‘Chicago P.D.’ Star Jesse Lee Soffer Explains Why His Approach to Portraying a Police Officer Hasn’t Shifted

by Michael Freeman

Playing a police officer in television and movies within the past few years has presented unique challenges. Though the political climate with police officers greatly changed recently, Chicago P.D. star Jesse Lee Soffer says his approach to portraying them has not.

Suzanne from TV Meg interviewed Jesse Lee Soffer and Jason Beghe earlier this year about the show. The first question regarded how differently police officers are perceived now. Interviewers asked if this changed how Jason and Jesse approach how they play their characters. Jesse gave his outlook, which is a blunt “no.”

“No, it hasn’t changed my approach at all. We were actually just talking about this. I think our show does a good job of portraying everyone as a human being. Whether or not you’re on the right or wrong side of the law, whether or not you’re on this side or that side of politics or have an idea, everybody’s human. So, no, my idea of Jay hasn’t changed, but everything is growth.”

Jesse expands further by saying they look at current events on the show. He says Jay is having the same discussions and talks people are in real life.

“You know, “what’s going on in current events?” If we’re playing the reality of it, and we’re truthful, then cops today are seeing things in the news and they’re hearing discussions and they’re having to think about it. So, obviously, that’s going on with Jay; that’s one point that’s going on with everybody. So, that would be the only way that it’s changed the way you absorb the information around you.”

Jesse’s outlook is well-grounded and he’s obviously given this serious thought. At the end of the day, everyone is human, regardless of the uniform they wear.

Jesse Lee Soffer States It’s ‘Always Challenging’ Playing Jay Halstead

While Jesse Lee Soffer said his approach to playing his character hasn’t changed, he admitted to DuJour Magazine it isn’t easy playing Jay Halstead.

Reporting he has really grown into Jay as a character, Soffer said playing a character across several television shows is difficult.

“It’s always challenging. I’m always trying to find the character and trying to change the character and figure out what he’s going through and what he’d be experiencing in a given moment or something like that, but on top of that we’re always learning.”

Luckily, for the police officer aspect, there are always officers on set serving as technical advisors. Soffer is thankful they are “constantly teaching us new tricks of the trade and putting us in scenarios that we haven’t been in before.”

Concluding the job is challenging and there are new experiences to be had, Soffer said Chicago P.D. always has him on his toes.