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‘Chicago P.D.’ Boss Details Decision Behind Olinsky’s Fate and Why It ‘Needed’ to Happen – Plus What’s Next for Voight (Exclusive)

Warning: this post contains spoilers from the Wednesday, May 9, finale of Chicago. P.D.

That’s all for Alvin Olinsky. Season 5 of Chicago P.D. came to a heartbreaking end in the first few moments of the finale, revealing that after being stabbed in prison, Al (Elias Koteas) had died during surgery. The news was quickly delivered to a very angry Voight (Jason Beghe), who spent the rest of the episode seeking vengeance for the stabbing.

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After the entire Intelligence Unit tracked down the man who had ordered the hit on Al, Voight shot and killed the man who had his hands in the air. However, he told the higher ups that the man was reaching or a weapon – luckily, he did have a gun on him, one that Voight didn’t even see.

The episode concluded with Voight alone on a rooftop, pouring out a drink for his best friend and then completely sobbing and apologizing to Olinksy. The decision to kill off the character was one made in the writers’ room, showrunner Rick Eid tells Us Weekly, noting that it just had to happen in order to move the story forward.

Elias Koteas as Alvin Olinsky on Chicago P.D.
Elias Koteas as Alvin Olinsky on Chicago P.D. Parrish Lewis/NBC

“It just evolved from a storytelling perspective. Once we started down the road of Woods and Voight going at each other, Bingham’s body being recovered and Olinsky’s DNA being found on that body, we started playing it out to its creative, dramatic conclusion, it just felt like an interesting way to wrap up that storyline,” Eid says. “I think the real creative idea behind it all was that we felt like Voight killing Bingham needed to ultimately, cost him something. There needed to be a consequence to what he did. We thought that possibly losing his best friend became this interesting idea that we all gravitated toward. We could see this long arc playing out in that direction.”

Read Us Weekly’s full Q&A with Eid below. (This interview was conducted before the announcement that Chicago P.D. has been renewed!)

Us Weekly: What was it like telling Elias?
Rick Eid: It’s hard. It’s brutal because Elias is a great guy, a terrific actor. That part is just horrible.

Us: How long ago was that?
RE: So it was a hard decision because we all really liked it creatively – it just felt like there was honesty to the story telling that we all got excited about – then came the practical reality of “Wait, he’s one of our favorite characters and one of our favorite actors and favorite people in real life.” All that stuff was just really hard. I think we finally all got on the same page and said, “Wow we’re really gonna do this,” probably a week before we started shooting that episode. It was truly just one of those things that just evolved from storytelling and at the end of 20 “What If’s,” everybody kept coming back to this idea of how this would impact Voight.

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Us: I want to talk about the delivery of the news. The doctor didn’t come out and slowly tell everyone. It was very casually mentioned to Voight in passing. Was there a discussion behind that?
RE: This part was actually done in consultation with Elias. When we talked about everything, he was really protective of his character and wanted me to be protective of his character and death and how he went out. He said that Olinsky wasn’t a sentimental character, he didn’t want his death to be overly sentimental in the show. He didn’t think it would be right. I promised him I would do our best to give Olinsky the send-off he deserved. That was something we collaborated with Elias on. He’s a man from the streets, kind of, and his character lived that way and died that way. It felt real, it felt honest. People don’t always die the way you want them to at the time you want them to. You don’t always get these moments of goodbyes. That felt like Alvin Olinsky.

Us: Assuming you get picked up, what does the future look like? Voight doesn’t really have family left besides Intelligence.
RE: It’s going to be interesting to see what happens to Hank Voight in season 6. He’s alone and left with a lot of guilt and anger. We really need to dig into that idea, where we find Voight and where we go.

Jason Beghe as Hank Voight and Elias Koteas as Alvin Olinsky on Chicago P.D. Matt Dinerstein/NBC

Us: Antonio (Jon Seda) is also in a strange place. Where do you see that going long term? Is this case going to continue of if Voight pulled the trigger on someone whose arms were up?
RE: I think so. That’s definitely something we need to address in the premiere. That’s all real stuff, not a fake universe. Antonio’s relationship with Voight is pretty interesting in that I think they both really like and respect each other but have a different way of doing it and a different code. It’s fun to dramatize those moments when they don’t see things the same way. In many ways, they’re both right. That’s what makes them interesting.

Us: Sophia Bush left at the end of last season and Tracy Spiridakos came in. With Elias leaving, do you have any plans to bring on someone new or someone maybe we’ve already met?
RE: We don’t have any immediate plans to introduce a character. Olinsky’s departure certainly wasn’t because another person was coming in. On any show, you’re always open to a new character appearing if you can come up with the right character and interesting role for that character … and the right actor to play that role.

Us: When thinking of next season, do you plan on having a time jump? Or will the show pick up right away, showing a funeral, etc.?
RE: We may. Those are things we need to think about and figure out. Given everything that just happened, honestly I’m just trying to process it all myself, what’s all happened, where we go from there. There are some balls in the air that we need to address. The short answer is I’m not sure where we’re going to pick up and kick off season 6.

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Us: It’s hard to say goodbye!
RE: It really was! Everybody really liked Elias and Olinsky. So it was very emotional for everybody. He’s a big part of the show and a fantastic actor and a great guy. It was a hard thing. The real life part of it is very hard.

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