Carl Weathers Wasn't Just a Film Actor — He Played a Substantial Role in the One Chicago Universe

Jamie Lerner - Author
By

Feb. 8 2024, Published 6:25 p.m. ET

Carl Weathers at #OneChicagoDay
Source: Getty Images

The world lost an acting legend on Feb. 1, 2024, when Carl Weathers died in his sleep at 76 years old in his Los Angeles home. Carl was known for starring in popular films such as Rocky, Predator, and Happy Gilmore. From drama to comedy, Carl did it all. He even took part in Dick Wolf’s One Chicago universe, mainly in Chicago P.D.

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As we look back on Carl’s old projects during our One Chicago binges, we can’t help but notice that he was quite a significant name to bring into the world. Chicago P.D., Chicago Fire, and Chicago Med are beloved for their ensemble feel and relatively unknown actors. But after he received an “In Memoriam” on an episode of Chicago P.D., fans were reminded of his part in the franchise.

Carl Weathers in 'Chicago Justice'
Source: NBC

Carl Weathers in 'Chicago Justice'

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Carl Weathers played attorney Mark Jefferies in ‘Chicago P.D.’

Carl made his first One Chicago appearance in Chicago Fire, Season 5, Episode 3, as attorney Mark Jefferies. In NBC’s official biography of the character, he was described as the “Cook County State's Attorney who sees the world through a political prism. [Mark] believes that a good prosecutor gives the jury and the public a clear, clean, and digestible narrative.”

Carl Weathers in 'Chicago P.D.'
Source: NBC

Carl Weathers on 'Chicago P.D.'

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Mark was a popular character with One Chicago viewers — he showed up in two Chicago Fire episodes and four Chicago P.D. episodes. In fact, Dick Wolf decided to build a new show around Mark called Chicago Justice, but the show was canceled after just one season. Allegedly, this was due to the show’s similarities to Law & Order and the production company's inability to produce too many shows at once. But the character even appeared in an episode of Law & Order: SVU.

Carl Weathers also directed two episodes of ‘Chicago Med,’ along with an episode of ‘FBI’ and an episode of ‘Law & Order.’

While he’s most known for his acting chops, Carl also enjoyed his time behind the camera. Because of his involvement in the One Chicago world as Mark Jefferies, he had the opportunity to direct a few episodes in Dick Wolf’s universe. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do,” he told One Chicago Center back in 2021.

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Carl Weathers in 'Chicago P.D.'
Source: NBC

Carl Weathers on 'Chicago P.D.'

“I stressed to [Wolf Entertainment] a while ago that I was really interested in directing, and obviously my representatives were expressing the exact same thing,” he added. “So here we are a number of years later, and I guess I got an invitation as a result, and was really happy to receive it.”

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“It wasn’t that challenging, really,” he said of directing a medical storyline. “I don’t think any of the material is really challenging when you’re not trying to reveal something that people don’t know about medicine. And this show is so well orchestrated on paper that your job really, as a director, is to come in and to relay those things that are really about the human beings.”

Carl Weathers at NBC Universal event
Source: Getty Images
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Although he loved directing, Carl admitted that he missed playing Mark Jefferies. “I think we miss all of those characters,” he said of the Chicago Justice cast. “I think that series had a lot more promise than was allowed, and for whatever reason, the decision was made to jettison it, so to speak. But it’s a part of the business we’re in. Everything that is created, everything that’s put out cannot survive, or cannot thrive.”

Regardless, Carl’s legacy will survive and thrive in the hearts of One Chicago fans.

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