Chicago PD EP teases “Influence” on Atwater, exhibiting Voight’s battle towards police reform in season 8

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Chicago PD Intelligence is facing a big change: the season eight of the NBC drama premieres this Wednesday (9/10) will launch a police reform initiative – but not everyone adapts to it with a can-do attitude.

At the same time, Atwater’s plot will take center stage as he will receive “a heavy sentence” for facing off against Doyle’s supporters, aka the Blue Wall, showrunner Rick Eid previews in the email Q&A below.

Eid also discusses how the real Black Lives Matter movement has informed the coming season and how the show will approach its final cast departure with Vanessa Rojas’ departure from Lisseth Chavez.

TVLINE | How will the pandemic be incorporated into the new season’s storylines as a first responder show? And are any characters personally affected?
COVID definitely exists in our Chicago alternate PD reality … but we don’t emphasize it or make it an integral part of our storylines. At least not now.

TVLINE | How will the Black Lives Matter movement be reflected in the stories you tell over the next season, particularly with police reform and Atwater?
Atwater has always advocated racial equality. His decision in last year’s finale to take on the Blue Wall and call a racist police officer will definitely have an impact in season eight.

TVLINE | Voight seems to me the kind of cop who is very used to his ways and methods. So how will he react to the police reform movement led by Nicole Ari Parker’s character?
We are very happy about Nicole’s character. She will be the face of police reform and demand that Voight and his team play by new, more modern rules. The world is changing. This means that intelligence has to change too. As you can imagine, this will not be easy for Voight. He’s used to doing things his own way.

TVLINE | After leaving the events of the finale behind and going down in police reform history, Atwater seems ready for a big journey. Given the standoff with Doyle’s pals, what is he expected to do next season?
Atwater’s plot will take center stage in the first two episodes. Doyle’s friends haven’t forgotten what Atwater did. The Blue Wall is inviolable for them. In her mind, Atwater has crossed a line and has to pay a fine – a heavy one.

TVLINE | Has the Black Lives Matter / Police Reform movement changed the story you originally got with the Atwater vs. Wanted to tell Doyle?
It didn’t change the plot, but it definitely made it more topical. We have been dealing with complicated racial issues for some time. So we really only pick up where we left off. But the BLM movement certainly helps to contextualize and inform these storylines and issues.

TVLINE | How will the Rojas exit be approached?
It’s always difficult to say goodbye to a character. We tried to address it in the premiere but it felt compelled. In other words, we’re still working on it.

TVLINE | At the end of last season, you told TVLine that someone we know was going to be murdered in the original, unproduced finale and that’s being postponed in episode 4 or 5 of season 8. Is that still the plan?
Things have changed. That is no longer the plan.

Chicago PD fans, what are you looking forward to the most in Season 8? Hit the comments! And stay tuned to TVLine for more PD information.

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