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Jesse Lee Soffer Sounds Off on His ‘Chicago P.D.’ Character Jay Halstead Ghosting Hailey Upton After His 2022 Show Exit

Jesse Lee Soffer Sounds Off on His ‘Chicago P.D.’ Character Jay Halstead Ghosting Hailey Upton After His 2022 Show Exit - 193
Jesse Lee Soffer.Lori Allen/NBC

Still team Upstead? Jesse Lee Soffer revealed what he really thinks of how Chicago P.D. has handled his character Jay Halstead’s relationship with Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos) since his 2022 exit.

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“I know the fans are upset because, like, ‘This isn’t the Jay that we know and love! Why isn’t he calling? Why is he doing this?!’ But, you know, the show must go on,” Soffer, 38, told Variety in an interview published on Wednesday, February 22, of how Halstead is treating Upton during season 10. “I don’t think I really have the right to feel any way about that. The writers have to do what they have to do to service the story and the characters that are still there.”

The In Time actor explained: “Also, our show’s pretty dark, and they love diving into the ugliest, hardest version of life. So for Hailey to have to go through this, it probably just made sense.”

Jesse Lee Soffer Sounds Off on His ‘Chicago P.D.’ Character Jay Halstead Ghosting Hailey Upton After His 2022 Show Exit - 194
Jesse Lee Soffer, Tracy Spiridakos. Lori Allen/NBC

Soffer announced in August 2022 that he was leaving the NBC drama after 10 seasons. At the time, fans were surprised as he was one of the show’s original stars — and his character has just married his partner Upton during season 9.

“To create this hour drama week after week has been a labor of love by everyone who touches the show,” the Mob Doctor alum said in a statement at the time. “I will always be proud of my time as Det. Jay Halstead.”

Spiridakos, for her part, gushed over her scene partner via social media in August. “Jesse, what can I say, you’re the absolute best,” the 35-year-old actress wrote in an Instagram tribute. “Thank you for your kindness, your guidance and your friendship. You’re the greatest onscreen husband a girl could ask for.”

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During season 10, episode 3’s “A Good Man,” which aired in October 2022, fans finally learned how Halstead would be written off the show. After teetering on the edge of good and bad, Halstead told his wife that he took a job with a special task force in Bolivia to deal with drug cartels. He revealed he would be gone for least eight months.

“It’s black and white, it’s good and bad, it’s right and wrong, and it’s no more of this,” he told Upton during one of the final scenes. “I need that. I need that back. I fly out today. It’s not forever, it’s eight months, maybe a little longer. But I swear to you that we’re ‘gonna get through this because you’re the love of my life, and if I’m yours, then you’ll know that you have to let me go.”

Despite being heartbroken, Upton let Halstead leave. When he got to the airport, his boss, Hank Voight (Jason Beghe), was there to try and change his mind. Halstead, however, convinced Voight that it was the right more for him and the sergeant also agreed to let him spread his wings.

In Halstead’s absence, Upton got hooked on one case after the other, barely going home and picking up extra shifts so she wasn’t alone. It wasn’t until season 10, episode 12, that viewers got the first real update on Halstead’s status in South America.

During the “I Can Let You Go” episode, which aired on January 18, Upton revealed she had been trying for weeks to reach her husband. She finally went to to Halstead’s new boss in hopes of learning whether he is OK and when he’s coming home.

Unfortunately, she was told by his supervisor that he already upped his tour and there was no end date in sight. It was only then that Upton began to to realize that Halstead may never be coming back. She didn’t, however, take off her wedding band at the time.

Jesse Lee Soffer Sounds Off on His ‘Chicago P.D.’ Character Jay Halstead Ghosting Hailey Upton After His 2022 Show Exit - 195
Jesse Lee Soffer, Tracy Spiridakos. Lori Allen/NBC

“She still considers herself still married,” Spiridakos told Variety in January after the episode aired. “I think her taking [her ring] off, I’m sure there will be a moment that will come. I assume that’s coming. I’m interested to see what that will be like. Is that a goodbye? Is that self preservation? … I’d like to explore what that feels like to have been in such a raw place and she’s not overly open anyway. I feel that she probably will just shut that door for a long time.”

Soffer, meanwhile, told Variety in his cover story published on Wednesday that Halstead is “deeply flawed because everybody on Chicago P.D. is. But he’s definitely a good person, with really good motives.”

The As the World Turns alum noted how conflicted he feels about Halstead seemingly ghosting Upton after he walked away from the series. “I feel so bad for the fans that are like, ‘Is he going to come back?’ ‘What’s he going to do?’ ‘What’s going on with him and Hailey?’” he told the outlet. “I like to think — and I hope the fans think this too — that he’s just in another country right now, doing what he does best and making the world a safer place. In a family, sometimes somebody moves away or goes to college somewhere else.”

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The New York native added that an Upstead onscreen reunion is “definitely not” out of the question in the future. “I still love it. I still love the fans. And I still love Halstead,” he concluded. “Halstead’s always going to be in my blood. That’s never going to change.”

Earlier this month, Soffer teased his return to the Chicago P.D. set — but he didn’t reprise his role. Instead, he worked with his former castmates behind the scenes as the director for an upcoming season 10 episode, which will air in March.

“Director Jesse made his debut, and he killed it you guys! 👏🏼👏🏼 We are all so proud 🥲🤗,” Spiridakos captioned a series of photos from his comeback on February 7, including a selfie with Soffer and Beghe.

Chicago P.D. airs on NBC Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET.

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