Warning: spoilers ahead for Episode 3 of Chicago P.D. Season 7, called "Familia."
Arguably the biggest question going into Season 7 of Chicago P.D. was: how would the show write out Antonio Dawson once actor Jon Seda was gone as a series regular? We now know that P.D. wanted to bring Seda back for the Season 7 premiere, which explained that Antonio had been in such a bad way in the Season 6 finale that he had to go to an off-the-books rehab that conveniently also happen off-the-screen.
Still, he could only stay conveniently off-screen in rehab for so long, and "Familia" revealed how P.D. is explaining Jon Seda's absence as Antonio. As it turns out, those of us who have spent the months since news of Jon Seda's departure broke joking that maybe Antonio will head off to Puerto Rico to hang out with his sister (and former Chicago Fire leading lady) Gabby Dawson were on the money! I don't want to say that I called it, but I totally called it.
Early in "Familia," Voight made the announcement that Antonio had decided he would go to Puerto Rico, as he has family there. The rest of the Intelligence Unit was clearly bummed to hear that their longtime friend and coworker was gone, and their disappointment may have been increased by the fact that Intelligence newcomer Vanessa hadn't made the best first impression upon joining the team.
So, does this mean that Antonio is gone from Chicago P.D. for good? Puerto Rico isn't exactly the moon, and he did leave family behind as well. His marriage may have fallen apart, but he's still dad to two kids, and Eva may need regular contact with her dad after what she went through last year. Gabby was able to make a cleaner break, with Casey (and to a lesser extent, Brett) as the only ones to be truly heartbroken. She had to leave her husband, but Antonio had to leave his kids.
The good news is that Chicago P.D. showrunner Rick Eid hasn't ruled out Jon Seda returning someday, so Antonio may not be in Puerto Rico forever. It may not be altogether likely that Gabby will return to Chicago Fire, as it took some work to get actress Monica Raymund to reprise the role one more time for Gabby to get an on-screen farewell back in Fire Season 7, but maybe Antonio will be ready to return to Chicago once he gets used to living clean again.
Maybe helping in Puerto Rico is exactly what Antonio needs to get back on his feet and return! Jon Seda left P.D. and returned once before; could he do it again? Admittedly, when Jon Seda left P.D. before, it was to attempt to help launch Chicago Justice as the fourth One Chicago series, and he returned to P.D. after Chicago Justice got the axe. Peter Stone also survived the end of Justice, although he had to go to New York for a brief stint as the Law & Order: SVU ADA to keep fighting the good fight on NBC.
If Jon Seda does reprise his role as Antonio Dawson on Chicago P.D., it may not be for a while. The good news is that the new character seems like an exciting fit for Intelligence, and there's at least one inter-team romance in the works. Throw in sparks potentially flying between Upton and Halstead as well as a possible romantic reunion between Burgess and Ruzek, and there will be plenty going on even after next week's massive crossover event concludes.
New episodes of Chicago P.D. air Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. ET on NBC as the final hour of the One Chicago primetime block, which begins with Med at 8 p.m. ET and proceeds with Fire at 9 p.m. ET before concluding with P.D.