One Chicago performer of the week: Tracy Spiridakos, Chicago PD

CHICAGO P.D. -- "Ghosts" Episode 518 -- Pictured: Tracy Spiridakos as Hailey Upton -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC)
CHICAGO P.D. -- "Ghosts" Episode 518 -- Pictured: Tracy Spiridakos as Hailey Upton -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC) /

Our One Chicago Performer of the Week for the week of March 20 is Chicago PD star Tracy Spiridakos for her work in the episode Ghosts.

It’s time to name another One Chicago Performer of the Week, and the star who impressed us the most this past week was Chicago PD‘s own Tracy Spiridakos.

Featured for the second time in Chicago PD season 5 with Wednesday’s episode “Ghosts” she had a big story to tell—answering the one question that’d been hovering over Hailey Upton since her introduction.

She not only delivered, but exceeded our expectations to help create one of the best episodes in the whole season.

We’ve loved watching Tracy Spiridakos all season, but our chief criticism of Hailey Upton was that we had only gotten one other episode (“Fallen”) to really understand her. “Ghosts” was so crucial in that sense, because Upton really deserved more backstory.

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What we got was so far above the usual “cop wants to get revenge on a perpetrator from their past” tale. It wasn’t just about Upton wanting to even a score from three years earlier.

It was about her getting revenge for how Booth (a perfect Titus Welliver) had attempted to rape her at a New Year’s Eve party.

It was about her finding justice for the partner that he had killed—a man that we eventually learned was more than a partner; he was someone she had fallen in love with.

And it was about Upton getting closure for both of these heartbreaking events in her life, either one of which could change a person forever.

That’s a lot of baggage for any actor to sift through, and a lot of heavy moments that they have to carry off in order for the audience to get the desired impact out of the episode. We have to feel what the hero is going through and understand why it matters so much—and Tracy Spiridakos was the engine that made this Chicago PD episode work.

She had to carry this episode mostly on her shoulders, and took us through an entire range of emotions and thoughts as they went through Upton’s head. In so doing, she helped us come to a better understanding of the character and proved she definitely belongs on this show.

There was so much at play here: Upton and Jay Halstead (an also great Jesse Lee Soffer) having to get to a point in their relationship where he finally, unequivocally trusted her. Upton opening up to Halstead, even if she really didn’t want to—and us finding out that they have a lot in common.

But there was also the battle between Upton and Booth, both psychologically and then eventually physically. The two circled each other like sharks in the water, with verbal chess and there was so much tension in every scene until Upton finally got the opportunity she had wanted and was in the familiar position of doing what she wanted to do (kill Booth) or what she ought to do (not turn into a killer herself).

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And there was even the battle of Upton within herself. Making decisions like that, to show mercy to the man who likely killed the man she loved. Having to confront all these bad memories. This episode was Upton coming apart, and Chicago PD gave Tracy Spiridakos all the space she needed to show us a Hailey Upton who was much more raw and vulnerable than ever before. She was brilliant, and that’s why she gets our top honors this week.

Next: Chicago PD's 5 most underrated characters

Congratulations to Chicago PD‘s Tracy Spiridakos for being our Performer of the Week! Which One Chicago actor stood out to you this week? Let us know in the comments.

Chicago PD airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on NBC.