Chicago P.D.'s Jesse Lee Soffer Explains The 'Tricky' Thing About Returning And Origin Of Wanting To Direct
Jesse Lee Soffer returned to Chicago P.D. to step behind the camera, and the former star opened up about his directing experience in Season 10.
Jesse Lee Soffer left Chicago P.D. as a series regular after more than 200 episodes of One Chicago action (including Fire and Med), and Season 10 has had to move on without Jay Halstead in the mix. The actor didn’t stay gone from the show for long, however, as Soffer stepped behind the camera to direct the next episode of NBC’s hit drama. Called “Deadlocked,” the episode will put a dangerous spin on a murder trial for Voight and Intelligence, and Soffer spoke with CinemaBlend about returning to direct, including what was “tricky” about it.
“Deadlocked” will be Jesse Lee Soffer’s directing debut, which was announced just a couple of weeks after Chicago P.D. said goodbye to Jay Halstead. Soffer was certainly familiar with the show beforehand thanks to nine full seasons as a star under his belt, along with the first three installments of Season 10. When he spoke with CinemaBlend, he opened up about the origin of his desire to direct. According to Soffer, he’s been wanting to pursue directing for much longer than fans might have guessed, as he said:
Directing wasn’t a dream of Soffer’s that he just came up with as recently as the end of Season 9, but something that had been "growing" for several years. Him returning as a director simply wasn’t announced until after he was already gone from P.D. as an actor. After getting some unofficial experience with directing thanks to his role, he was able to return to his old Windy City stomping grounds and work with his former co-stars in a new way. The actor-turned-director continued:
Asking to direct certainly paid off! Soffer was quickly back on the show's set after finishing Halstead’s story so that he could shadow director Bethany Rooney, who is credited with directing the sixth episode of Season 10 that focused on Atwater. All signs point toward Soffer in his element once he took the reins of his own episode.
Soffer also couldn’t have hoped to make his directing debut on a show on which he had more experience than Chicago P.D., after ten seasons and just shy of 200 episodes. (P.D. hit the 200-episode milestone with a big Burgess episode back in February.) So, did coming back to shadow as a director not too long after finishing as an actor affect Soffer? He explained what got tricky:
Expressing opinions as an actor is apparently very different from expressing opinions when shadowing a director, and Jesse Lee Soffer didn’t spend much time away from the show between saying goodbye to Halstead and preparing to direct. Fans will soon get to see all the decisions he made for the next chapter of the Intelligence Unit’s story once he was able to graduate from shadowing to directing. Soffer shared what it was like to direct his former co-stars:
While Chicago P.D. fans will have to wait until the episode airs on March 22 to see what exactly Jesse Lee Soffer brought to the show as a director, his former co-stars were hyping him while he was back on set. He shared a set of photos, including one of Tracy Spiridakos looking a lot happier than the last time that Upton and Halstead shared a scene (or the upsetting Upstead development earlier this year). Take a look:
A post shared by Jesse Lee Soffer (@jesseleesoffer)
A photo posted by on
Tune in to NBC on Wednesday, March 22 at 10 p.m. ET for the next new episode of Chicago P.D., also available streaming next day with a Peacock Premium subscription. "Deadlocked" will see Voight taking the stand in a murder trial, but Intelligence will have to step up when a juror is compromised. Be sure to check back with CinemaBlend after the episode for more from Jesse Lee Soffer!
Chicago P.D. continues to close out a full night of One Chicago action, following Chicago Fire at 9 p.m. and Chicago Med at 8 p.m. on NBC. For some more viewing options in the not-too-distant future, check out our 2023 TV premiere schedule.
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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. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.
By Megan Behnke