It’s a triple crossover on NBC this week when a case begins on “Chicago Fire,” moves to “Law & Order: SVU” and wraps up on “Chicago P.D.” It all begins on Tuesday night when a house fire turns up suspicious evidence that requires the police to investigate, so Lt. Severide (Taylor Kinney) brings in Sergeant Hank Voight (guest star Jason Beghe, “Chicago P.D.”) and Detective Erin Lindsay (guest star Sophia Bush, “Chicago P.D.”) into the mix for further investigating.
Then on Wednesday night, Sergeant Voight and Detectives Lindsay and Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) track a child pornography victim to his last-known whereabouts in New York City, where Sergeant Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and the SVU squad get a new lead — evidence of a live-streamed pornography “club” that caters to its subscriber’s shocking requests. When Lindsay discovers someone from her past is involved, she hopes it will help lead them to the site’s ringleader, but tensions between Voight and Benson could threaten the case.
The final part of the crossover event finds our intelligence unit joined by detectives from New York’s special victims unit to help solve the pedophile ring case. Adam Ruzek (Patrick Flueger) and Det. Amaro (guest star Danny Pino), along with Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) and Antonio Dawson (Jon Seda), continue to hunt for the link to foster care and child trafficking.
“Chicago Fire” and “Chicago P.D.” showrunner Matt Omstead and “Law & Order: SVU” showrunner Warren Leight chatted with reporters in a conference to tease the special event. Here is what they had to say:
Can you talk about the genesis for the crossover? Where the idea came from and whether or not you were enthusiastic about it from the beginning?
Warren Leight: It came from Dick Wolf. Dick sees the long game and he knows it will be good for all three shows. I think my first reaction was anxiety. I know the fans will like it. I just know how much extra work is involved. And there is a certain amount of letting go, which is exactly what show runners don’t do in terms of letting your characters go to another set and not having as much say in what happens to them as you are used to having.
And also, legitimately, I think “PD” and “SVU” are very different kinds of police shows, and I wasn’t sure how the cross pollination would work. Anxiety mounts until you actually have to do the work and then there was a such a burst of energy from Beghe, Sophia and Jesse coming here. It seemed more natural once shooting began. I understood the reasons for doing it but I had anxiety going into it.
For the crossover, how did the writing teams write?
Warren Leight: Each show’s team wrote each show’s episode. But Matt and I were on the phone in the initial plotting stages. One of our writers, Ed Zuckerman, who is the teleplay writer of the “SVU” part of the crossover, went out to L.A. for a few days. And there is back and forth. It is very scary for showrunners. Show runners are all about control. It is very scary for a showrunner to let somebody else write their character’s lines. So we checked in with each other. If there was something I felt was a little wrong for one of our characters in the “P.D.” part, I politely made my opinions known and vice versa, I would say.
Matt Olmstead: Yes, and we had a brief run through last season when we were able to get some of the “SVU” actors over to “Chicago P.D.” for a little one-way crossover. It was actually pretty exhilarating to be able to write for new characters. And so we wrote for the Fin (Ice-T) character and the Rollins (Kelli Giddish) character and, of course, we sent the script to Warren to check it out. When I read the “SVU” script of our characters, it sounded very true and there really weren’t any notes.
There are hints that there might be some fireworks between Voight and Benson. What can you tell us about what their interaction is going to be?
Warren Leight: You know, it was fine when they were in New York, Matt.
Matt Olmstead: And they went to shit in Chicago, didn’t it? Oh, boy. What are you going to do?
Warren Leight: Okay. Well, it depends on what kind of fireworks you mean. There are two kinds of fireworks, I think, that we could be talking about here. They have two very different approaches to interrogation; right? The two shows have different approaches. The police procedure and, I think, we all know Voight can be a little more physical and Olivia is, in general, a more empathic detective. And that is two different schools of how you work in interrogation. And those fireworks take place in both episodes. I think they are among the most fun scenes in both “P.D.” and “SVU.”
And then the question is at the end of the day, at the end of the case is: Do these two probably have more in common than any of the other people in their squadron?
Matt Olmstead: I totally agree. It is interesting talking to Jason Beghe about it because the chemistry and the dynamic of the two characters in both shows was reinforced by how the two actors felt about each other, which is in terms of Voight is he rolls over most people. There are not a lot of people who can go toe to toe with him. So here comes this equal whom he respects, who is formidable, and he knows he can’t run a game on her. And even though they have different policing styles, there is a mutual respect. They are both coming from the same place. They both want to protect their cities so they may have different tactics going about it.
There seems to be a slow burn going on between Halstead and Lindsey on “Chicago P.D.” And given that they are traveling to NYC together during the crossover, what can we expect on the Lindstead front?
Matt Olmstead: Further slow burning, because as it has been made clear to them by Voight, he doesn’t tolerate in-house romances, so they are holding true to that. It is tested a little bit, as you might imagine, because they are out of time, but there is no crossing the line yet for those two.