After her near-death experience of being shot and left for dead on Chicago P.D., Kim Burgess (Marina Squerciati) had a tough road to recovery, suffering from PTSD, especially when she heard loud noises and gun fire, which left her cowering in fear and sent her into therapy. But in Season 11, we see a much recovered Kim rush toward danger when there’s a drive-by shooting on tonight’s “Safe Harbor” episode.
“Every season, before we start, I like to call showrunner Gwen Sigan, and be like, ‘What are you thinking for Kim this season?’ And she gives you not everything that’s going to happen, but at least a broad overall,” Squerciati tells Parade on a Zoom interview. “[This year she said], ‘We’d like Kim to really step into her power this season.’ She’s gotten over her PTSD, she knows what she wants, she wants to be strong on the job, and I feel like that’s what she’s doing. She knows what she wants and is going for it. What a great metaphor, running towards the bullets.”
The drive-by shooting takes place while Burgess is working an extra shift at the 13th District, which is housing Venezuelan immigrants because Chicago is a sanctuary city. At first it looks like a hate crime because the attack is on the refugees, but something about it doesn’t sit right with Kim and she brings it to Voight’s (Jason Beghe) attention. He agrees to let her run with it and the team works together to track down the shooter and uncover the true motive behind the attack.
This doesn’t sit well with some of the cops at the 13th District, who just want to move on and chalk it up to a hate crime, but Kim persists.
“What I love about the Dick Wolf shows is that the cops are not all good and the criminals are not always all bad, and that there is just a complicated mix of black and white—there’s this gray,” Squerciati says. “I think that there’s a moment where she’s tested because it’s hard to go against that blue wall, it’s really hard. Not a lot of people have the strength to do it, and those who do might lose their jobs or get shunned or not be able to work as a cop. So, I think, yeah, when she gets to that moment, I think she relies on her power for sure. Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins) is the one who went there first. He was the bravest among us, he went full force. That takes a lot of guts. It’s a new Burgess.”
But even as she says it’s a new Burgess, the reason for her wanting to get to the real motive and the reason she took an extra shift at the 13th in the first place is Kim’s empathy for the immigrants. As a child, she had a nanny who didn’t speak a word of English, and for 14 years, they shared a bedroom, sleeping in trundle beds.
“She’s a part of my life, I call her ‘Mami,’” Squerciati continues. “Kim feels a connection through her nanny, who was a real mother figure to her, who she learned Spanish from, and so she’s connected to this culture that’s not her culture and she knows that, but if she can help [these Venezuelan immigrants] by speaking Spanish fluently and maybe understanding a bit more of the culture because of the influence that her nanny had on her, she [wants to help.]"
Chicago P.D. airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.