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Chicago P.D. quite literally ended its sixth season on a killer cliffhanger thanks to the reveal that somebody had murdered the newly-elected Mayor Kelton, and the various members of the Intelligence Unit had a motive to want him gone. Fans will have to wait until the premiere to find out who killed Kelton, but there's arguably a bigger question at this point: what's happening with Antonio?
Prior to the Season 6 finale, news broke that Jon Seda would not be part of the Chicago P.D. cast in the 2019-2020 TV season, along with two Chicago Med series regulars. Fans were therefore surprised when the finale didn't give Antonio a definitive sendoff, but rather showed him in a bad way taking a pill alone in his car. So, it falls to Season 7 to explain what happened to Antonio and why he won't be around.
It's hard not to think the worst after his final scene in Season 6, but after Chicago Fire found a way to send off Antonio's sister Gabby without killing her off, perhaps P.D. can find a way to say goodbye to Antonio without ending him permanently. Chicago P.D. showrunner Rick Eid spoke with CinemaBlend, and he teased when fans will find out what happened to Antonio, what Intelligence will look like in Season 7, and all the changes could mean big things for Season 7.
Let's start with what he had to say about Antonio in in the seventh season:
While the Season 7 premiere is bound to acknowledge Antonio's absence considering the Intelligence Unit will probably be in hot water after what happened to Kelton and the fact that Voight may well be a prime suspect, Rick Eid revealed that the third episode will be the one to explain what happened to him. While that does mean fans won't get all the answers they've been hoping for immediately after hiatus, it at least confirms that Antonio's story really won't be finished right away just because Jon Seda isn't around.
Jon Seda has of course been a key part of the Chicago universe from very early in the first season of Chicago Fire, and was an anchor on Chicago Justice during its brief run before returning to P.D. Whatever P.D. has in store to explain his absence, it will mark a big shift in the series. He was a senior member of the team, and his struggle with drugs impacted Season 6 and particularly Ruzek in some significant ways. After all, Ruzek ended Season 6 behind bars because he wouldn't flip on Antonio!
Only time will tell how Antonio's story will wrap up (at least for now) on Chicago P.D., but fans can count on a different Intelligence Unit than in years previous for more reasons than just Jon Seda's absence. Early footage of Season 7 teased potential division within Intelligence, with Halstead and Voight at each other's throats. Photos from the premiere suggest that Halstead may have some big doubts about Voight moving forward.
When I asked Rick Eid if fans should be concerned about potential division among the members of the Intelligence Unit, he told me this:
Well, whatever is happening between Halstead and Voight may not totally blow over by the end of the Season 7 premiere! The absence of Antonio could well play a part, as that will be a big change "afoot in Intelligence." The "gritty" new cop joining Intelligence to fill the Antonio void will mark another big change, as Intelligence hasn't added a new member of the team since Upton took Lindsay's former place as Halstead's partner following Sophia Bush's departure ahead of Season 5.
It's pretty definitive that Sophia Bush isn't coming back; will that be the case for Jon Seda? And will everybody welcome the newcomer? As if the addition of a new cop to Intelligence isn't enough, there will be somebody stepping into Kelton's shoes, and we can only hope he'll be less of a thorn in Intelligence's side than Kelton was. There's the question of what's in store for Ruzek, since the case against him didn't seem to be going away. And what of the potential new inter-team romance, which may not include who many of us expected?
Fortunately, the wait for the return of Chicago P.D. is almost over. P.D. will return on Wednesday, September 25 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC. That will be a big premiere night on the Peacock Network, as Chicago Med will be back with a new character of its own at 8 p.m. ET and Chicago Fire return to possibly kill off a firefighter at 9 p.m. ET.