Chicago PD fans may have been holding out hope for the return of Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer), but season 11 will be doing the opposite and instead take another main character out of the mix: Halstead’s wife, Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos). The character will be exiting the show at some point during the upcoming season, though we don’t yet know when.
It’ll be sad to see a character as established and familiar as Upton leave the IU, but there are some silver linings to be gleaned from this decision. Chicago PD will have cut ties with two characters in two seasons, meaning there are some opportunities to change things up and revitalize the show. Here are the reasons why we think Upton’s exit may actually be a good thing.
Chicago PD can introduce a new character in season 11
Chicago PD has not introduced many new characters in the last five seasons. In comparison to Chicago Fire and Chicago Med, who have swapped out several of their cast members, PD has preferred to keep things insulated and consistent. Upton’s departure might be a chance to experiment with the formula.
Since Upton will be quitting the IU, then Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) will have to bring in an officer to fill her spot. This is an exciting prospect, especially given that the most recent hire, Dante Torres (Benjamin Levy Aguilar), hasn’t been used to his fullest potential. This could give the show a fresh spin as it embarks on its second decade.
Chicago PD can share screen time more evenly between cops
There was a lot of screen time dedicated to Upton in season 10, especially when it came to her crumbling relationship with Halstead. There was an emphasis on her heartache, which made total sense, but she was also the focus of a multi-episode involving a serial killer. We got standalone stories that focused on other characters, but it did feel like Upton got the lion’s share of the subplots.
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Upton’s departure will give the writers a chance to rebalance the show, and spread the screen time more evenly between IU members. It would be great to see, for example, an episode about Voight and how he’s dealing with the departure of Halstead and Upton– two of his closest friends in the IU. Also, to reiterate: give Torres more to do!
Chicago PD can give Halstead and Upton a happy ending
This is the single best aspect about the planned Upton exit. The fact that she will be leaving the show means that her marriage with Halstead can be salvaged, even if said salvaging takes place offscreen. For most of season 10, it seemed as though the couple were headed for divorce. Upton even took off her wedding ring at one point, suggesting that things were irreparable.
The writers have a chance to repair things between the two characters, and give them a happy ending that will make their multi-season romance and eventual marriage play incredibly well on rewatch. Frankly, we’re relieved. Nobody wanted to see Halstead and Upton divorce.
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