‘Chicago P.D.’ Showrunner on How Jesse Lee Soffer’s Exit Will Stay True to His Character and the Major Challenges Ahead for Hailey

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The world of “Chicago P.D.” will look a bit different midway through Season 10 as Jesse Lee Soffer will say goodbye. While viewers are disappointed about the actor, who has portrayed Jay Halstead since the series’ debut, leaving the show, showrunner Gwen Sigan is focused on writing the big shift.

“We’re all very sad about it. Jesse’s meant so much to this show, and you couldn’t ask for more professional and kind person to work with. So we’re all going to be so devastated,” she told Variety ahead of Wednesday’s premiere. “I think it just what he brings to the show just as a person and then his character on top of it — you’re looking at a character that has meant a lot to Voight and is married to Hailey. There’s so many things that, story wise, are going to be very interesting to write into. So it’s been emotional for sure.”

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Currently the writers are working on episodes eight and nine and planning his exit. While they’re not releasing what episode it will take place, Variety previously confirmed that it will take place in the fall.

“I’ve been trying to look at it as really giving him something incredibly powerful and impactful. I think he’s really brilliant in this season, what he’s been in, and so it’s nice to see him have that,” she said. “We tried to stay really true to his character and to what he stands for and what he means for the show and for the unit.”

Sigan also did not reveal whether the door is open for a possible return, not wanting to give away any storyline. That said, she did open up a bit about how it will affect Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos), who married Halstead in Season 8.

“It’s certainly been a challenge, but I’m really proud of where we came out of it, because I think we’ve given Upton a really interesting story this season as to how she deals with this. She’s someone that is so loyal and so attached to him. It’s not just a marriage, they also are partners and they’re partners in a job that is a pressure cooker. Their lives are at risk all the time, especially how we play it on the show,” Sigan said. “To suddenly not have that second half of who you are puts you in a very vulnerable and raw place. As we know, Upton is very strong and she’s also someone who’s very guarded and likes to have control of her emotions and likes to be able to deal with things. This puts her in an interesting spot, and we definitely see how it falls out. That’s been really exciting to write and I think will be something really interesting for Tracy to play. She’s been killing it.”

Sigan noted that this season has an overall theme of “savior.”

“The question we keep coming back to as writers in the room is this idea of, can the broken be saved? I think a lot of our characters would probably describe themselves as a bit broken, just because of everything that’s happened to them in their lives and on the job,” she said. “So we’re getting into a lot of that psychology and also the cases that you see this season.”

“Chicago P.D.” premieres on NBC Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 10 p.m. ET.

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