Chicago P.D.'s Tracy Spiridakos And Jesse Lee Soffer Break Down The 'Great' Change For Upstead's Big Scene, And What Comes Next

Warning: spoilers are ahead for Chicago P.D.’s Season 9 midseason finale, called “A Way Out.”

Chicago P.D. delivered a surprisingly happy ending with the “A Way Out” midseason finale for Tracy Spiridakos’ Hailey Upton and Jesse Lee Soffer’s Jay Halstead as they finally caught a break. He made some risky moves to clear them from the FBI’s investigation into Roy’s death, and they finally had something to celebrate. And for Upstead in this episode, celebrating meant going to the courthouse to get married and coming home to – in the words of Tracy Spiridakos – “consummate the marriage." The stars spoke with CinemaBlend about the episode, how their big scene changed from the script, and what happens next.

Considering that it wasn’t so long ago that Upton was literally scratching herself bloody from the guilt and Halstead was struggling to process the secret, seeing them happily get married and start their lives together was something that few people could have seen coming before “A Way Out.” When I spoke with the stars about the episode, they weighed in on whether there was a sense of relief that Upstead finally caught a break without any dangerous midseason finale cliffhangers, with Tracy Spiridakos explaining:

I really liked the way that they wrote it, personally. I think that not having a big wedding just makes way more sense. I love that it was kind of a spontaneous spur of the moment thing, and it was just for the two of them in that moment. They've been through what they've been through. Throughout the entire time that they've been working together when they were partners, and they were friends before it ever became romantic, they were always in sync. No matter what was going on, they were always kind of in line together. Now this whole thing has completely kind of ruptured what that was. And so, I think the way that it was brought together, but also brought together differently in the end scene where they consummate the marriage [laughs], it's a little bit more intense. There's the scratches. ... It's different. They're in a different place now going forward. But I do feel that it was great, rather than planning a wedding and doing all that stuff. I don't think that that would be true to who these two are.

The Upstead wedding was about as far from a big planned wedding as possible, and the “spur of the moment” trip to the courthouse was in character for both. And fittingly, the actors were even in sync with their thoughts about it, as Jesse Lee Soffer was quick to agree with his co-star:

I totally agree. I also think that as far as no bloody cliffhanger goes, we had all the cliffhangers. There was a cliffhanger at the end of last season with Roy, and Hailey shooting Roy, and then keeping the secret to protect Voight. Because we got Burgess back and we had to save Burgess and then keeping the secret from Jay, and then Jay finding out and then North and the FBI going after Voight and possibly going after Hailey too and Jay having to work his way out of that. We had so many road bumps and cliffhangers along the way that to put the story to bed, it needed closure. And I think that the writers did a great job because it also got to change the dynamic a little bit between Jay and Voight, and Hailey and Voight. And you know, Jay and Voight have worked together for nine seasons, and now we have a different understanding and a different respect between the two. And I think that that was totally necessary. So it's great.

Multiple dynamics are now different as of the end of the midseason finale, with Halstead making it clear to Voight that things are going to have to change, then heading home and making the third (and final!) Upstead proposal that ultimately delivered the closure that the Roy story needed. Plus, Chicago P.D. created a unique feel in the big Upstead scene by intercutting between their happy, romantic wedding and their much more intense encounter back at their home. 

In fact, the actors (who had not yet seen the full episode when we spoke) shared that that element was very different in the original script. When asked if the sequence was always planned to cut back and forth between the two scenes, Jesse Lee Soffer confirmed that it “was not scripted that way” originally, and Tracy Spiridakos elaborated on what changed from script to screen:

Yeah, it was separate, and it was one going into the other. But I actually haven't even seen it yet! I just did the voiceover part in ADR. And I was like, 'What a great idea!' I love that they did that. I'm excited to see it.

Spiridakos’ opinion that it was a “great idea” is probably echoed by plenty of fans who have now gotten to see the midseason finale, and her co-star was once again on the same page. Soffer weighed in:

I don't know if that was like [executive producer] Arthur [Forney] and the editors or if that was a director. I have no idea who, but I saw a snippet of that. And it was great, and it was not scripted that way.

Fans can only imagine how the ending would have felt different if it had gone with the original script of the wedding followed by the love scene, but the intercutting really worked with how it was such a small wedding just for the two of them and then coming home together with rings on their fingers. 

Of course, the small size of the wedding without even Will present from Chicago Med could mean that Upton and Halstead could take those rings off and keep their marriage secret for as long as possible. According to Jesse Lee Soffer, however, that won’t be the case now that they’ve taken this huge step forward:

I think they tell the rest of the team like the next morning. ... They're like, 'Are you guys wearing rings?' And the characters are like 'Yeah, so what? We got married. Anyway, moving on.'

Just another day at the office on Chicago P.D.! Based on the promo for the next episode, the winter premiere will delve into the dynamic between Burgess and Ruzek more heavily, so it should be interesting to see if they have something to say about their coworkers tying the knot, and if that’s what motivates Burgess to make some changes. Whatever happens, there’s no going back to the way things were for Upstead in this new era

See what happens next for Upton, Halstead, and the rest when Chicago P.D. returns from hiatus on Wednesday, January 5 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC. It follows the winter premiere of Chicago Fire – which has a cliffhanger of its own to resolve after the return of a missing character – at 9 p.m. ET, and Chicago Med with its own wild ending to follow up on at 8 p.m. ET. For more of what to watch and when to watch it, be sure to 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).