Halstead, Upton Chicago PD
Credit: NBC screenshot

It’s been tough to move on!

As viewers have very much been vocal about, Chicago PD just hasn’t been quite the same since Halstead left at the beginning of the tenth season. It wasn’t a surprise, of course. Jesse Lee Soffer made it clear that he felt it was time to move on and agreed to come back for a few episodes this season to send his character off properly.

But his loss has, to be sure, been felt. Heck, even General Hospital’s Laura Wright was devastated when she had to say goodbye! And in the time since he’s been gone, the fans haven’t exactly been thrilled with Halstead’s seeming callousness in all-but abandoning Hailey.

It does seem a bit out-of-character for Soffer’s beloved cop, and it’s been devastating “Upstead” fans. But, the actor explains in an interview with our sister site Variety, “The writers have to do what they have to do to service the story and the characters that are still there. Also, our show’s pretty dark, and they love diving into the ugliest, hardest version of life.”

CHICAGO P.D. -- "No Way Out" Episode 909 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jesse Lee Soffer as Jay Halstead, Tracy Spiridakos as Hailey -- (Photo by: Lori Allen/NBC)

Well, that didn’t turn out quite as fans imagined.

Credit: Lori Allen/NBC

And what Upton’s going through is pretty ugly and hard. And though Soffer insists his beloved character is still “a good person,” whether or not Halstead ends up coming out of this looking a bit worse for wear, it was time to move on.

“If I signed up again, it would have been for another three years,” he explains to Variety. “I would have turned 40 on the show.” So it was, he decided, time to take a risk and move on. But that doesn’t mean it was an easy choice. “Let’s be honest: I love the fans of our show so much, and I love my fans. I know that they’re still grieving this, and to some degree, I am too.”

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And if he really feels like Halstead needs a bit of a redemption or to at least explain himself, he could always return, right? Someday. Maybe.

“Never say never,” Soffer admits of a possible return. “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?’”

Even if they don’t reunite and Soffer just returns for a brief stint, it could at least give fans a bit of closure. Sometimes, that’s all we can ask for.

“I still love it,” he concludes of his time on the show. “I still love the fans. And I still love Halstead. Halstead’s always going to be in my blood. That’s never going to change.”

Check out our photo gallery of sister show Chicago Fire‘s stars with their real-life loves!