Nov 19,2014

Media Buzz: Will Amaro and Rollins affair last?

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I still can’t believe Amaro and Rollins are having an affair on SVU. How much longer will they be able to keep this up? — Rita
There may be trouble in paradise on Wednesday’s episode, which finds the team investigating a ripped-from-the-headlines case about a former football player who is caught abusing his ex-girlfriend on camera. “Some of [those] issues are echoed in the Rollins-Amaro relationship,” executive producer Warren Leight says. “The way they react to this case tells us a lot about how far their relationship can go. It’s pretty combustible what happens in that episode. Tempers flare.” Yikes!

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Nov 11,2014

Mega Buzz: Sexual Tension With Two Squads

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I can’t wait for the SVU-Chicago P.D. crossover! How will the two police teams get along? — Sarah
SVU showrunner Warren Leight says there will definitely be some sexual tension when the two squads join forces. “Lindsay and Halstead have this unrequited crush on each other, and you have Rollins and Amaro with a down-low affair going on,” he says. “There’s a moment or two when it seems like one group notices something about the other. We tease a little bit with that.” Leight also says that going to Chicago will bring out a new side to the characters, particularly Amaro. “[He is] much more physical than he gets to be on our show,” he adds.

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Nov 11,2014

Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on SVU

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Question: Do you have any scoop on Law & Order: SVU? —Giselle
Ausiello:
This week’s Chicago Fire/Chicago P.D./SVU crossover stunt will feature some entertaining first meetings, none more so than Wednesday’s inaugural collaboration between P.D.‘s Voight and SVU‘s Benson. Chicago Fire and P.D. executive producer Matt Olmstead calls the duo’s “by turns adversarial and collegial” dynamic “the most impactful pairing” of the three-episode event, adding, “It was like a long-awaited title fight between two undefeated champions.” Adds SVU EP Warren Leight: “The moment Benson confronts Voight about his interrogation ‘techniques’ is one of my favorites. They go right at each other.” (BTW, Part 1 starts tonight on Fire, and leads into Wednesday’s P.D./SVU episodes.)

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Nov 11,2014

Chicago Fire, SVU and Chicago P.D. Join Forces for “Disturbing” Three-Part Crossover Event

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For Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D., crossovers are old hat. The two Dick Wolf-produced series share story lines, characters and even the same neighborhood watering hole on a nearly weekly basis. But when Law & Order: SVU executive producer Warren Leight got the call from Wolf about a possible three-part event, he was resistant.

“I thought, ‘Oh man, don’t do this,'” Leight tells TVGuide.com, “because logistically it’s a nightmare.”

Although Wolf’s vast library of shows — most notably Law & Order and its four spin-offs — have crossed over extensively, this marks the first three-part event. “I knew it was going to be ambitious but, like in any endeavor, sometimes the ones that give you the butterflies turn out to be the best ones because you’re pushed to where you didn’t think you’d have to go,” Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. executive producer Matt Olmstead says.

The case begins on Chicago Fire (Tuesday, 10/9c) when the team battles a house fire and Severide (Taylor Kinney) sees a man run into the burning building to get a mysterious box. The box appears to contain child pornography, and P.D.’s Voight (Jason Beghe) and Lindsay (Sophia Bush) are called in to investigate. “The original case was much less disturbing and I said, ‘On no planet would New York SVU fly to Chicago for what could be possibly statutory rape or endangering the welfare of a child,” Leight says. “If you’re going to cross these shows over, it has to be an exceptionally disturbing crime. In reality, there are kids being sex-trafficked in America, being forced to perform in videos, and those videos are streamed live and they’re basically being assaulted for the enjoyment of people watching on computers.”

Because the photos appear to have been taken in New York, Lindsay puts in a call to SVU’s Rollins (Kelli Giddish). “It becomes just trying to figure out what the ring is,” Olmstead says, “what this pornography ring is and how extensive it is and how long-standing it is and how effective — unfortunately, it’s been over the course of 10, 15 years.”

Lindsay, Voight and Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) subsequently fly out to New York on Wednesday’s episode of SVU (9/8c) to lend a hand. However, Lindsay has an ulterior motive: finding her estranged half-brother (Lou Taylor Pucci), “a drug-addled wreck,” according to Leight, whom she recognizes in one of the pictures. “It really knocks her sideways,” Olmstead says of Lindsay’s personal connection to the case. “She admits that she’s just trying to keep her head on straight because she has so many competing emotions while trying to be objective and do her job. … There’s some hard-earned advice that Benson is able to impart to Lindsay.”

The same can’t be said for Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Voight, who get off to a more acrimonious start. “Voight basically barges into an interrogation in New York and gets a little physical,” Leight says. “Olivia comes in after him and says, ‘You pull that crap again, and I’ll put you in jail.'”

Although both showrunners were eager to pair Voight and Benson together onscreen — “If you’re doing Justice League of America, you want to see Superman and Batman in a scene,” Leight says — their contrasting styles made him wary. “They tell stories very differently than we do and uncover clues differently than we do,” he says. “Even the way the two casts dress could not be more different. New York detectives are in suits and ties and try to look sharp, and those guys, because of the division they’re in, there’s a lot of t-shirts over there.”

Fortunately, their differences made for great TV. “Sometimes, it’s a question of: You can get information quickly by terrorizing people but do you get accurate information? And is that information going to uphold in court? So we wrote right to that,” Leight says.

Despite their initial tension, Voight will come to view Benson as a rare equal. “More than anybody he’s ever encountered, I think he respects this person because it’s almost like a female version of Voight,” Olmstead says. “When the case is starting to go south on the Chicago side and she calls to check in and says, ‘What do you need?’ he says, ‘I need your help.’ And he would never admit that to anybody. He’s being vulnerable. And her response is, ‘I’ll get on the next flight out.’ So, they just have an affinity towards each other.”

Benson also brings Rollins and Amaro (Danny Pino) along to help Voight’s unit on Chicago P.D. (Wednesday, 10/9c). “There’s a bit of a ticking clock on him. Because of the fact that it is a higher profile case and Lindsay did know one of the victims in one of the crimes, it’s determined that maybe Intelligence is a little bit too close to the case,” Olmstead says. “They’re told that they’re going to have basically one more shift and then somebody with some fresh eyes is going to take it.”
The two teams are also brought together by tragedy when a witness in the case and the uniformed Chicago police officer protecting the witness are both killed. “Even though they just landed and they’re not from Chicago, blue is blue, and they feel the loss of a cop in this district,” Olmstead says. “It’s one of the things that was surprising in the writing stages and the filming of it, which is they were just immediately absorbed into this team and this family. It really shows on screen.”

Olmstead says that warmth was present behind the scenes as well. “One thing that I didn’t really expect was the camaraderie with the actors,” he says. “You never saw actors standing by themselves, waiting for their line. They were always in groups. They hung out as a group after they filmed. There was a lot of travel and working weekends, but the feedback I got from everybody was what a special event it was for them just as actors. I know that when we do it again — and I’m sure that we’ll do it at some point down the road — it will not be a hard sell.”

As long as “there’s a case that sustains it,” Leight says he is also on board, but with one caveat: “Maybe next time when they come to New York, they’ll dress a little better.”

Chicago Fire airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on NBC. The crossover continues on Law & Order: SVU (Wednesday, 9/8c) and concludes on Chicago P.D. (Wednesday, 10/9c).

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Nov 11,2014

Will Chicago Fire/P.D./SVU Crossover Bring Romance for the Detectives?

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One unexpected consequence of NBC’s big Chicago Fire/Chicago P.D./Law & Order: SVU crossover event this week: a whole lot of exes and would-be flames are mixing.

For starters, P.D. detectives Lindsay and Halstead, who have been simmering since the series premiered, are headed to SVU together on Wednesday at 9/8c. Could New York City bring some long-awaited love for the pair? Executive producer Matt Olmstead warns of “further slow burning,” since both characters value their job and do not want to risk the wrath of Voight, who has a “no dating” policy among his squad members.

“It’s tested a little bit, as you might imagine, because they’re out of town,” Olmstead adds. “But there’s no crossing the line — yet — for those two.”

If someone’s feeling a little lonely, there’s always Severide, whom Lindsay runs into at the end of the Chicago Fire hour (Tuesday, 10/9c). Despite their recent break-up, the encounter is an “amicable” one.

“It’s not like when Severide crosses with her, he’s rolling his eyes like, ‘Oh crap, I’ve got to deal with my ex-girlfriend,’” the EP says. “She’s perfectly agreeable — ‘Good seeing you’ — and she’s got her own thing going on. So it’s an interesting cross, but it’s not one that’s fraught with disappointment and betrayal, because who knows down the line if they’re going to pick it back up again?”

But the most dynamic duo may be P.D.‘s Hank Voight and SVU‘s Olivia Benson, who have a clash-of-the-titans moment on the former’s show (Wednesday, 10/9c).

Chicago P.D. – Season 2“It was fine when they were in New York,” SVU executive producer Warren Leight says with a laugh. “They have two very different approaches to interrogations. The two shows have different approaches to police procedure. I think we all know Voight can be a little more physical, and Olivia is, in general, a more empathetic detective. Those kind of fireworks take place in both episodes,” he says, leading to some of “the most fun scenes” in the installments.

Although Voight and Benson butt heads, they also come at each other from a place of high regard. “There’s not a lot of people who can go toe-to-toe with [Voight],” Olmstead explains. “So here comes this equal, who he respects [and] is formidable. He knows he can’t run a game on her. Even though they have different policing styles, there’s a mutual respect. They’re both coming from the same place. They both want to protect their city though they may have different tactics going about it. They do lock horns, and they do so equally. But then when it’s over, it’s over.”

The connection between the two carries over when Benson arrives on P.D. in the middle of a grim investigation. “When Voight sees her, there’s a smile on his face,” Olmstead previews. “He’s happy to see her. Because there’s this immediate chemistry, immediate tug [and] shared affection between two very similar characters, ironically, though they may have different backgrounds and different approaches.”

Could that attachment lead to something more than just professional admiration? When Olmstead told star Jason Beghe there was a private moment coming up between Voight and Benson, the actor replied, “‘Don’t say another word! I know exactly how to play it!’” the EP recalls. “So who knows what else… he feels about the Benson character? But there’s a real bond right away between those two characters.”

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Nov 10,2014

NBC dramas ‘Chicago Fire,’ ‘Chicago PD’ and ‘SVU’ interlock episodes

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Two of TV’s toughest cops will team up — and face off — during a three-show November sweeps crossover starting Tuesday night on NBC.

Brutish “Chicago PD” detective Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) and by-the-book “Law & Order: SVU” sergeant Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) will join forces to bring down a child pornography ring.

“They both immediately recognize that the other person is a formidable personality,” says “PD” and “Fire” executive producer Matt Olmstead. “They can stand up to each other without worrying that the other person’s going to get their feelings hurt or is gonna curl up in the fetal position.”

“SVU” executive producer Warren Leight tells The Post the matchup is crossover gold.

“I love the idea of Mariska — of Olivia — in Chicago. I remember when I was a kid the Justice League of America comic books where all the superheroes would get together,” Leight says. “You wanted to see Superman and Batman team up.”

The case begins on “Chicago Fire” at 10 p.m. Tuesday when a blaze leads to the discovery of a child pornography ring, which brings “PD” detectives Hank Voight and Erin Lindsay (Sophia Bush) to that show.

The detectives uncover a New York connection, and the investigation continues at 9 p.m. Wednesday on “Law & Order: SVU,” when Voight, Lindsay and Det. Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) travel to Benson’s special victims unit in NYC.

Benson, Det. Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) and Det. Nick Amaro (Danny Pino) then journey to Chicago for the plot’s conclusion at 10 p.m. Wednesday on “PD.”

A key “SVU” scene has Voight barging into that show’s interrogation room, where Leight says Voight “gets a little chesty” with a suspect — as he often does on “PD.” It leads to a heated confrontation between Voight and Benson.

“I’m trying to turn their interrogation room into the ‘cage,’” Beghe tells The Post, referencing the dank chain link enclosure on “PD” (where Voight and others beat criminals to extract information). “I think a lot this crossover is taking a look at the question of what’s the right thing to do.”

Crossovers aren’t unusual, especially for Dick Wolf, creator of the “Law & Order” and “Chicago Fire/PD” franchises. “PD” is a spinoff of “Fire” and the shows have cross-pollinated several times.

But a “PD”-SVU” arc is trickier. While both shows are police procedurals, their tones couldn’t be farther apart, Beghe says.

“We’re more likely to pull a gun, shoot a guy, kick a guy’s ass, get our hands dirty,” Beghe explains. “‘SVU’ is more the cerebral side of police work.”

The show runners say it’s important to recognize those differences in order to maintain each show’s continuity and their characters’ integrity.

“We entrusted our characters to ‘SVU’ and Warren, and he did the same to us,” Olmstead adds. “We knew that, of course, there could be inconsistencies and things we then had to feather through.”

Warren mentions two initial crossover plot points — both now cut — that raised concerns for him.

He says the “PD” writers originally wanted Rollins to “hook up” with one of the detectives on that show, despite the fact that she is dating Pino’s Amaro on “SVU.” The script also called for Amaro to shoot someone in Chicago — which would be a problem since he’s still dealing with repercussions from shooting an unarmed teen on “SVU” last season.

“I was, like, ‘He can’t shoot anyone and she can’t sleep with anyone,’” he says, adding with a laugh, “I felt like a dad!”

The actors still got to mix things up, though.

Pino says he had a blast doing action scenes while he was filming in Chicago for five days last month.

“It’s fun to live and swim in those waters that are opposite to what we normally do,” says Pino, whose brother is a homicide detective in Miami. “The first day in Chicago was a chase sequence — jumping over fences, a barricade, a roof. It was like being shot out of a cannon.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Beghe jokes that he felt a twinge of jealousy visiting the “SVU” set at Chelsea Piers, on the Hudson River.

“Goddammit, Benson has a much nicer office and a better view than I do!” he says.

But filming also carried an emotional punch when the “PD” script called for a Chicago officer to die in the line of duty. A large funeral scene brought the “PD” and “SVU” casts together with about 150 real-life Chicago cops as extras.

“There were a lot of tears. It was a really moving experience,” Beghe says. “I hope at least a fraction of it is translated onto the screen.”

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