Chicago PD boss explains the importance of bringing Olinsky back

The writers have been waiting to do it for years.
CHICAGO P.D. -- "Allegiance" Episode 521 -- Pictured: Elias Koteas as Alvin Olinsky -- (Photo by: Parrish Lewis/NBC)
CHICAGO P.D. -- "Allegiance" Episode 521 -- Pictured: Elias Koteas as Alvin Olinsky -- (Photo by: Parrish Lewis/NBC) /

Nobody expected Alvin Olinsky (Elias Koteas) to return to Chicago PD. The character died brutally in season 5, and while there's been mention of him in passing, the show had never gone the extra mile and tried to resurrect someone before our very eyes. That's what made the season 11 finale cameo so shocking.

Olinsky returned as a hallucination to a dazed Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) in the episode, and while brief, the cameo was actually years in the making. Beghe had been pushing to bring the character back since his death, and showrunner Gwen Sigan was excited about the idea as well.

Gwen Sigan wanted to preserve Olinsky's PD legacy

Chicago P.D. - Season 5
CHICAGO P.D. -- "Profiles" Episode 516 -- Pictured: Elias Koteas as Alvin Olinsky -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC) /

The thing that held it up, though, is the very thing that made his eventual return so impactful. Sigan talked about the surprise cameo during a recent interview with CinemaBlend, and she admitted that Olinsky represented something bigger than just himself. He represents, in many ways, the history of the show itself:

"Like even though Olinsky is not in the unit anymore, his desk is still there. His hat is still hanging on the wall. In our minds, he's still there and he's in all those characters' minds."

An instance in which the character is haphazardly thrown into an episode for shock value would have cheapened this legacy, so it needed to happen at a crucial dramatic moment. Hank Voight being on the brink of death certainly checked that box.

Jason Beghe got emotional during his reunion scene

Chicago P.D. - Season 3
CHICAGO P.D. -- "A Dead Kid, A Notebook, and a Lot of Maybes" Episode 307 -- Pictured: (l-r) Sophia Bush as Erin Lindsay, Jesse Lee Soffer as Jay Halstead, Elias Koteas as Alvin Olinsky, Laroyce Hawkins as Kevin Atwater, Jason Beghe as Hank Voight, Patrick John Flueger as Adam Ruzek -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC) /

The involvement of Beghe was actually part of the reason Elias Koteas was so excited to return. "He was excited about it," Sigan told the outlet. "I think it felt really special for him to be able to come back, and of course to work with Jason again. Those two are really bonded, and he's close with everyone on this show."

The strong feelings were reciprocated by Beghe. During a separate interview with NBC, the actor admitted that he was overcome with emotion once he saw Koteas back in costume. "I just kinda walked onto the set, and uh, I burst into tears, you know," he said. "‘Cause it was just, it’s just a lot.”

It was definitely a lot, but it resulted in one of the most memorable moments of the entire season.

SK. Is Stella Kidd pregnant on Chicago Fire?. dark. Next