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TV and Movies

Chicago P.D.'s Tracy Spiridakos opens up about the Upton/Ruzek romance

The actor talks about the challenges of playing a detective, how she dealt with fan reactions to "Upzek" and why the PlayStation is so important to her.

Matt Dinerstein/NBC/NBCU

For the past seven years, Dick Wolf, executive producer behind the Law & Order franchise, has built another TV empire with Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D. and Chicago Med. They have that familiar Law & Order procedural feel, with more exploring of characters' emotions and relationships. And that combination is key to Chicago P.D. as the sixth season hurtles towards its climax.

In this Wednesday's penultimate episode of the season, Detective Hailey Upton and Officer Adam Ruzek roll up on a crime in progress and find themselves caught in a full-on gun fight. The badass Upton even hood-slides across her car. But its not the flying bullets that have fans on the edge of their seats -- it's the secret romance between Upton and Rezek.

I got to talk by phone with Tracy Spiridakos, who plays the smart and charismatic Det. Upton in the NBC show. The Canadian actress opened up about the challenges of portraying a detective, the pride she feels playing a strong woman who's allowed to be vulnerable, what's going on with Officer Ruzek and how the PlayStation 4 is her go-to device for staying connected with friends and family.

Q: What does it mean for you to play the forthright Hailey?

Spiridakos: It's awesome. It's important to portray all sides of a woman, and what I find appealing about Hailey is yes, she has this unapologetic feature, but she's also very vulnerable and she'll show that. She's a badass, but you'll see her cry. That combination makes her a complete person.

How has playing Hailey pushed you as an actress?
I've learned so much from all of my castmates, just watching how they react to things, their processes and how everyone works. With Hailey, one of my favorite things is her unapologetic nature. She has a very strong moral code. She doesn't care if you like what she has to say or not, she's just going to say it.

How have fans reacted to the surprise Upton/Ruzek romance?
It's been either really positive or really not. There are a lot of fans who were really invested in [Kim] Burges and Ruzek's relationship, and I totally get that. But there are other fans who were excited about Upton and Ruzek. There's no in the middle. Patty [Patrick Flueger], who plays Ruzek, is one of my favorite people on the planet, so it's been really fun getting to work with him on everything.

How are you trained on police protocol and details like carrying a gun, or the way a detective might stand?
We have this amazing human being named Brian Luce, he's our tech advisor on the show and a police officer. He helps us with everything: how we stand, how we hold the gun, how to clear a room. What you're thinking about in an interview, what you're thinking about when you walk into a room. He really helps us get into the headspace and make it authentic.

Now playing: Watch this: PlayStation State of Play event reveals new console and...
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I understand you're a gamer. Are you playing anything right now?
I have a PlayStation 4, and I just finished playing God of War. I'm obsessed with all things God of War, and Uncharted. I love all of the Uncharteds. It's so good.

Are there other ways technology plays a role in your life?
We are all attached to our phones in such a big way. I try to put it down and limit my time on it so I can be more present when I'm sitting down. But I will say the PlayStation has been my favorite tool for connecting, especially with my brothers -- they live in Canada, in Winnipeg. We gear up for the weekend and get a bunch of our friends together. We log on and put our headsets on and do a raid on a Saturday night on Destiny. It's just one of my favorite ways to stay connected. And even if it's just me and one of my brothers, we'll start talking. How's your day going? How are you? What's going on at home? We can get into all that while we go through the different worlds of Destiny.