about her.

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