Chicago PD’s midseason finale could be good for Jay Halstead

CHICAGO P.D. "Absolution" Episode 709 -- Pictured: Jesse Lee Soffer as Det. Jay Halstead -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC)
CHICAGO P.D. "Absolution" Episode 709 -- Pictured: Jesse Lee Soffer as Det. Jay Halstead -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC) /

Could the Chicago PD fall finale actually be positive for Jay Halstead? Here’s how the next Chicago PD season 7 episode may be good news for his character in the long run.

The Chicago PD  midseason finale has a lot in store for Detective Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer). The fan-favorite character finds himself in major trouble in Wednesday’s last episode of 2019, but it may not be all bad—from a character-development standpoint.

While the synopsis for “Absolution” was deliberately vague, alluding to a secret relationship of Halstead’s that interferes with the latest Intelligence investigation; the promo showed him in a world of hurt: tied up, bloodied, and pretty beaten down. He was definitely not the Jay Halstead fans are used to seeing.

But fans haven’t seen a lot of Halstead this season, so that’s a plus. And “Absolution” may start a better storyline for him than he’s had in a while.

The aforementioned “secret relationship” is connected to another case, meaning not something that started in Wednesday’s episode. It could be something that’s made up for that episode (like the past “task force” that got Alvin Olinsky killed), or it could be a throwback to a previous Chicago PD episode this season.

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If it’s the latter, there are plenty of possibilities, and this storyline would be much more meaningful than yet another romance.

This is not the first time we’ve seen a case impact Halstead. Chicago PD season 7’s “Doubt” dealt with the murder of Brian Kelton (John C. McGinley), which ultimately pitted Jay against Hank Voight (Jason Beghe).

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And going back even further, don’t forget about the tragic season 5 premiere that left Halstead reeling over his accidental shooting of a little girl. That was the catalyst for a Pandora’s box of issues, which sent Halstead spiraling but also gave Jesse Lee Soffer the chance to showcase other sides of his character.

Seeing more of Halstead is what makes the Chicago PD midseason finale so intriguing, especially when it’s conflict created by something more recent. Viewers are going to see Jay’s interpersonal conflict from a prior case, instead of just from his past life as an Army Ranger. It’s a new type of story for him.

That should also put him at the forefront of Chicago PD as an individual, instead of half of a relationship—whether it’s secret or not. Because let’s be honest: Jay Halstead deserves more than that.

And Halstead’s story should propel forward because of whatever conflict is created here. One thing we know for sure is that Halstead will be impacted by his decision to help the person or persons connected to this case. It could be a decision with long-term effects, whether Chicago PD decides to leave his fate up in the air, or if he makes a choice that goes beyond this individual plot.

That potential makes the fall finale different from any of the one-off Jay-centric episodes of in the show’s past, which usually wrap things up pretty neatly. Being kidnapped and fighting for your life is not something one just gets over by the end of the hour; ask Kevin Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins), who had it happen to him in “Captive.”

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While “Absolution” could give Halstead a meaningful plotline, and do it for more than 45 minutes, it could also further develop his existing relationships, too. If his character is headed down a hellish road, the least the writers can do is flesh out his support system.

One support mechanism that has already been shown is his relationship with former partner Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos). The two have routinely done “the thing that works” between them—drinks and conversations about their cases—with success. It would only make sense for them to continue opening up to one another when Chicago PD comes back after hiatus.

Don’t forget about Jay’s brother Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss) from Chicago Med. Fans love their scenes together, but the shows have sort of let that atrophy; aside from their father’s death, both brothers have gone through huge scenes and yet not really talked to one another. They ought to be spending more time together, especially in situations like “Absolution” where it matters most.

Once Jay is (hopefully!) better, then a romance can be laid on the table, only when he’s ready for such a thing. It’s not fair to force him into a relationship for the sake of coupling up everyone in the show.

Which brings us back to this episode’s premise. Whoever Jay ends up with should really vibe with him, not be a source of danger or stress to his already-hectic life. We definitely don’t need a repeat of the Camila Vega (Anabelle Acosta) situation from season 5 in this episode! There should be a lot more happening for Halstead than that.

Hopefully the fall finale of Chicago PD will allow viewers to see Jay in a different light, or at least progress his character arc along further than it has been all season, and enable Jesse Lee Soffer to deliver another powerful performance. There’s only one way to find out.

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