Chicago P.D. alum Jesse Lee Soffer is opening up about his exit from the Dick Wolf procedural earlier this season.
As you’ll recall, Halstead departed the show in Episode 3 after taking a military job in Bolivia, tracking the worst drug cartel targets.
Soffer confirmed to our sister site Variety that he left the show of his own volition. “I really wanted to grow and expand, and we’ve only got this one trip. If I signed up again, it would have been for another three years,” the actor explained. “I would have turned 40 on the show. I thought, ‘You know what? It’s time to take a risk.’”
He continued, “It was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make in my life. 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.”
Halstead’s abrupt exit also resulted in the Chicago cop ghosting his wife Upton, who’s struggled with his absence ever since they exchanged a tearful goodbye. In Episode 12, Upton called up his boss after leaving several unanswered voicemails, only to find out that Halstead requested an extension of his current tour without talking to her. (Read our full recap here.)
Soffer understands why some viewers are upset with this “Upstead” development and Halstead’s recent off-screen actions. “The show must go on,” he noted. “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 former Intelligence detective may be gone for now, but that doesn’t mean he can’t ever return. “Never say never,” Soffer said. “Halstead’s always going to be in my blood. That’s never going to change.”
How are we feeling, #OneChicago fam? What would you like to see if Halstead ever came back to Chicago P.D.?