Is Chicago PD’s fall finale giving Jay Halstead too much blame?

CHICAGO MED -- "Too Close to the Sun" Episode 508 -- Pictured: Jesse Lee Soffer as Det. Jay Halstead -- (Photo by: Adrian Burrows/NBC)
CHICAGO MED -- "Too Close to the Sun" Episode 508 -- Pictured: Jesse Lee Soffer as Det. Jay Halstead -- (Photo by: Adrian Burrows/NBC) /

Chicago PD’s midseason finale saw Jay Halstead trying to make amends, but is Chicago PD season 7 blaming him too much for the season’s fatal mistake?

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains discussion of the Chicago PD midseason finale.

Wednesday’s Chicago PD midseason finale left Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) fighting for his life, but should he really have been in that position?

In “Absolution” fans found out that Halstead felt guilty over the death of Marcus West, the man who was scapegoated for two murders and killed in prison in the episode “False Positive.”

Jay had befriended West’s widow Angela and their son Bobby, trying to make amends. But Angela had stolen cocaine from drug dealers, getting them both kidnapped—and after Halstead told her who he was, she shot him, ending the episode on a cliffhanger.

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It was certainly a dramatic ending, as One Chicago fans will be waiting all winter to see if Halstead lives or dies. But honestly, it’s kind of unfair to him too, and not just because he took a bullet.

Halstead’s being blamed—both by Angela and by the Chicago PD writers—as the person responsible for Marcus West’s death, when the truth is that was a group mistake. All of the Intelligence Unit, and the interim Superintendent Jason Crawford, are equally responsible for the murder, not just Halstead.

In fact, you can argue that Crawford (Paul Adelstein) and Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) deserve more of the blame than Jay does.

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Yes, it was Jay who had the idea of charging Marcus and sending him to county jail, which is where he was ultimately murdered. So Halstead sent him to his death, and he did know that Marcus was not 100 percent safe there; that’s why he had the idea, to put the other man under pressure. But he didn’t explicitly know Marcus was going to get killed or plan to have him killed.

Given the size of Halstead’s big heart, you can see why he’d feel guilty. Trying to help Angela was classic Jay Halstead.

But Chicago PD is putting it all on his shoulders and not holding accountable anyone else. As was briefly mentioned in “Absolution,” what put Jay in that position was that Intelligence blindly trusted facial recognition software. Crawford wanted them to use it, and Voight didn’t have his team do any due diligence to prove or disprove its results. As the boss, and at least as a cynic who knows that the higher-ups can’t often be trusted, he should have questioned it.

Oh, and don’t forget it was Voight who came up with the idea to frame Marcus for the murders.

Crawford hasn’t faced any punishment. Voight hasn’t seen any blowback. It’s easier for Chicago PD season 7 to punish Halstead, because he’s the only person who’d be in a vulnerable spot—he’s the only one who’s tried to make things right. And it sends a really wrong message that the only person willing to own up to the mistake is the only one who pays the price.

It’s doubly frustrating since Jay Halstead’s been somewhat of a punching bag this season, whether it’s getting on Voight’s bad side in the season premiere or almost having to infect himself with the flesh-eating virus in the One Chicago crossover. Let’s hope the next episode sees him make a full recovery, and then sees someone other than him have to face the music.

Next. What else happened in Chicago PD's fall finale?. dark

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