‘Chicago PD’: How Much Say Does Tracy Spiridakos Get in Creating Hailey Upton’s Story?

by Anna Dunn

Tracy Spiridakos has played Haily Upton on Chicago PD for years. How much sway does she get in crafting Upton’s story? Not all actors get a lot of say in what happens to their characters or how they came to be, but Tracy Spiridakos is in a unique position.

The Chicago PD writer’s room is quite open to suggestions. But they still have a tight ship to run. Some writer’s rooms work more closely with the actors and rest of the people on set than others. But it can often be helpful to work closely with your actors or at least, hear suggestions.

“If I had some ideas that I wanted to throw at them, they’ve always been open to that,” Spiridakos explained in an interview with Awards Daily in 2019. “They definitely want it to be collaborative if something comes up that. They create a lot of the stories and the things that come forward mainly comes from the showrunners and the writers. It’s just so much fun getting to dive into the things that I have been able to dive into.”

So while it sounds like Spiridakos can go to the writer’s room with ideas, it doesn’t look like she has or wants the authority to really change things up. Spiridakos has done some seriously fine work as an actor, however. And it’s nice to know she’d be listened to if she ever has any sort of ideas or problems.

Spiridakos had to Prove Herself Before Becoming a ‘Chicago PD’ Series Regular

Before becoming a series regular on Chicago PD, Spiridakos had to work really hard to prove herself. When she was first added to the show, she would only get more episodes on the condition that she did well with the audience. She’s now a fan-favorite, but the role didn’t come easy. Spiridakos is only 25 but has managed to become one of the top-billed actresses in the One Chicago franchise.

“[The part] came through as an audition that my agents got for me. I put myself on tape for the part,” she said of her audition. “And it came through as a three-episode arc with the potential to stay. At the end of season four, as we were heading into five, they let me know that I’d be coming back.”

Since then Spiridakos has really made her mark on the series. She stars in Chicago PD alongside Sophia Bush, Jesse Lee Soffer, Marina Squerciati, Patrick Flueger, Jason Beghe, and Jon Seda. If you want to watch Chicago PD, the show returns on December 8th.

Chicago PD is a part of the One Chicago franchise with Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, and Chicago PD. The three shows, which are created by Dick Wolf air on Wednesday nights on NBC.