Chicago PD’s Antonio farewell had more questions than answers

CHICAGO P.D. -- "Reckoning" -- Episode 622 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jason Beghe as Sgt. Hank Voight, Jon Seda as Det. Antonio Dawson -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC)
CHICAGO P.D. -- "Reckoning" -- Episode 622 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jason Beghe as Sgt. Hank Voight, Jon Seda as Det. Antonio Dawson -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC) /

Why did Antonio Dawson leave Chicago PD? That was explained in the Chicago PD season 7 premiere, but the explanation felt incomplete.

Fans of Chicago PD finally learned what happened to Antonio Dawson in Wednesday’s season premiere, but it wasn’t a fully realized sendoff for Jon Seda‘s character.

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains spoilers for the Chicago PD season 7 premiere.

After producers decided not to bring Seda back for Chicago PD season 7, his character’s fate was left open-ended in May’s sixth season finale.

Antonio was last seen relapsing on prescription painkillers, presumably because he felt guilty for not using controversial information that could have gotten Adam Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger) out of trouble. Instead, Ruzek was left hanging for a crime that Antonio himself committed.

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Fans spent the summer wondering how the show would address Antonio not being a part of the Intelligence Unit when it returned, and if Jon Seda would be asked back to wrap up his storyline.

The answer came in “Doubt” when Ruzek, freed on bail, went searching for a missing Antonio and found out that his ex-colleague had trashed his apartment and ended up at his sponsor’s house.

Near the end of the episode, Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) said he had picked up Antonio and driven him to an unofficial rehab facility. Presumably, Antonio is still there getting treatment—again, since Voight had already taken him someplace last season.

Seda didn’t appear, leaving a number of fans disappointed that one of the One Chicago franchise’s favorite stars didn’t come back for a last goodbye. His absence was particularly noticeable since Chicago Med had its two former regulars, Colin Donnell and Norma Kuhling, return to finish their stories in that show’s season premiere.

But that wasn’t the only issue with how Antonio was officially written off.

It wasn’t until almost halfway through the premiere that Chicago PD had anyone seriously worry about his absence. Characters briefly asked where Antonio was, but nobody seemed that bothered by him not being there—strange behavior for a team that’s as loyal as Intelligence.

Plus, by that point, they were all aware that Antonio had been struggling with a drug problem, so even though he’d seemed to be okay now, wouldn’t they be particularly worried about the person with the recent history of trouble? Yes, they were busy investigating a murder, but you’d think it would still be a major concern for them.

Not having Seda in the episode limited what Chicago PD could write—though to be clear, it’s not known why he wasn’t included. Was he not asked back at all? Or did he decide he wasn’t going to come back? So it’s hard to make any judgment about him not guest-starring, but even with that in mind, the resolution to his story felt awkward.

Fans were never happy with Antonio’s addiction storyline, which never had the dramatic effect that the writers wanted. Instead, many viewers felt it was out of character for the normally very straight-laced Antonio to become a drug addict. So to have his exit story go right back to the plot point no one liked in the first place was a disappointment.

But that was further compounded by the fact that it was a negative resolution. It wasn’t that Antonio Dawson had kicked his drug habit and decided it was time for him to get off the force, and was now doing well someplace else. It was that Antonio was back on drugs and back in rehab. Fans don’t want to think of Antonio in a bad place; they want him to do well.

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It’s possible that in a future episode or season, the writers will ask Seda to guest star then and he could emerge clean, sober and happy—but since he wasn’t in the premiere, that doesn’t seem like it’ll happen. If he was ever going to come back, “Doubt” would have been the episode to do it in.

So for now, viewers who love and have supported Antonio are left with the knowledge that he’s still in a dark place. That his friends and colleagues didn’t seem too worried about him being gone, except for Ruzek. And that he still might lose his job; after all, Voight said that if anyone found out he’d taken Antonio back to rehab, Antonio would lose his badge.

It was bad news all around, including for fans who’d hoped Chicago PD season 7 would give some closure to one of the show’s original characters.

Next. What else happened in the Chicago PD premiere?. dark

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