Chicago P.D. is one of many crime dramas that will address the real-life calls for reform following months of protest over police brutality, but Chicago P.D. arguably has more of an uphill battle than most thanks to Voight and Intelligence. The main characters of the show are cops who cross lines on a regular basis, often following in Voight's footsteps. So, how will P.D. include police reform without changing everything about the show and its characters? Showrunner Rick Eid shared that Voight will actually be key... if he can make some changes.
Miller wants to abolish the 'warrior cop' mentality and help Hank Voight [Jason Beghe] and Intelligence adapt to the new reality. She views Intelligence as integral in this mission. If she can change Voight, the rest of the police force will follow.
Intelligence is known as an especially elite unit on Chicago P.D., so it makes sense that their actions would carry weight with the rest of the force. That said, Rick Eid further shared that Voight will have to figure out whether "he's part of the problem or part of the solution" after facing a hostile community and attention from his bosses. Considering Voight's debut in One Chicago was basically as a villainous corrupt cop who had it out for Chicago Fire's Matt Casey, he has earned his reputation as a "warrior cop," and Miller might have her work cut out for her with him. Could he really change enough to fit with Miller's vision for police reform?
It's worth noting that Voight isn't the only one in Intelligence who crosses lines. Upton all but broke bad in Season 7 to the point that Voight shipped her off to FBI to get her priorities straight, and Halstead agreed to a cover-up for a while, even if the guilt did ultimately get to him and he took a bullet for it. Burgess knows that her former flame killed somebody, and Ruzek has always been inclined to physically go too far with suspects. Atwater is probably the Intelligence cop who sticks closest to the straight and narrow, which could come in handy if the racist cops from the Season 7 finale attempt to discredit him in Season 8.
Of course, Voight and the rest of Intelligence will have even more to deal with on top of police reform. One Chicago is incorporating the COVID-19 pandemic in the new season, and that should force the cops to make some changes, even if the pandemic is less of a game-changer for Chicago P.D. and Chicago Fire than Chicago Med. They'll also be short a member of the team, since Lisseth Chavez won't be back as Vanessa Rojas. Fortunately, Upton will be back to P.D. after her crossover to FBI, so they won't be down by two!
The drama of Season 8 won't all be reform- and COVID-related, though. Sparks are flying between Upton and Halstead, but both know very well the complications of workplace romances. Burgess and Ruzek's dynamic was tense but healing after her devastating miscarriage. Atwater has concerns far larger than a workplace romance. Basically, Chicago P.D. fans may be in for an intense start to the eighth season.
One Chicago returns to NBC on Wednesday, November 11 starting with Chicago Med Season 6 at 8 p.m. ET, Chicago Fire Season 9 at 9 p.m. ET, and Chicago P.D. Season 8 at 10 p.m. ET in the 2020 fall TV premiere lineup.