Chicago P.D.: Here’s Why Halstead Didn’t Appear in the Season 11 Finale

Chicago P.D. vet Jesse Lee Soffer previously said “never say never” to the idea of returning as Det. Jay Halstead and has since directed two episodes: Season 10’s “Deadlocked” and Season 11’s penultimate installment “Inventory.”

Ahead of Wednesday’s finale, the actor shared an Instagram photo of him with former co-star Tracy Spiridakos on set, noting that he’d watched her final episode. So, why didn’t Halstead appear on screen in the season ender? As showrunner Gwen Sigan explains, the hour just wasn’t about him.

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“We definitely considered it. We talked about it a lot,” the Chicago P.D. boss tells TVLine. “We wanted to go through all the different choices of where this character would go, and it really came down to I wanted it to be about [Upton].”

The episode bade farewell to Spiridakos’ Hailey Upton, who turned in her gun and badge after six seasons with Intelligence. She ended the hour riding off to Chicago O’Hare International Airport — though it’s unclear if she took a new job with the FBI, DEA, FEMA or somewhere else. (Get the full scoop on how she left here.)

Jason Beghe and Tracy Spiridakos in Chicago P.D.
Jason Beghe and Tracy Spiridakos in Chicago P.D.

The character struggled throughout the season in the wake of her divorce from Halstead, who’d stopped returning her calls after dashing off to Bolivia to chase cartel targets in Season 10. The finale found her looking for a fresh start elsewhere with much needed encouragement from her mentor and father figure, Voight.

“I just wanted this to be her, and I wanted it to be a choice that she is making and that it’s such an internal thing and it’s such a piece of what she needs, and it’s not really related to really anybody else,” Sigan notes.

Voight serves as the mouthpiece for much of it “because storytelling-wise, you need somebody to talk to so you can get those things out,” the EP adds. “But it’s about her, and it was important because that’s what she needed — just to know that it’s OK to make it about you. That’s why it shook out the way that it did.”

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