Hank Voight, Chicago PD
Credit: Lori Allen/NBC via Getty Images

After almost a decade on television, Jason Beghe’s voice as Sergeant Voight on Chicago P.D. has become a character in and of itself. The deep and raspy tone has become synonymous with the character. But what happened to Jason Beghe’s voice and is it real or just for Chicago P.D.? Read on for what we know.

Chicago P.D. is NBC’s drama series following the personal and professional lives of patrol officers and Intelligence Unit detectives in the Chicago Police Department’s fictional 21st District. The series — which premiered in 2014 and is created by Dick Wolf, the same mind behind the Law & Order and FBI franchises — is the second show in NBC’s One Chicago franchise, which also includes Chicago Fire and Chicago Med. Beghe plays Sergeant Henry “Hank” Voight, the chief of the Chicago P.D.’s intelligence unit, who feuded with Captain Matthew Casey — the lead of Chicago Fire  after Voight’s son, Justin, caused an accident that left another person paralyzed.

In an interview with the Post-Gazette in 2021, Beghe explained why he almost didn’t accept the offer to play Voight in a recurring role in Chicago Fire, which eventually became a full-time role as the lead of Chicago P.D. “When I got the script and the offer to do a recurring role on Chicago Fire, I was in the middle of a lot of personal stuff. Both my parents had just died, and I wasn’t sure that I was going to accept the job,” he said. “But I ultimately decided to do it. Interestingly, I left to shoot my first day on Chicago Fire from my father’s funeral in Washington D.C. The many ways in which that decision has changed my life could fill a book. Suffice it to say, I’m happy I made that choice.”

He also told the newspaper what he’s learned about law enforcement from playing a police officer. “The most overriding thing would be that I probably used to think of cops as cops,” he said. “I now am fully and consciously aware that they are each human beings, with full, unique lives and that law enforcement is the job they do. So now whenever I see a cop, I see a person who is a cop, not just a cop.”

But back to Jason Beghe’s voice. So…what happened to Jason Beghe’s voice and is it real? Read on for what we know about how Jason Beghe’s signature deep and raspy voice came to be.

What happened to Jason Beghe’s voice?

Hank Voight, Chicago PD

What happened to Jason Beghe’s voice? In an interview with The Daily Beast in 2017, Beghe — who plays Sergeant Hank Voight on Chicago P.D. — explained that his voice has been low and gravelly since puberty, but it wasn’t until he was in a serious car accident when he was older that his voice sounded like it does now.

“When puberty hit, I went down low and there was some gravel,” Beghe said. “But I was in a very serious car accident in ’99—broke my neck, my back in a couple of places, all of my ribs, both of my lungs. I was in a coma for three and a half weeks. When I would come out of the coma, since I was intubated from being on life support, I would pull the tube out and it made it even more f—d up.”

Beghe also joked to The Daily Beast that his gravelly voice has its pros and cons. “It’s good for Voight—not so good when I have to play the sweet dad. But it’s good with my kids. They’re good kids, but when I say, ‘Hey, it’s time to clean up,’ they do it,” he said.

Beghe opened up about the accident further in an interview with the Post-Gazette in 2021, in which he revealed that he almost died in the crash. “Technically, I did die for a short period of time when I was in the coma,” he said. “That was definitely an experience that profoundly informed my perception of what life is. Twenty years later, it’s not something I think about very often. But as you bring it up to me, I do believe that I’ve probably permanently changed since then.” When asked what was the “most feminine thing” about him, Beghe joked, “My voice.”

What did Jason Beghe’s voice sound like before his accident?

What did Jason Beghe’s voice sound like before his accident? Five years before his accident, Beghe played Liutenant Jeffrey Lindley in a recurring role on Melrose Place. In a clip from the series, Beghe can be heard speaking in his voice before his accident, which is still deep and raspy but much higher and smoother than his current tone. Watch the video below.

Along with Melrose Place, Beghe also starred in shows like Murder, She Wrote, Quantum Leap, L.A. Law, Matlock, The X-Files and NYPD Blue before his accident. His first role after his accident was in Family Law, in which he played the character Don from 1999 to 2000.

In an interview with the Post-Gazette in 2021, Beghe joked about how he’s become more similar to Voight after playing the character on Chicago P.D. for so many years. “Ever since I started playing Hank Voight, I’ve found that I’ve killed a lot more people in my personal life,” he said. “I slapped a guy at 7-Eleven when he gave me the wrong change yesterday. I’m kidding! [laughs] Honestly, after all this time, it becomes like a close personal relationship. And like any good close relationship, I’m sure we learn from and influence each other.” When asked if he dreams as Voight, Beghe joked, “I always dream out of character. Usually I’m an old woman. Occasionally a reptile.”

Chicago P.D. airs on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on NBC.

For more more on the One Chicago franchise, check out our photo gallery of the most shocking Chicago Fire deaths.