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A Day in The Life of a Background Extra

Leslie Harris here, and yesterday, I worked a very long day as a background extra on Chicago PD. (that picture of me is when we were in ‘holding.’ No photos on the set!) When I tell people that I do this kind of work, they think it sounds very glamorous. The truth is, it’s kind of cool, kind of fun, kind of interesting, and also really boring.

If you watch Chicago PD, you know that someone was shot and killed at the end of last season. This season picks up there. I played a medical examiner. My call time was 1:00, but they didn’t actually use me until about 8:00. (btw, start times are often as early as 6:00 AM) So for the first 7 hours, I ate, sat around, moved from one holding area to another, talked to other background extras, ate some more, talked some more to other background actors. (we are not allowed to talk to the stars) I must say, these shows feed their people very well.

I was beginning to think they weren’t going to use me at all. I would have been super bummed about that, but at least they would still pay me. Finally they did call me and I got to be part of an integral scene. Again, I’m not going to give you any more information than that, other than I’m in the background wearing a black blazer, and my hair is up, like in the picture. And at one point, one of the characters speaks directly to me. You’ll just have to watch the season premiere of Chicago PD. Remember, I’m a medical examiner and you should be able to see me in the background of a pivotal scene.

I wasn’t released until 3:30 AM, so I’m a little tired today! But I’m not complaining – as I said, they feed us VERY well, pay us overtime for anything over 8 hours, provide parking, and everyone is really kind. Remember how HOT is was yesterday? The crew made sure we had a cool place to sit and plenty of water and sports drinks. The actors all look out for each other too.

Chicago PD airs Wednesday nights on NBC. Watch for me!

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