This week’s Chicago PD was a major one for Detective Hailey Upton, as well as fans of the Upstead ship.
Wednesday’s episode “Signs of Violence” saw Upton (Tracy Spiridakos) get emotionally over-invested in a missing persons case, which once again brought up echoes of her abusive family. Plus, the relationship between Upton and her partner/boyfriend Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) took a major step forward.
Here’s what happened in the latest Chicago PD episode for each of your favorite characters.
Chicago PD season 8, episode 11 recap
Chicago PD opens with the Upstead-in-bed moment many fans have been waiting for. They’re all cute and cuddly, but Jay says he loves Hailey and she doesn’t say it back. In fact, she goes into the bathroom and throws some water on her face before coming out with a story about a last-minute appointment to get her car serviced.
Halstead is not convinced. At all.
Upton turns on her radio while driving and overhears a missing persons call that she decides to take. The Clarton family haven’t been seen by their neighbor for a few days. When Upton enters their house, the place is surprisingly empty and she can smell bleach…like someone might have been cleaning up a crime scene. Hailey searches the bedrooms, finding a massive stain on the daughter’s bed and blood underneath the carpet in the master bedroom.
Jay’s the first person to arrive on scene and questions Upton about why she’s there; she awkwardly admits she never made it to the auto shop but he doesn’t push the issue so she can brief the rest of Intelligence. Kim Burgess (Marina Squerciati) interrupts to tell them that Ray Clarton is not the father’s real name. The actual Ray died years earlier. Furthermore, Burgess can’t find any trace of his wife Helen or their daughter Becca.
“What the hell happened in this house?” Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) asks.
Upton and Halstead interview the neighbor, who admits she doesn’t know much about the people in the house next door. She does call the family “old-fashioned” in the sense that Ray is the clear head of household. Adam Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger) has found out Ray’s real identity: he’s a grifter named Ray Aimes who’s lived in over a dozen different states. Upton suggests Ray abused his family and is in the wind.
Kevin Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins) has found footage of Ray withdrawing money from an ATM with his daughter. Mom is nowhere in sight, but there is an unidentified third person on the tape. The team wonders if it’s someone Ray ticked off in his checkered past, with Upton talking about how you learn how to “shut people out” and “be invisible.” The cut to Jay as she’s talking about this is clearly meant to indicate a parallel, and the next scene is her admitting to her partner that she was “overwhelmed” by him saying he loves her. Halstead tells her they’ll talk about that later since they’re in the middle of a case.
Left alone, Upton looks out Becca’s bedroom window and sees the neighbor’s daughter Annie, whom she decides to talk to more at length. She speaks about how “something was wrong” in her childhood and that her best friend kept her window open in case a young Hailey needed somewhere to hide. The story gets Annie to admit she knows something; at the district, Annie says Ray is indeed abusive. She also says she saw a mystery man taking the Clartons out of their house and into a station wagon.
Intelligence seizes on these new facts; Chicago PD quickly has them find the car on various traffic cams and realize it’s a stolen vehicle. Cut to our heroes rolling up on the wagon’s last known location and searching the area. Upton discovers the sheets from the Clarton’s house sticking out in the snow and finds Helen Clarton’s body underneath. Chicago PD reveals that she’s also missing her teeth and fingerprints. Ew.
This makes Upton even more angry, before the suspect is identified as a guy named Alejandro Hermanez with ties to organized crime. Voight puts the pieces together: Ray had a bunch of money he’d stolen from the Albanian mafia and Alejandro came to get it back. Upton insists that as long as Alejandro is looking for the rest of the money, Becca and Ray are still alive.
Chicago PD sends everyone on a hunt for Alejandro. Upton and Halstead start by interviewing a woman named Zara working at a seedy massage parlor; she tells them where Alejandro lives. Halstead and Upton get there to find a trailer, a shed and an armed Alejandro. When he starts going toward the shed, Hailey defies Voight’s direct order and chases him down. However, no one’s in the shed…or in the house.
When they get back to the district Voight scolds Upton and Halstead asks what she would’ve done if they hadn’t seen a gun. Hailey insists she would have done the same thing and that the Assistant State’s Attorney will cover her actions. Jay looks unconvinced again. Unfortunately for her, Annie can’t identify Alejandro as the perpetrator…so Upton asks her to do it again, with her finger on the picture of Alejandro.
This not-exactly-positive ID is used as everyone in Intelligence tries to interrogate Alejandro. He tells Upton and Halstead he doesn’t even know who the Clartons are. The team needs more evidence; Ruzek talks about him emptying out a post office box belonging to Ray, and Upton blurts out an idea of Alejandro having undocumented family. She wants to use them for leverage, which Voight points out is illegal. Upton continues to insist, adding “We’ve crossed worse lines before.”
“Did you not hear me say no?” Voight reiterates before Upton stares angstily at the last known image of Ray and Becca.
Halstead follows her out of the district, knowing that she’s going to Immigration and Customs Enforcement over Voight’s objections. He wants to know what’s going on with her and says she’s “spinning out.” Jay wants her to talk so he can help her; he knows this is what she does. Upton snarkily responds with asking “At what point do you cut your losses and run?” before they go their separate ways, although we get the frustrated smack of the steering wheel and the tears, too.
Upton is next seen walking in to talk with Burgess about her attachment to Becca. She suddenly recalls something and asks Kim to pull up blueprints of Alejandro’s property. Upton then tells Voight that she’s convinced he has Ray and Becca underground. Intelligence mobilizes a whole gaggle of cops to search again, and in true Chicago PD fashion, it’s Upton who gets the hint. She’s stepped on a piece of wood hiding a manhole cover, and descends inside to find a dead Ray and a live Becca.
Hailey wraps the girl up in her coat and insists that it’s okay before reflecting on the case back at the office. She informs Voight (and the audience) that Becca identified Alejandro as her abductor. The two of them go to get coffee and talk about their choices in the case. Upton confirms that she never went to ICE, and reflects on her own abusive father again. “Every monster I see is my dad?” she wonders. “Every hurt little kid is me? Am I unfit to be a cop?”
“If you’re unfit, I’m unfit,” Voight replies. He tells her she’s good at her job for the same reasons she’s bad at it, and that she controls herself “miraculously well” until something touches the “bruised” part of her. When Upton says she doesn’t want to be that way, her boss says she can find a way not to, because continuing to be that way is going to cost her.
Chicago PD winds down with Upton coming home to find Halstead at her door. Apparently she asked him to come, and once they’re inside, she admits that she “never really learned” how to do relationships properly because “you couldn’t do that in my house.” Jay listens to her whole monologue about her past and her saying that she wants to be with him and “learn to do this” before assuring her that they’ll figure it out and he wants to be with her too. He promises Upton that he’s not going anywhere, and Hailey finally says “I love you so much” before they share a hug.
And Upstead fans everywhere rejoiced. Could this finally be the turning point where Upton is able to make steps forward from the issues that she’s been dealing with for seasons?
For the latest Chicago PD season 8 spoilers and news, plus more on the entire series, follow the Chicago PD category at One Chicago Center.