It’s been a year since Chicago PD said goodbye to Erin Lindsay, so how much does the show miss Sophia Bush’s fan favorite character now?
A year ago today, Sophia Bush‘s last episode of Chicago PD aired. Fans didn’t know it at the time, but that shot of her staring out across Chicago would be the last we’d see of Bush’s character Erin Lindsay.
Not long after the Chicago PD season 4 finale was broadcast, it was announced that Sophia Bush was leaving the series.
The actress had decided to move on, saying later that she was “miserable” on the set and had made it clear before the season began that season 4 was going to be her last. It was a completely understandable decision, but it also changed the show for good.
Bush was the second original cast member to leave Chicago PD, and really the first with any major impact because Archie Kao‘s character Sheldon Jin was killed off by the end of the first season.
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Her character also had a huge place on the show, as its female lead and someone with a lot of screen time. So one year—and one season—later, is there still a big hole where Erin Lindsay used to be?
Chicago PD has done its best to move on without her, but there are obvious changes both on and off screen.
Rather than have one female lead, Chicago PD season 5 has seemed to balance that screen time between Kim Burgess (Marina Squerciati) and new series regular Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos, who was promoted from recurring status after last season).
Functionally speaking, Upton has taken over Lindsay’s position as the partner to Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer), and a certain segment of Chicago PD fans are clamoring for a romantic relationship between Upton and Lindsay’s ex-boyfriend as well—but there are no known immediate plans to take them in what would be a similar direction to the Lindsay and Halstead partnership.
There’s no denying that Spiridakos has done an admirable job in joining the Chicago PD cast, and her character Hailey Upton has been a great addition on her own merits. Upton has things about her that make us want to watch her and learn more about her, and we’re glad to have her.
However, there’s also no denying that Chicago PD season 5 would have been a lot different if Erin Lindsay was still here.
Aside from being a strong character in her own right, Erin Lindsay had pivotal relationships with both Jay Halstead and Hank Voight (Jason Beghe). And it’s impossible to think she wouldn’t have affected the major storylines each of them went through this season.
Halstead went off the rails this season, in part because of how Lindsay left when he was ready to propose. That’s not the sole cause but it certainly didn’t help. And if Erin had still been in Chicago, she would’ve supported him through the season premiere shooting, and we would’ve avoided Camila (Anabelle Acosta) and her affair with Jay that just never quite worked.
Then again, if Erin had stayed, would we have had the chance to explore that more flawed side of Jay Halstead at all—or would he have held it together and the subplot would’ve been more about a future wedding?
Even if the Camila fling didn’t work, Jesse Lee Soffer did get some great screen time that pushed his character in new directions, and that’s because Halstead had to sort of find himself again. The loss of a woman who was everything to him opened up new possibilities for him, too.
Though Jay Halstead’s managed to move on from her to some extent, the character who really is still missing Erin Lindsay is Voight. Her absence in Voight’s life has been glaring throughout the season (in part due to the fact that she’s been repeatedly referenced, since her helping to hide the body of Jason Bingham came back around this season).
Voight needed all the support he could get in dealing with Denny Woods, and Lindsay would have been perfect for that since she helped take down Woods during his first appearance in “Grasping For Salvation.” Instead, the only person whose history with Voight—and guilt by association—was explored was Alvin Olinsky (Elias Koteas) and well, we know how that ended.
Given what happened to Olinsky, Lindsay’s absence will be even more glaring in Chicago PD season 6. In two seasons, the show has removed two of the three characters who have that familiar past with Voight and are able to support him. Lindsay would have been able to help Voight deal with Olinsky’s loss; without both of them, he’s going to be in a total tailspin.
Last but certainly not least, it was unfortunate that Sophia Bush wasn’t part of Chicago PD‘s milestone 100th episode—though, to be fair, that episode was more about finishing off the crossover with Chicago Fire than celebrating Chicago PD.
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Chicago PD season 5 did an admirable job moving on from Erin Lindsay, and her leaving hasn’t destroyed the show the way that some One Chicago fans originally feared. But because of the way that this season’s storylines have gone, her absence has also been felt longer than expected, too.
She’s still missed and will always be remembered fondly for all that the character and Sophia Bush gave to the series—but just as she’s moved on, the Intelligence Unit has done the same. And that is the way Lindsay would want it.
Do you still miss Erin Lindsay on Chicago PD? How much do you think the show has changed since Sophia Bush’s departure? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Chicago PD airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on NBC.