Chicago PD boss reveals original plans for Hailey Upton's final episode

Things could have gone a lot worse for the character.
CHICAGO P.D. -- "Safe" Episode 814 -- Pictured: Tracy Spiridakos as Hailey Upton -- (Photo by: Lori Allen/NBC)
CHICAGO P.D. -- "Safe" Episode 814 -- Pictured: Tracy Spiridakos as Hailey Upton -- (Photo by: Lori Allen/NBC) /

Chicago PD is not an inherently happy show. There are lots of emotionally taxing storylines, and the characters who comprise the IU have to deal with some truly loathsome criminals on a weekly basis. That's why the exit of Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos) was such a pleasant surprise.

The character not only survived a harrowing case and rescued Hank Voight (Jason Beghe), but she got to leave the Windy City on her own terms. We even get to see a smile from the character as she closes out the final episode of season 11.

Chicago PD considered different fates for Upton

Chicago P.D. - Season 11
CHICAGO P.D. -- "More" Episode 11013 -- Pictured: Tracy Spiridakos as Hailey Upton -- (Photo by: George Burns Jr/NBC) /

According to showrunner Gwen Sigan, however, things could have been a lot different. Sigan sat down for an interview with Entertainment Weekly, and she admitted that she and the writers of the show considered alternatives to this ending that were much darker in tone:

"We discussed it all. Tracy had given us some leeway, we knew at the beginning of the season so we had some real estate, we had some time. "

Sigan did not tell Spiridakos that her character was going to be shot, for example, which seemed like a sign that things were going to take a tragic turn. Fortuately, the showrunner and writing team opted for a more hopeful outcome.

Tracy Spiridakos was relieved Upton got a happy ending

"We settled on this idea that we wanted to give her this arc that was fulfilling and was growth and was her leaving for something better," Sigan explained. "It's not usually what we do on the show and I think that made it all the more interesting."

Spiridakos, had a rough idea of where her character would end up, and was similarly enthused by the concept of flipping Chicago PD expectations on their head. "I think a lot of people expect that you're gonna get shot or have to leave in a certain way," she noted. "But I was really excited at the idea that she leaves happy and we get to see her feeling good."

So good, in fact that Upton was considering a career with the FBI before she left Chicago. It's too early to tell what will become of the character, or whether we will ever see her on the show again, but Spiridakos did say she was open to making a cameo on FBI and connecting the dots for fans. "I would love to be a part of their universe, for sure," she teased.

Next. S. Chicago PD just pulled off an insane cameo. dark