The news of Jesse Lee Soffer’s exit from Chicago P.D. was received as a bucket of cold water by fans of this popular procedural show, and they can’t help but wonder what his departure means for the series.
From multiple Emmy Award-winning executive producer Dick Wolf and the team behind the hit series Chicago Fire and Chicago Med, Chicago P.D. is a riveting police drama about the men and women of the Chicago Police Department’s elite Intelligence Unit, combating the city’s most heinous offenses – organized crime, drug trafficking, high-profile murders and beyond. At the center of Chicago P.D. is Sgt. Hank Voight (Jason Beghe), who is at ground zero against the war on crime in Chicago and is fiercely determined yet complicated.
His close-knit team of detectives shares his passion for keeping the city safe, including Det. Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer), a committed and ethical detective who previously served in Afghanistan; Officer Adam Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger), a quick thinker who often leads with his heart; Officer Kim Burgess (Marina Squerciati), a fearless former patrol officer whose research and astute observations often lead the team in the right direction; Officer Kevin Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins), a bright and quietly charismatic member of the team; and Det. Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos), a seasoned detective whose tough demeanor belies her complicated emotions.
Season 10 will find the team tested in new ways with a new Chief of Police and the constant challenges they face with determined criminals. The season premiere will air on NBC on September 21, 2022.
When Does Jesse Lee Soffer Leave?
Soffer’s exit news doesn’t give too many details about the moment of departure and leaves fans in the dark about the exact episode in which Jay Halstead will say goodbye to the audience. The only certain thing is that Jesse Lee Soffer will not be present for the entire season of Chicago P.D. And it’s devastating news because fans won’t have time to get used to it or properly say goodbye to a character who means so much to them. Fall, however, gives the show plenty of room for Soffer to exit.
An outing as high-impact as Jesse Lee Soffer’s needs an episode — and a story — to match. It’s hard to imagine an episode of greater impact than the Chicago P.D. winter finale. That’s the episode that will be broadcast just before the break for the holidays and in which, typically, all the plots presented in the first episodes converge. It would be perfect for the character’s farewell and a cliffhanger for the second part of the season.
However, technically, the winter finale is broadcast beyond the fall to which the report on Jesse Lee Soffer’s departure from Chicago P.D. refers. Therefore, although the show’s winter finale would be, in principle, the most logical moment for the exit of one of the main core characters, this may not be the time chosen for it. Everything seems to indicate that Jay Halstead’s departure will be before that, in the season 10 first episodes.
What is a fact is that the story that launches the departure of Jesse Lee Soffer from the show will begin to be prepared from the first episode of the season. In that way, it will happen in the most natural way possible since the plot will have led to that resolution. This is somehow even more disheartening for fans because they have less time than they thought to wrap their heads around Jay Halstead’s goodbye and what it means.
Chicago P.D. Is Repeating History
It is not the first time that a central actor and part of the main ship leaves the show in the One Chicago universe. Sophia Bush said goodbye to Chicago P.D. in the early seasons, and the show moved on, albeit with a new love interest for Detective Jay Halstead.
For his part, Jesse Spencer left Chicago Fire in season 9, and the show safeguarded both his place on the series and Brettsey, the ship he was a part of, survived while the show’s stories progressed naturally. Ideally, Chicago P.D. can follow in the footsteps of the mother series and let Upstead live happily, albeit off our screens. However, the departure of Jesse Spencer from Chicago Fire had a sense of temporality that justified the standby that the show introduced for Brettsey. That doesn’t seem to be found in the departure of Soffer from Chicago P.D.
On the contrary, both from the report of his departure and the actor’s subsequent statements, a sense of finality brings him closer to Sophia Bush’s departure than Jesse Spencer’s exit. From the looks of it, Jesse Lee Soffer is ready to embark on new adventures away from the Chicago Police Department.
The ships put on the shows. There is nothing more powerful for a series than a vast fandom. The ships not only move masses of fans and, therefore, are capable of doing great things for the show. They also unite a community with common tastes that significantly strengthen and enjoy their favorite series. They are loyal and enthusiastic fans and will go down with their ship, no matter what.
Upstead, the couple of Jay Halstead and Hailey Upton, is the main ship of Chicago P.D., and all the fans are worried about what the departure of Jesse Lee Soffer may mean for the future of the ship. Analyzing the facts coldly and from different perspectives, there doesn’t seem to be a happy ending for Upstead.
As a consequence of Jesse Lee Soffer’s exit, it doesn’t seem likely that they’ll keep Upstead alive only to have to wreck the ship afterward. The behind-the-scenes team at Chicago P.D. will probably think it’s best to rip the band-aid off and let it hurt, but once the pain is gone, they can work from there.
Sadly, if these expectations are met, that leaves Upstead in a precarious position in the police drama, as it means they must nip the bond in the bud so that Hailey, along with the fans, can have the much-needed period of mourning. With this in mind, the chances seem to narrow down to a breakup or early death. Both options are horrible, and it hurts to write them, but they seem the most likely.
In an ideal world, Chicago P.D. would take a cue from Chicago Fire and just let Upstead be happy, even if fans couldn’t see more than crumbs of that happiness. However, in a truly ideal world, Jesse Lee Soffer would still be on the show. But if Chicago P.D. made one thing clear from the start, this is not an ideal world.
Having said that, it can’t be ruled out that Jesse Lee Soffer will return to Chicago P.D. either for a sporadic appearance or something more definitive. Due to how his departure has been reported — an untimely hour for this type of news — and the actor’s words, everything indicates that if this were the case, his appearance would consist of something sporadic. However, once time has passed, Jesse Lee Soffer may permanently consider returning to Chicago P.D.
At this point, the only thing fans can hope for is that Chicago P.D. leaves the door open for Jesse Lee Soffer to get back on the show any way he wants to.
Will Chicago P.D. Get Season 11?
In February 2020, the One Chicago universe series was renewed by NBC for three seasons that are due this year. While some shows like New Amsterdam that had a similar renewal deal have been canceled, that doesn’t look like it’s going to be the case for Chicago P.D.
Season 9 of Chicago P.D achieved excellent ratings. Although there’s no denying that, if fan discontent is any indication, Jesse Lee Soffer’s departure may affect the good numbers. On the other hand, the show has in its favor both the fans who will find a reason to continue watching — how they found it when Sophia Bush left — even if it’s not live, and the international projection but, above all, the sweep along effect of the show airing in the last shift on One Chicago Wednesday.
Therefore, at this time, Chicago P.D. it’s closer to a renewal than a cancellation. There are only a few months left to determine if this prediction is correct and if the show’s door will remain open if Jesse Lee Soffer decides to return home.