For fans of the hit NBC show Chicago PD, Jay Halstead was a beloved character. So, when news broke that actor Jesse Lee Soffer would be leaving the show, many were asking “Why Did Jay Leave Chicago PD?’
We will explore the circumstances surrounding Jay’s departure from Chicago PD, and how it affected the show going forward.
Why Did Jay Leave Chicago P.D?
According to Jesse Lee, he thought so hard about how to answer this question, and there’s no good answer. He stated that he was just ready for more.
Fans were shocked to learn that Soffer would leave the show in its tenth season, saying farewell to a role he has played for nearly a decade.
With his sudden departure, fans were left wondering what would happen to his on-screen partner and wife Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos), as well as his close friends and fellow Intelligence members Kevin Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins) and Adam Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger).
Soffer disclosed in February 2023 that he had decided to depart the drama after the ninth season, adding, “I’ve thought so hard about how to answer this question — and there’s no good answer.”
Soffer spoke out to Variety and shared additional details about his choice, eventually revealing that the reason for his departure was simple: he simply felt it was time to move on.
Jay Halstead on Chicago P.D.
Soffer debuted as US Army veteran and investigator Jay Halstead in the criminal thriller series Chicago P.D. in 2014, the third installment in Dick Wolf’s gripping Chicago franchise.
Halstead had previously starred in 18 episodes of Chicago Fire before joining Detective Sergeant Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) and his special Intelligence Unit in the successful spin-off.
Soffer’s performance in The Mob Doctor, as well as his work in the unaired pilot for Hatfields & McCoys, wowed NBC creators and executives, and he went on to join talented talents like Jon Seda, Sophia Bush, and Patrick John Flueger in the gritty, action-packed show.
Soffer immediately became a fan favorite in the series, with audiences admiring the honorable and self-assured detective who wasn’t hesitant to question Voight’s actions and motives while standing up for what he believed in.
Throughout his time with Intelligence, Halstead faced a considerable lot of emotional and professional pressure, eventually becoming Voight’s right-hand man and a hardened leader.
Jesse Lee’s Surprise Return
Fans were happy when Soffer returned to his Chicago family to direct “Deadlocked,” the sixteenth episode of the tenth season, even if many had hoped he would return as the truthful detective.
The episode featured Voight doing what he does best—embracing his distinct approaches to obtaining justice and apprehending the offender—and marked Soffer’s debut as a director.
Following the completion of filming, Soffer disclosed that Jason Beghe, his former co-star, had given him accolades for his camera work, saying, “Bro, as far as maiden voyages go, this is effing spectacular.”
As of right now, Soffer has no intentions to reprise his role as Halstead, but he hasn’t ruled out a comeback either, telling NBC Insider that “the door is never closed” and to “never say never.” Soffer went on to say that he feels sorry for the show’s viewers and urges them to never give up.
While we’ll miss seeing Jesse Lee Soffer on our screens each week, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for the other characters and the show as a whole.
So, whether you’re a long-time fan of Chicago PD or just getting into the show, we hope you’ll continue to tune in for all the drama and excitement. Who knows, maybe there’s another fan-favorite character waiting in the wings!