What happens when you throw together two detectives with strong personalities who are used to doing things their own way? Fireworks of course! Whether that’s a good or bad thing for Olivia Benson and Hank Voight remains to be seen as the three-show, NBC crossover event continues Wednesday night on Law & Order:SVU and Chicago PD.
Detective Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Sergeant Voight (Jason Beghe) are forced to work together as their teams unite to stop a child pornography ring stretching from New York City to Chicago. Look for these two characters to initially clash over work styles and technique. “They have two very different approaches to interrogation. 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 empathic detective. It’s two different schools of how you work an interrogation,” explained SVU executive producer Warren Leight on a conference call with himself and Chicago Fire/PD showrunner Matt Olmstead.
Before we go and get too worried about things between the two detectives growing heated, Leight promises these moments are “the most fun scenes in both PD and SVU.” Leight also teased that the tension and differences in work styles will raise an interesting question: whether Benson and Voight, “at the end of the day, at the end of the case, do these two probably have more in common than a lot of the other people in their squad room?”
Benson may be the first person that Voight truly can see as an equal. As Olmstead explained, “In terms of Voight, he rolls over most people, there’s not a lot of people that can go toe-to-toe with him. So here comes this equal, whom he respects, is formidable. He knows he can’t run a game on her, and even though they have different policing styles, there’s a mutual respect.”
It is a respect that comes from the fact that when all is said and done, these are two very similar characters. “They are both coming from the same place. They both want to protect their cities, though they may have different tactics going about it. They do lock horns. They do so equally, but then when it’s over, it’s over,” said Olmstead.
Might this respect and admiration prove to extend beyond the job? That remains to be seen, but Olmstead was quick to point out the fact that, “on the PD side, when the Benson character shows up for the first time, in the midst of a pretty grim investigation, with grim details, when Voight sees her, there’s a smile on his face. He’s happy to see her.”
Fans should look for a private moment between the two characters, along with that mutual respect and admiration, to maybe turn into something more, particularly for Voight. Olmstead recalled a conversation between himself and Beghe about that very thing, “What’s funny is there’s a point where I was talking to Jason and he was asking me, ‘Does Voight ever have a love interest?’ I said, ‘I don’t know. We’ve always portrayed that while he’s done some dirty stuff he always had his one true love, which was his wife, who’s no longer in his life, but that was it. He’s kind of married to his job.’ I said, ‘But you know there’s a scene coming up with Mariska,’ and he said ‘don’t say another word, I know exactly how to play it.’ I’m like ‘Ok, I’ll let you do your actor thing. I’ll back off from here.’ So who knows what else in the character’s mind he feels about the Benson character. But there’s a real bond, right away, between the two characters.”
That bond and chemistry between the two characters came about partially from the similarities that exist between Beghe and Hargitay as actors said Leight. He explained that, “they are two actors who take their respective shows very, very seriously. A lot of times, the number ones on the call sheet get a little complacent. These guys care enormously about their shows, care enormously about every scene they are in. The characters have a lot in common, and the actors at the end of the day have a lot in common.”
We don’t know about you, but these potential moments between Voight and Benson sure sound like the good kind of fireworks to us! What do you think? Will you be tuning in? Let us know in the comments below.
Law & Order:SVU airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC. Chicago PD airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on NBC and 9 p.m. ET on Global.