What’s next for Upstead after latest Chicago PD season 8 episode?

CHICAGO P.D. -- "Due Process" Episode 812 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jason Beghe as Hank Voight, Jesse Lee Soffer as Jay Halstead, Tracy Spiridakos as Hailey Upton -- (Photo by: Lori Allen/NBC)
CHICAGO P.D. -- "Due Process" Episode 812 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jason Beghe as Hank Voight, Jesse Lee Soffer as Jay Halstead, Tracy Spiridakos as Hailey Upton -- (Photo by: Lori Allen/NBC) /

This week’s Chicago PD gave Upstead fans plenty of screen time, but not all of it was great for the show’s newest couple.

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains spoilers from the latest Chicago PD episode. If you missed the episode, you can catch up with our “Safe” recap here.

Hailey Upton and Jay Halstead (Tracy Spiridakos and Jesse Lee Soffer) started the episode having a romantic night out. But the tone of their interactions changed drastically by the end of the hour.

As Intelligence investigated a series of violent home invasions, Upton backed up Halstead’s point of view, leading Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) to ask whether they were involved and question if her judgment was impaired.

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But in the end it was Jay who ended up covering for Hailey when she pulled a very Voight move, and Halstead wasn’t happy about it.

Upton entered their prime suspect’s house without a warrant, and that set off a chase and a hostage situation that ended with Jay shooting and killing the suspect. Asked what happened, Halstead insisted to Voight that it was “by the book,” but then told Upton that she had “jammed me up.”

As if that wasn’t enough, Chicago PD ended with Voight cautioning Upton about her behavior. He told her that she likes to do things her own way, and that they need Halstead just the way he is, implying that he doesn’t want Hailey to influence Jay into crossing too many more lines.

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Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way first: this is not the precursor to an Upstead breakup. It’s clear Chicago PD is all-in on the Upton and Halstead relationship; even if things are a little tense between them for the remaining two season 8 episodes, this couple isn’t going anywhere.

But will there be tension? And will the writers do anything more with this idea that Upton is a kind of middlewoman between Voight and Halstead?

Fans know that Hank and Jay are on different sides of the cop spectrum—it’s come up in several episodes, most recently “Due Process.” Jay is the by-the-book cop to Hank’s rule-breaking cop. In her first season, Hailey was a lot more like Jay, but she’s become almost a second Voight, to the point where last season he told her not to end up like him.

One of the things PD has been looking for is balance between those two points of view. It would be really interesting if the show explores what it means for Upton to be so closely connected to both sides, and it doesn’t have to be a bad thing like the last scene of “Safe” implied. Could Jay help Hailey reconnect with the kind of cop she was when we first met her? Could Hailey help the two of them find a compromise on volatile cases, since she seems to be the one person who really has Voight’s ear?

That could develop into a very interesting dynamic not just for season 8, but going forward. It may even serve as a microcosm for the show’s overall message—that instead of simplifying situations down to “good cop” and “bad cop,” there’s a middle ground in policing.

As for what’s left of this season, some tension all around wouldn’t be a bad thing. Jay has a right to be angry, and every relationship hits speed bumps; it’s what they do when those things happen that matters, as we saw with Upton in “Signs of Violence.”

Maybe Upstead will end up better for this particular fight, getting some more clarity about who they want to be and how they can help each other get there, and they can wind up moving the show forward for season 9, too.

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