Five Questions with Chicago PD’s Tommy Burke

Tommy Burke served as First Assistant Director on Chicago PD from 2014 to 2019. And now, Tommy has written an inspiring autobiography entitled Not Just Sunglasses and Autographs: 30 Years of Film & Television Production with Life (& Near Death) Lessons. Tommy stopped by to introduce us to the book and share some entertaining tales from the set of Chicago PD and more… Let’s get to it!

SCREEN: What does your new book mean to you, and what do you feel will resonate with readers?

TOMMY: It means life is messy. If done right, it’s supposed to be messy. You are going to screw up and say and do the wrong thing. No more than me. You are going to work in harsh circumstances or conditions. I hope not more than me. But those hypothetical skinned knees or occasional bloody noses will lead you to many experiences – some good and some bad. But when you look back, you know you gave all you had.

SCREEN: One Chicago fans will want to know… what is your favorite episode of all time?

TOMMY: All the stories kind of melted together for me. I do remember the cold (and this from a boy from Boston, so that’s saying something). It was Chicago PD episode #515. I had to leave the show for medical reasons (read the book), and the crew were great to me. There was a bar set they named after me, and they got me a cake.

Here is a rapid-fire one-minute rundown of Season Five of Chicago P.D., and you can click here to watch Tommy’s Fave Episode #515 in its entirety…

SCREEN: Any funny or memorable stories from the Chicago PD set that you would like to share?

TOMMY: There were some great ones. The Red Sox were in the pennant race. I was on set pushing along. Jason Beghe was in his trailer waiting to come up for the next scene. I started getting text messages of the Red Sox play by play. Now a lot of actors would have been miffed that they were waiting in their trailer. Jason was sending me updates on the game.

SCREEN: Your favorite Chicago restaurant? What do we order when we go?

TOMMY: We usually work late nights and we had the best craft service in Chicago, so food was good during the week. So I would pull myself out of bed after a late night of shooting and drag myself to a good breakfast. Wildberry, Yolk, and especially The West Egg, where I knew everyone who worked there. Mmmm pancakes.

SCREEN: Worst job ever?

TOMMY: Toss up of digging in ground pools in Massachusetts in November, trying to break through frozen ground – and working in a chicken packing plant in Los Angeles where it was 85 degrees outside and you packed chickens for 8 hours a day inside at 35 degrees.


SCREEN: Your most prized possession?

TOMMY: My stool from the crew of Chicago PD

And here it is…

SCREEN: If you could only be a fan of one sports team, which one would it be?

TOMMY: It would be the Celtics. I will always remember getting tickets for a private box at the United Center when they came to Chicago.

Tommy will enjoy this look back at the last decade of Celtics basketball…

SCREEN: Best advice you’ve ever been given?

TOMMY: “Kid, your most important job is your next one.”

Thanks for playing, Tommy! Click here to purchase Tommy’s inspiring autobiography, entitled Not Just Sunglasses and Autographs: 30 Years of Film & Television Production with Life (& Near Death) Lessons.

Be sure to check back here at SCREEN Magazine for next week’s round of Five Questions with SCREEN. You can also click right here to subscribe to our weekly email newsletter.

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