Chicago PD fans knew the exit was coming. Still, seeing Jay Halstead walk away from the 21st Wednesday night was akin to a gut shot.
Jesse Lee Soffer, who portrayed Halstead since Chicago PD premiered in January, 2014, shared a message for his fans a few moments after the show aired. The Halstead-centric episode was “A Good Watch.”
“For anyone that’s ever been a Halstead fan, I just want you to know that I’m grateful. Thank you for going on this journey with me. I’m just grateful,” Soffer wrote.
Then he continued with another tweet minutes later. It was pretty obvious that Chicago PD fans were overwhelming his time line.
“If I could like every single tweet I would,” Soffer tweeted. “I appreciate all the love. It means so much to me. Thank you.”
News broke in August that Soffer planned to leave Chicago PD. But no one knew whether his character would die or simply be written off the show. An hour before Halstead turned in his badge, sister show Chicago Fire experienced a loss when Evan Hawkins (Jimmy Nicholas), the paramedic field chief, died after a theater collapsed on him. The show didn’t spare many details. The firefighters lifted Hawkins’ lifeless body — his eyes still were open — as Violet, his girlfriend, screamed to let her help.
Then Chicago PD followed with another emotional wallop. But at least Halstead walked off alive. He’s headed to Bolivia as part of an Army special unit that tracks down drug cartels. Doesn’t sound dangerous at all, right? He barely had time to say good bye to his wife, fellow intelligence officer Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos). He told Upton that the Army is “black and white; good and bad. It’s no more of this.” And he called Upton the love of his life and said she needs to let him go.
Voight (Jason Beghe) bid his good bye to Halstead at the airport. And Halstead told his boss “I do want to be you. But it’s like you’ve always told me: I’m not, and I shouldn’t try.”
Halstead was never one to allow police procedure to get in his way. He stabbed a suspect to death Wednesday night, then turned in his badge.
Wolf Entertainment, which produces the show, tweeted their farewells to Soffer. “A talent like no other. Jesse Lee Soffer thank you for 10 years.
Earlier Wednesday, Soffer shared some photos from the Chicago PD set. He captioned the snaps “I left it all out there for this one.”
The One Chicago shows love to do crossovers, so Soffer also has appeared many times on Chicago Fire and Chicago Med. But his character also has a unique tie to Chicago Med. Dr. Will Halstead on Med is Jay’s brother. And Nick Gehlfuss, who plays Will, said good bye to his on-screen relative and off-screen true friend.
“Do you remember when you welcomed me to this whole franchise,” Gehlfuss said in a video posted to Twitter. “I will never forget you were so kind, patient and really helpful. It was daunting at the time for me, but you made it easier. Then we developed a wonderful relationship … I’m really going to miss you man. You’re never going to be a better golfer than me.”