Playing detective Erin Lindsay on NBC'S Chicago P.D. means living 10 months out of the year in Chicago, something Pasadena native Sophia Bush didn’t take lightly.
"It wasn't about relocation as much as it was about leaving Los Angeles again," she says. "I worked on One Tree Hill for nine years in North Carolina and was pretty homesick then. To think about leaving again was a larger conversation I had to have with myself, but it was definitely made easier by the fact that I had two great friends who lived in Chicago."
Even better? She'd previously worked with two of her Chicago P.D. castmates — Jesse Lee Softer (Detective Jay Halstead) and Patrick John Flueger (Officer Adam Ruzek) — as siblings in an ill-fated pilot. Better still, the newest addition to Dick Wolf's franchise, Chicago Med, brought even more friends to the Windy City.
"One of our two first ADs on One Tree Hill [Rick Clark] is now first AD on Chicago Med, so I get to see him and his wife frequently. And Torrey DeVitto worked with me on One Tree Hill for two seasons. Now she's one of the leads on Chicago Med," Bush says.
She notes that the casts and crews of Chicago P.D., Chicago Med and Chicago Fire have formed their own little community on and off the set. Some, like Bush, have bought homes.
"I love real estate and home design and spend much of my free time helping friends design their homes. After two years, I felt like I needed to have a place here that I could truly make my own, to really feel like this is my home."
Doing location shoots at abandoned warehouses and trucking yards in the city's more industrial neighborhoods didn't help her narrow down her search for house hunting, however.
"Chicago's a lot like Los Angeles, in that it's very spread out," Bush says. "There are so many neighborhoods — it becomes easy to exist in your own neighborhood and do everything close to where you live.
"I think that's part of the reason we've all made a consolidated effort to explore other parts of the city. Everyone lives in different places. So when we visit friends from our show or the other shows, we venture into different neighborhoods."
Bush loves Chicago's famed architecture, and one of her favorite activities when friends or family visit is to take an architectural boat tour. "All of my friends who've been here to see me have really enjoyed the city, which makes it great, since they tend to want to come back."
While being away from family, friends and L.A.'s year-round outdoor culture is tough, Bush relishes the community she's found. "I'm really glad that if I have to be away, that I'm in a city like Chicago. It's an incredible place to live. The art, the architecture, the food scene here — that definitely makes it easier."