Should Chicago PD replace Alvin Olinsky?

CHICAGO P.D. -- "Profiles" Episode 516 -- Pictured: Elias Koteas as Alvin Olinsky -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC)
CHICAGO P.D. -- "Profiles" Episode 516 -- Pictured: Elias Koteas as Alvin Olinsky -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC) /

Chicago PD created a massive hole in the show by killing Elias Koteas’s Alvin Olinsky, so should it try to fill the void in Chicago PD season 6?

Alvin Olinsky may be gone from Chicago PD, but he’s not forgotten. Therein lies a huge problem for the show when it returns this fall.

Killing off Olinsky (Elias Koteas) in the Chicago PD season 5 finale “Homecoming” might be the most controversial decision in the series’ history. It upset the majority of fans, and we’ve already talked about why it’s a choice the show will regret.

But it’s done, and it’s not going to be undone. It’s clear from showrunner Rick Eid’s comments after the finale aired that Olinsky didn’t fake his death and he is really gone.

So we have to move on and start asking what is Chicago PD going to do now?

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Any time a main character leaves a TV series, whether it’s the show’s decision or their own choice, there’s always the question of whether a new character will be added to fill the opening that they leave behind.

That may be a character who literally replaces them in their position, or a character completely unrelated who is added to keep the cast at its same size.

We’ve seen Chicago PD do the former twice before. Sheldon Jin was killed off in the first season, and in season 2, Mouse was introduced as the new tech expert before he, too, left Intelligence.

And when Erin Lindsay was written out at the end of season 4, Hailey Upton literally succeeded her as Jay Halstead’s partner.

Eid has been vague about what the show will do post-Olinsky, saying right after “Homecoming” that there were “no immediate plans” to replace him but that “you’re always open to a new character appearing.”

So Chicago PD fans don’t know if the show will try to add a new character in Olinsky’s wake—but should it? Or should it just leave an already tough situation alone?

Chicago PD created a huge problem when it killed Alvin Olinsky. The way Elias Koteas’s character went out can’t be compared to any other departure—not even Lindsay’s.

Though losing Lindsay was a big blow, fans became aware that it was Sophia Bush‘s decision to leave and that made it easier to cope. Plus, since Upton had already been introduced before that we had time to know the character and actress who were joining the team.

But it wasn’t Elias Koteas’s decision to go. He was written out. Not only that, but he was written out for reasons that don’t entirely make sense. And on top of that, the function his character had in the grand scheme of Chicago PD was very specific—not something that can be replicated.

Olinsky was Hank Voight’s (Jason Beghe) confidant, perhaps even moreso than Lindsay because they were the same age and had been through a lot of the same things. He was one of two other characters with that veteran perspective, and the only one who was actually on the ground and in the room with Voight every day.

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Chicago PD could cast another veteran actor whose character somehow joins the Intelligence Unit, but that character wouldn’t have that backstory with Voight.

And fans would call the show out for sure if the writers tried to create backstory by saying that the new character is another decades-long acquaintance of Voight who’s just now being introduced. It can’t just tell the audience there’s history and they believe it; you have to show it, like Elias Koteas and Jason Beghe were so good at doing all these years.

If Eid and company absolutely feel the unit needs another detective, they could go completely in the opposite direction and create a character nothing like Alvin Olinsky. But do they really need to, considering that they just added Upton last season? No.

Adding another series regular to fill the space left by Elias Koteas is unnecessary, impractical and it would likely just further fans’ annoyance at the death of Olinsky with the inevitable comparison.

Chicago PD inflicted a massive wound by killing Alvin Olinsky, and now Chicago PD season 6 ought to just live with it. Face the consequences, just like it wants Hank Voight to do.

Next: Watch Chicago PD's Olinsky tribute you didn't see

Do you think Chicago PD should add another character to make up for Olinsky’s exit in Chicago PD season 6? Let us know your opinion in the comments.

Chicago PD returns to NBC this fall.