Will Chicago PD season 9 continue Hank Voight’s evolution? The One Chicago drama returns to NBC this week (Wednesday at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on NBC) after Voight was pushed to his limits to save one of his own. He’s also had to adapt to a new kind of policing and found a new ally in Deputy Superintendent Samantha Miller (recurring guest star Nicole Ari Parker).
So how does Voight put all those pieces together and move forward? Is the new season going to continue to shift his character as the law enforcement world continues to change? And will he ever get a personal life? Jason Beghe discussed all those things and more with Crime-TV.com ahead of the Chicago PD season 9 premiere.
Crime-TV.com (Brittany Frederick): Voight changed a bit in Chicago PD season 8 as he adapted to the new normal for policing. Does he feel like a different character as you’re playing him?
Jason Beghe: We have differences and similarities, and as I evolve so does he. My favorite quote is probably, “I paint the picture to find out what it looks like.” He’s in the moment and he’s just experiencing new and different moments. It’s always fun for me to create and discover who he is becoming.
BF: He’s been mentoring most of the Intelligence Unit for the better part of a decade. How does he look at them now? Because these are now veteran officers themselves.
JB: They are my team and my family. Things come up in life, but the heart is constant, so he’s impressed with their progress and he loves them and he’s dedicated to them, totally invested in them.
BF: Chicago PD fans enjoyed Samantha Miller coming into Voight’s orbit last season and becoming an ally for him. Will that relationship continue into season 9?
JB: In the last episode of last season there were a lot of loose ends, including some very difficult stuff for Miller, obviously, her son being murdered and all that. We definitely are going to tie up the loose ends as best we can going forward.
BF: There were some viewers even pulling for a romantic relationship between them. But we’ve never seen much of Voight’s personal life on the show. Would you like to explore that at some point, or are you content with him being enigmatic in that respect?
JB: The way I’ve always looked at it is, Voight is still in love with Camille, his dead wife. I don’t see him as lonely. I don’t know if I’d say he’s happy, but he’s present and he’s very deeply engaged in what he’s doing when he’s doing it, so he’s not sitting around wondering about what he’s going to do tonight or whether or not he’ll be alone. His life is policing. That’s really what he eats, sleeps, and drinks.
BF: Having played him for this long, is there anything that you still want to know about him?
JB: One question I asked myself recently, and I actually asked it of all the characters, an interesting thing to investigate is, what is your core fear? That’s a good question to ask yourself anyway. Because I imagine whatever that is, whether you’re aware of it or not consciously, it’s going to affect how you behave and think.
BF: Hank Voight is really ingrained in Chicago PD. The show was built around him and he’s still very much the core of it. How much are you recognized for playing him now?
JB: Well, yesterday the FedEx guy came and rang the bell and freaked and said, “Oh my God, Bates from Californication,” so everybody’s got their own taste and what strikes a chord with them. In the same way as Voight, I don’t really go out much. I’ve got my son that, I focus a lot on him. He’s living with me. And people don’t really tell me what’s on their mind about that. Obviously a lot of people in Chicago particularly get excited that I play Hank Voight. But whether or not I’m synonymous with him, I don’t know.
Brittany Frederick has worked 20 years as a professional journalist, reaching millions of readers worldwide with thousands of articles. Her one goal is to meet Jonathan Groff, but she’s sung with Adam Levine and gone 200 MPH with Mario Andretti. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @tvbrittanyf.