Chicago P.D.'s Jesse Lee Soffer And Tracy Spiridakos Talk Upstead's New Dynamics With Voight In Season 9

chicago pd season 9 halstead upton voight nbc
(Image credit: NBC)

Chicago P.D.'s midseason finale in December finally resolved the Roy Walton problem that had been hanging over the heads of Voight, Upton, and Halstead, but the effects of how Halstead got the FBI off their backs without flipping on Voight will continue to impact the characters in the second half of Season 9. Not only did Halstead and Upton get married and strengthen their bond as a duo, but they also are each going to see Voight in a different light. Actors Jesse Lee Soffer and Tracy Spiridakos previewed to CinemaBlend what’s up with Upstead when it comes to their new dynamics with Voight.

Although Jay Halstead has generally been seen as the member of the Intelligence Unit most likely to stick to the straight and narrow – to the point that even FBI Agent North brought it up – he has also crossed the line more than once over the years. Blackmailing North to drop the case against him, Upton, and Voight wasn’t his first move that wasn’t entirely above board, and Jesse Lee Soffer weighed in on what’s next for Halstead after making that move:

Halstead definitely has done some things that were really not okay. Wasn't he dating a drug dealer at one point? [laughs] I mean, there's times where Voight really steps into the dark side. The writers do such a good job of writing him working towards justice while doing things that can be very unjust sometimes. Not unjust, but unlawful. So Jay isn't so much a breaker of the law, but I think Jay respects and understands that Voight is a necessity, and that someone like Voight, who's willing to do... He's like Batman. He's willing to do the dark thing, for the right reason. And so I think Jay wants to protect that, but in protecting that he has to protect Voight from himself. So I think Jay going to Voight and saying 'Bring me in and help me help you,' does put them a little more in equal standing. But not that Jay has done something so wrong, or there's dirt on Jay too, I think it's just an understanding between the two characters.

Voight rarely holds back from crossing lines when he can get away with it, although the midseason finale delivered a reminder that he does truly care for the cops in his unit when he told Halstead to flip on him. Voight is aware that he’ll probably one day be caught and not able to wriggle out of trouble again; Halstead just wasn’t willing to let that happen yet, and now he’s going to be on more even footing with his boss. Whether that lasts and how well both men will adjust to it remains to be seen, but it definitely should be a different dynamic than viewers have seen from them before. 

And the Halstead/Voight dynamic isn’t the only one that will change between the three characters who were caught up in the whole mess with Roy’s death. When I asked how the whole ordeal will affect the characters’ loyalty to Voight moving forward in Season 9, Tracy Spiridakos shared Upton’s perspective:

You know, I think Hailey used to have Voight on a bit of a pedestal, and I think that that's changed now for her. I think that she still respects him and loves him like family, but I think that what has happened has completely shifted her point of view and has shifted how she sees him. I'm not sure what's coming up because I haven't seen. We're still on Episode 13 right now, so I don't know what's coming up throughout the season. But I feel like that dynamic is going to be definitely different for her going forward, between the two of them for sure.

“Family” has always been complicated for Upton, so it should be interesting to see how her interactions with Voight change in the second half of Season 9. After all, it’s at least somewhat due to his influence that she started crossing major lines herself, but he’s no longer on a pedestal for her. Throw in her marriage to Halstead, whose own dynamic with their boss has changed, and the status quo for Upstead and Voight could be something brand new. 

As for what exactly comes next for all three characters, the actors didn’t spoil what fans should expect, but they did share what they’re excited to explore in the second half of Season 9. Tracy Spiridakos shared: 

I'm excited to see what [showrunner Gwen Sigan] has in store for us. You know, it's TV. No one's gonna be happy for long, I'm sure. Something's gonna happen! I'm excited to see what that is. I can't think of anything in particular, conflict-wise, between the two of them. That would be interesting to see, but I'm sure there's some stuff.

Season 9 has gone through a change behind the scenes with previous showrunner Rick Eid departing to focus on another corner of the Dick Wolf TV universe, with writer and executive producer Gwen Sigan promoted to take on the P.D. showrunning duties. The in-house promotion of Sigan may mean that there won’t be many detectable changes as the show continues under her guidance, but only time will tell on that front. Jesse Lee Soffer chimed in with his own thoughts on what he’s excited to explore:

Yeah, I mean, there's always conflict with the two characters. Cases getting away, things happen, you know. There's secrets, there's always something going on. So that'll continue. I'm excited to see this different dynamic between Voight and Jay play out a little bit. And maybe have Voight bring Jay into the fold a little bit more and lean on him a little bit more. You know, I think that that's going to be interesting for the fans.

Fortunately, the winter hiatus for Chicago P.D. is nearly at an end, and fans will get to see the full Intelligence Unit back in action. The midseason premiere appears to focus on Burgess and Ruzek with some concern for young Makayla, but viewers can look forward to Upton and Halstead breaking the news to their coworkers that they secretly tied the knot

P.D. returns to NBC on Wednesday, January 5 at 10 p.m. ET with its first episode of the new year, following Chicago Fire at 9 p.m. ET and Chicago Med at 8 p.m. ET. For when more of television’s biggest shows return in the new year, check out our 2022 winter and spring premiere schedule!

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).