Chicago PD Review – Goodbye, Jay Halstead (1003)
That was a hard one.
It’s hard to imagine a world in which Jay Halstead isn’t part of Intelligence, but if it has to be this way, well, I’m glad he went out the way he did.
It’s never easy to do the right thing, and Chicago PD Season 10 Episode 3 honed in on that.
Since Anna’s death, Halstead has been all over the place trying to figure out exactly where his place is—is it by Hailey’s side or by Voight’s? I think the best way to describe his behavior was like a walking zombie doing things out of comfort rather than necessity.
But Intelligence, and the dark and twisted cases, were bound to get the best of him, especially as the job continued taking parts of his soul, bit by bit, without him even realizing.
Halstead has always done his best not to be like Voight, but along the way, case after case, he lost his way and changed into an unrecognizable version of himself.
The last straw was when he responded to a shooting at a pharmacy and pursued a group of robbers trying to steal drugs to make meth.
Halstead got personally invested in the case because of Lenny, a good samaritan and ex-vet who ended up being part of the robbery crew.
Halstead skirted evidence, used illegal tactics to get information out of suspects, and lied to Upton and others on the team. He was running the Voight playbook, and he couldn’t stop himself.
Everything that made Halstead Halstead was fading. Yes, he had a good reason not to out Lenny’s involvement with the robbery, but that didn’t make it okay either. Halstead has always been a black or white guy, but lately, the job has just become a grey zone where you pick and choose when you want to follow the rules. It took a toll on him, naturally.
Instead of talking or confiding in someone, he kept it bottled up inside, which likely didn’t make it any better. It all festered unresolved until it blew up.
And the absolute last straw was when he killed Benny, in self-defense, and then had to come up with yet another cover story to save his own ass.
“We’re doing it again,” Halstead muttered to Upton and Voight with a glazed-over look. And he was right—they somehow found themselves repeating the same mistakes of the past in order and excusing the behavior as necessary.
One mistake doesn’t make a bad guy, but when you constantly make the same mistakes, what then? Halstead didn’t want to be the bad guy, he wanted to stay the good guy he started out.
In a way, it was admirable that Halstead went rogue to keep Lenny’s name out of it, but it was yet another example of just how long gone everything was. There was no semblance of order; this was just becoming common practice. They were desensitized, and it was quite alarming how quickly and seamlessly they came up with a cover story that was airtight.
Of course, Voight and Upton would do anything to protect Halstead, but to what end? We saw the ripple effects of Voight and Upton’s first rogue mission followed by the toll that Anna’s death took on them.
It wasn’t sustainable. So I commend Halstead for recognizing that and admitting the hard truth instead of being in denial about it.
It was even more messed up because when he did want to come clean, he was basically praised for killing Benny as his death saved countless of innocent lives. It’s dangerous when you begin to justify bending and breaking the rules for the “greater good” in such a way that you lose your moral compass.
Halstead decided against telling the truth so that Lenny’s family could reap the reward, but he also tended his resignation, a move that shocked Upton to her core.
On one hand, I understand where Halstead is coming from, but as a woman who thrives on clear communication, I wish he would’ve talked this over with her. It’s possible that he didn’t because he was afraid she was going to stop him and he needed to pull the trigger, but honestly, if they are soulmates, then despite everything, she should’ve supported his decision. Upton deserved to know first; he could’ve at least given her that.
Halstead’s exit was probably the most well-written and executed because it made sense. His past with the army has always been a huge part of his character, so it was a natural fit when Nolan mentioned a job bringing down some of the most dangerous cartels in the world. And, as Jay pointed out, it would be black and white, good or bad, a necessary way to reset and ground himself.
The door for Halstead’s return, even in a guest role capacity, was left open as the gig seemed to be temporary as he mentioned 8 months in Bolivia. Of course, my guess is that Halstead will actually be a really great fit and it will become permanent, but I find hope in the fact that maybe this isn’t the last time we’ll ever see Jay Halstead grace our screens.
It’s going to be a difficult road for Upton, who has lost her one true love and partner in one fell swoop. She didn’t even really get any closure as it was so abrupt. A mere hours after breaking the news, Halstead was on a flight out of the country and not looking back. I hope Upton doesn’t cling on to the hope that Halstead will eventually come back because I think he truly meant it when he said that she needed to “let go.” He never fell out of love with her, but he fell out of love with the job… and no one can really fault him for that. No one can fault him for needing to clear his head after a decade of dealing with the worst possible cases and trying to find himself again as the man she fell in love with. He needed to find the heart that made Halstead one of the best characters.
The episode honored the character Jesse Lee Soffer built throughout the years, and it was a beautiful sendoff…even if his team deserved a proper goodbye. It was also an incredible performance from Soffer, who gave it his all.
Though, it was most evident in the final scene with Voight, who came out to O’Hare for one last goodbye. It’s comforting to know he’ll always have a place on the team.
When Voight said, “you don’t want to be,” my heart sank, but the gut punch was Halstead admitting that “it’s worse that I do want to be you.”
The next line, his final words, his final goodbye underscored why Halstead had become such a fan favorite through the years: “You always told me I’m not. And I shouldn’t try.”
It would be easy for Halstead to follow in Voight’s footsteps; it’s what all of us expected, but it’s braver that he’s carving his own path.
After all, it’s the right thing to do.
What did you think of Jay Halstead’s final Chicago PD episode?
When Does Jay Halstead Leave ‘Chicago PD’?
Jesse Lee Soffer, who brilliantly brought detective Jay Halstead to life for 10 seasons on Chicago PD, was written out of the series on Chicago PD Season 10 Episode 3, which aired on Wednesday, Oct. 5. You can read the review here!
The episode titled “Good Man” marked his last appearance in the crime drama. Halstead got personally invested in a case involving a robbery. The men were after pseudoephedrine to make meth. When he responded to the call as a plain-clothes officer, he encountered Lenny, a vet and good samaritan who was trying to diffuse the situation and get as many people to safety. As Halstead pursued the two offenders, Lenny jumped in the line of fire and took a bullet aimed at a pregnant woman. He ended up at Gaffney in a “touch and go” medical state, though his efforts were praised. That is until Upton realized that Lenny was paid out for the robbery. When Halstead and Upton went back to question him, he admitted he was the lookout guy for some money, but since he was dying, he didn’t want them to inform his family about what he’d done. Shortly after his confession, Lenny died.
Halstead didn’t feel comfortable dragging Lenny’s name through the mud as he knew the repercussions it would have on his family, but Upton didn’t agree, noting this was the only way to make a case. Halstead decided to take it upon himself and got evidence of where the drug lab was located. He promised Lenny’s wife he would leave him out of it, which technically made the evidence unusable. However, Halstead still went to the warehouse to scope things out. He was ambushed by Benny, the man making the drugs, and a tussle ensued. Benny overpowered Halstead, who had no choice but to use his pocket knife and stab him several times. Benny died as Halstead looked on in sheer horror at what he’d done.
Upton and Voight arrived and immediately began crafting a cover story. “We’re doing it again,” Halstead exclaimed, suggesting that this has become a toxic pattern. The next day, he went to the bureau hoping to tell the truth, but he was hailed as a hero for helping to clean up the streets of Chicago. He was also told Lenny was being honored in death, with his family reaping the benefits, so Halstead decided to stay quiet. He then tended his resignation by putting down his badge. Upton was shocked as she didn’t know about his decision in advance, and when she tried to talk him out of it, he insisted that this is what needed to be done. If she loved him, she needed to let him go. He also informed her that he was leaving later that day for an 8-month contract in Bolivia where he would be taking down the worst drug cartels in the world alongside his fellow vets.
As Halstead made his way to the airport, Voight pulled up for an official goodbye. He surmised that Halstead never wanted to be him, to which Halstead replied that it was worse, he did want to be him, but Voight always reminded him that he wasn’t and shouldn’t keep trying.
Voight acknowledged his decision and Halstead walked away from Intelligence and his life in Chicago for the foreseeable future.
The following post was written before Season 10 Episode 3 aired:
Halstead has been with the franchise from the beginning, making several appearances on PD’s sister shows, Chicago Fire and Chicago Med, so his departure is an emotional one for fans. Many viewers have long felt that he’s the glue holding Intelligence together, and he’s definitely the heart of the team, ensuring that Voight (Jason Beghe) stays in line. Some even thought he would be the one to take the reins from Voight upon his retirement, so Soffer’s decision to leave has come as quite a shock.
Naturally, fans want to know how he’s going to leave the team, the series, and his wife Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos), along with when it’s going to happen. We’d rather plan accordingly than be blindsided!
While there’s not much information about the events surrounding his departure, the series is building up to it with the season 10 premiere setting up a conflict between Halstead and Upton, which bled into the second episode of the season. The way things are between them this season isn’t what fans are used to from this couple; it’s not “us” as Upton pointed out. And it’s not like Halstead to lie to Upton or buddy up with Voight.
Voight made sure to underscore that their personal feelings cannot affect the job anymore in the premiere, noting, “If it ever shows up on the job again, the three of us, we’re not working together anymore, understood?” as Upton informed him that if he keeps up his rogue behavior, he’s going to lose Jay.
However, one could argue that Halstead’s loyalty to Voight also makes sense as he previously asked his sergeant to be upfront with him about any rogue decisions before they happen so he can help out. Maybe that’s what’s happening here, and Halstead is lying to Upton to protect her so that she’s not dragged into it again.
Some fans have suggested that it’s possible Voight is trying to help Halstead get a new job, though, I’m not convinced that he would just choose to leave his wife to pursue a different life path without her input.
And while Halstead’s motives may seem questionable for now, showrunner Gwen Sigan assured TV Insider that “it’s going to make sense to the fans when they see the episode that is his exit. We wanted it to be really a showcase for Halstead and who he is and what Jesse has meant to this show,” adding that Soffer’s performance is “one of his best.”
It seems like it’s a real possibility that Chicago PD Season 10 Episode 3 airing on Wednesday, Oct. 5, might be the end of the road for our loyal detective, if not a clear sign that it’s the beginning of the end.
The promo for the episode starts off with menacing music as Halstead, in civilian clothes, explains, “I’m here to tell the truth.”
“One bad act doesn’t make you a bad person,” he continues, sounding pretty guilty about something from his past. It’s also possible he’s vouching for Voight, who he’s been supportive of since Anna died.
Halstead has always been the voice of reason who sometimes has to do bad and immoral things to protect the ones he loves. The line of duty comes at a cost, and maybe it’s one he’s no longer willing to pay.
The teaser attempts to keep things suspenseful with the text overlay reading, “For Someone, This Is the End,” which points right to Jay as we all know he’s leaving. And the ending, which shows Hailey in tears as she looks at Jay in disbelief, seems to seal the deal.
This could very well be Jay’s final episode. It’s possible he confessed to everything and there’s no going back to Intelligence. Maybe he took the blame for what went down with Anna to further protect Upton and his team and clear his conscience?
If you’re not ready to say goodbye just yet, there is a glimmer of hope still as a few fans pointed out that Soffer was spotted filming recent episodes, and since he’s departing sometime in the fall, it would likely put his exit at possibly episode 8 or 9 of the season, and in that case, something major must happen in episode 3 that likely puts Halstead on a path that he’s going to realize he can no longer walk on.
And, as one fan pointed out, his exit, whatever it may be, will bring his character-arc full circle because he’s about to do to Hailey what Erin did to him all those years ago.
Sagan suggested that Halstead’s exit will throw Upton for a loop, which does kind of sound like there’s a falling out between the couple. Or maybe Halstead has just realized that he needs to start putting himself first for a change.
Either way, it’s hard on Upton: “Upton is going to have some fallout, yeah. It’s a tough place for her to be in. She is just so connected to Halstead who not only is her husband but also her partner. They are so so threaded together in their lives and so to see her on her own and have to navigate that—she certainly gets into some really interesting territory this season as she’s trying to navigate that. She’s someone that’s not necessarily the best at dealing with her emotions. She likes to be in control and likes to feel like she has control of her headspace,” Sagan clarified.
Hopefully, as they wrap up Halstead’s storyline and do his character justice, they’ll also give fans one more Halstead brothers moment with Will on Med. We deserve it!
Only time will tell what Halstead’s exit will truly look like, but one thing is for certain—it will be devastating to longtime fans nonetheless.
Chicago PD Review – True Believer (10×2)
Ruzek took the spotlight on Chicago PD Season 10 Epsiode 2, though the rest of the cast also got to shine as they pursued a violent criminal that escaped police custody with aid from a prison guard.
If it sounds like a storyline ripped from the headlines, well, that’s because it’s kind of similar to a story that gripped the nation by storm over the summer months. A prison guard fell in love with a convicted criminal, falling prey to his conman ways and manipulation all under the guise of true love. Unlike reality where the naive guard became the victim, in the episode, the criminal’s fate was sealed with a round of bullets from Burgess’ gun.
Still, the chase to nab Dale Wilken, a man from Ruzek’s past that questioned his integrity as a cop was one hell of a ride. Dale swiftly evaded police with Tiana’s help, and the desire to get him was intensified by his comments that attempted to paint Ruzek as a dirty cop.
I know a lawyer’s job is to clear his or her client’s name, but pulling out 17 citizen complaints against Ruzek to prove that he didn’t do his job legally was a low blow. Had the judge thought those complaints were sustained, she would have let out a very dangerous criminal into the world. It was also frustrating because it forced Ruzek to second guess himself out of fear. Burgess assured him they saw a gun in plain sight in a duffel, but he questioned whether or not that was the case, and if Burgess hadn’t made the call, they wouldn’t have gotten any closer to tracking down Dale.
Dale was so dangerous, in fact, that he killed a young 10-year-old girl simply to steal a getaway car. You would think that would have made Tiana see the light, but she was convinced that Dale was an innocent man who was framed by a bad cop. She wanted so badly to believe it that she couldn’t see otherwise. She ate his story up, and the blinders were on for a long time because she refused to accept that she may have been led on. It’s heartbreaking because Dale preyed on a woman who was at her lowest, going through a divorce and dealing with depression, for his own personal gain. She didn’t deserve any of it—she just wanted a bit of happiness.
But everything he did came from a selfish place, including Cloey’s death.
When children die on criminal shows, it breaks me, but it’s even worse when the death is so pointless. Cloey’s death was a necessary turning point for the plot, however, because it made catching Dale and bringing him to justice that much more pressing. He didn’t care who he killed, he shot anyone who got in his way. Truthfully, I’m certain that if Dale got away with his plan and went off to Miami with Tiana, she would turn up dead once he no longer needed anything from her.
Eventually, Tiana cracked when Ruzek showed her the letters Dale wrote to other women, all featuring the same message he once sent her about their romance. It’s in that moment that Tiana truly understood the gravity of her actions and what she let Dale get away with. It was late, but it wasn’t too late as her intel allowed them to track Dale down to Hawk’s house before they found him aboard a bus to Miami.
When Burgess confronted him, he locked himself in the bathroom, and she unloaded her revolver making sure she didn’t miss.
It was a boss move, but again, Burgess knew she was up against a ruthless man.
Seeing Cloey who was about Makayla’s age lose her life definitely left an impression on both Burgess and Ruzek. It seemed to finally hit Burgess that Ruzek is a good man. She’s starting to believe in him as the stable and constant presence in Mac’s life. He’s been there for his two girls for quite some time just waiting for Burgess to come around to the idea of their unconventional family. This lightness is one of my favorite things about the show. The man spent his time making Mack a birdhouse for crying out loud; this is the kind of man who cares about his family and prioritizes them!
Personally, I couldn’t care less about Halstead and Upton’s marriage as it consistently feels forced, now more than ever as the series attempts to find a way to write Halstwad out. Since he started siding with Voight on things and helping him out, he’s been more disconnected and distanced from Upton, which will likely be what breaks them in the long run.
It sure seems like a decade in Intelligence is starting to take its toll on Halstead, and how could it not? It’s a dark gig that’s only getting darker.
What did you think of the episode? Did you like that they connected the case back to Ruzek’s past? Would you have preferred it be a case from before that fans were familiar with?
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