‘Chicago P.D.’: Patrick John Flueger Admitted He Has Some Criticisms of the Show

No television show is perfect, but often the stars of the series keep their comments — at least the ones the public hears — about their home shows positive. There are exceptions. Katherine Heigl famously ragged on Grey’s Anatomy, sparking creator Shonda Rhimes to make some not-so-veiled remarks about having a “no a-holes policy.” Chevy Chase’s time on Community was marked with tension and some unkind words from the comedian about his role. 

Still, most of the time when actors go public with complaints about their own TV shows, it’s a sign that they’re about to make an exit or coming from someone who has a long history of negativity and trouble on the set. That’s not necessarily the case for Patrick John Flueger, an actor on Chicago P.D. who took the time to raise some legitimate concerns about the series. 

Patrick John Flueger as Adam Ruzek
Patrick John Flueger as Adam Ruzek | Matt Dinerstein/Getty Images

Patrick John Flueger plays Adam Ruzek on ‘Chicago P.D.’

Chicago P.D. is part of the One Chicago trilogy, a series of dramatic shows that has gotten critical acclaim. The trio of shows comes from the mind of Dick Wolf, the famed mastermind behind the Law & Order franchise. It started with Chicago Fire in 2012. In 2014, Chicago P.D. was added to the lineup, and in 2015, Chicago Med made the action-packed drama that focuses on the lives of first responders complete. 

Chicago P.D. is the show that most closely mirrors Wolf’s other legal dramas since, like Law & Order, it brings viewers inside a police department where they can follow the daily actions of two distinct groups of police officers. Some are beat cops who go out to patrol the streets of the Windy City. Others are part of the Intelligence Unit, which focuses on investigating major crimes and criminal hubs. Patrick John Flueger plays Adam Ruzek, an undercover officer who was taken into the Intelligence Unit right out of the Police Academy. 

‘Chicago P.D.’ is among the shows criticized for ‘copaganda’

Television shows focusing on police officers and policing have been under intense scrutiny in recent years, and the criticism got even more intense after the May 2020 killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. With the entire world outraged at the mistreatment of Floyd and a series of high-profile police killings of unarmed Black men providing a horrifying historical context, critics turned part of their fury toward television shows like Chicago P.D.

Critics accused the series of glossing over the ethical dilemmas of policing while glorifying violence and breaking the rules. In particular, the character Hank Voight is seen as a glaring example of “copaganda,” the term that has come into use to describe overly positive portrayals of police in pop culture. 

Patrick John Flueger admits he has concerns about the show


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It’s easy for some to dismiss criticisms of television shows as overreactions, but it’s a lot harder to be dismissive when one of the stars themselves expresses concern. As The Chicago Sun-Times reports, Patrick John Flueger has done exactly that. 

“I’ll be frank, I have those criticisms in the back of my head,” Flueger began. He pointed specifically to older episodes, those written before the public attention, and cultural narrative really focused on the portrayal of police in entertainment. Flueger continued, “we were [merely] telling stories — we were making a TV show. And now, in light of recent events, I really think people are waking up in a different way.”

Flueger also recognizes that his own status as a white man has likely left him with some blind spots: “Doing these stories — and telling these stories — trying to wrap your head around what you’re saying. Maybe that was naive of me as a white man? I think it obviously was.” Ultimately, he believes that Chicago P.D. will adapt and bring stories that better fit the moment, explaining, “I’m proud of being on a show that seems to be trying to turn a page.”