Contains SPOILERS for Chicago PD season 10The Chicago PD season 10 premiere secretly reveals why Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) needs to leave Intelligence. Part of Hank Voight’s (Jason Beghe) initial deal to spearhead the PD unit was that he can personally handpick the members of his specialized police force cell. That means each member of Intelligence has a designated role, so losing even just one disrupts their whole operations. This is why there’s so much concern over Halstead’s impending departure from Voight’s squad.
When news broke out that Soffer is leaving Chicago PD season 10, not a lot of details were revealed. This prompted several questions, including how exactly Halstead will be written out of the show. His forthcoming exit is much trickier to execute because he has just gotten married to his long-time partner, Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos), and made a breakthrough with his complicated relationship with Voight. Despite this, the Chicago PD season 10, episode 1 titled “Let It Bleed” secretly offered an explanation why it’s time for him to exit the One Chicago police procedural.
The action-packed Chicago PD season 10 premiere mainly focused on the fallout from the season 9 finale which featured the death of Voight’s civilian informant (CI), Anna Avalos (Carmela Zumbaldo), which in turn put pressure on the already volatile dynamic among Halstead, Upton, and Voight. Unlike his wife, Halstead puts up with Voight’s disregard for Intelligence, consistently defending his actions and refusing to call him out on his questionable decisions. This is surprising considering that Halstead tends to be the one to confront Voight for his past suspicious behaviors. Simply put, it seems like Halstead has become like every member of Intelligence — followers of Voight and loyal to a fault. Unfortunately, the team doesn’t need any more of this; the fact that Halstead can question some of Voight’s choices is what makes him so valuable to Intelligence. Without that, he doesn’t really add anything new to the squad’s dynamic and that’s bad for Chicago PD’s storytelling.
Why Soffer’s Halstead Is Leaving Chicago PD
Jay Halstead standing at a Crime Scene
Aside from confirming the report that Halstead is leaving Chicago PD, Soffer has been mum about the matter. NBC has also revealed very little about the real reason for his departure, leaving space for speculation that like Kelly Giddish who has been allegedly forced out of Law & Order: SVU, the actor has also been booted out of the Dick Wolf-produced procedural. There hasn’t been any concrete proof to back this up, and until an official reason is revealed by either Soffer or NBC, it’s best to not make any assumptions. In any case, this isn’t the first time that an actor chooses to leave a project after working on it for years. Chicago Fire just lost Matthew Casey in season 10 after Jesse Spencer decided to return to Australia with his family rather than continue living in Chicago where the One Chicago shows are being filmed.
Halstead was meant to be Voight’s Intelligence replacement after functioning as the team’s moral compass for years. His change in demeanor towards the Sergeant, however, somehow makes him less valuable to Chicago PD’s overall dynamic. That doesn’t mean that he won’t be sorely missed on the show. Luckily, however, Upton has shown signs that she is willing to hold Voight accountable — a role that her husband has long played.