Major spoilers below for the Season 5 finale of Chicago P.D.

In the penultimate episode of Chicago P.D.'s fifth season, Kevin Bingham's murder case took a swift turn as Olinsky was charged with the crime, despite only having moved the body after the fact. That episode set up the finale's shocker when Olinsky was stabbed several times by a fellow inmate, and though many fans probably thought he would pull through, "Homecoming" confirmed pretty early on that Olinsky died from his injuries. Executive producer Rick Eid revealed how and why he and the other writers decided to cap Season 5 off by taking out a major player.

He didn't have to die. It was one of the things that just evolved from the storytelling this season. It was one of those ideas that the writers, after pitching, once that Woods-Voight-Olinsky story line really became front and center and we started thinking of ways to dramatize it and play it through to its honest conclusion, it was an idea that just kept coming up. From a dramatic point of view, we all thought it was really interesting. From a human in real life point of view and a business point of view, we all thought it was really difficult and horrible. It was just a tough thing.

To say that justice was served in all of this mess would be stretching the truth a bit, but it does seem like Voight might actually be fully in the clear now. The investigation into Olinsky's stabbing revealed it to be about revenge -- go figure -- and Voight ended up killing the person who called for the prison hit. It was obviously important for Voight to tie up any and all loose ends, even if that witness-surrounded shooting might come back to bite him, and his name was eventually cleared for Bingham's murder. (Though he had to get Denny eyed for witness tampering to do so, after already getting too talky with him.) Beyond his own self-preservation, though, Voight definitely owed Olinsky for knowingly taking the fall there.

And as Rick Eid put it to EW, they thought it was an interesting way to take things, and having loyalty serve as a foundation for a death is certainly a memorable way to take out a main character on a show like this. In Eid's words:

We were like, "Wow. This feels real. It feels like Voight is finally paying for what he did to this Bingham character." It was an interesting way for Olinsky to exit. We kept talking about him. He'd be dying on the mantle of his own loyalty. . . . Ultimately, the final decision is just really hard because everybody loves Elias, and he's a great actor and a great person. It's hard. That's honestly how it all came about.

Elias Koteas, who also made cameos on Chicago M.D. over the years, first appeared as Alvin Olinsky in Chicago Fire's second season, and he's been a part of the P.D. unit since it first hit NBC in 2014. And given that all three Chicago shows were given renewals ahead of the finale, it seemed likely that Olinsky would still be healing from his injuries when Season 6 kicked off. But even though Rick Eid says he and the creative team pitched every possible outcome and iteration for how this story could end, Olinsky's death inevitably felt like the best call.

Head to the next page to see what Rick Eid has to say about how the finale's tragic moments could affect Season 6.

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