Season 8 of Chicago P.D. has seen Jay Halstead and Hailey Upton make the leap from partners who had never ventured past the platonic into a full-blown romance. In true Chicago P.D. style, the good ship Upstead hit some rough waters pretty quickly when Upton's father reentered the picture, but Halstead seems to be in just about the best emotional place that he's been in a long time, and certainly when it comes to relationships since his heartbreak with Lindsay. Actor Jesse Lee Soffer opened up about how that heartbreak and the dark days that followed impacted Halstead and the path to Upstead.
Jesse Lee Soffer spoke with press outlets about Chicago P.D. Season 8 and the Upstead relationship. Soffer initially pointed out that Halstead gets a bad rap about "always" dating his partners when really "it's twice" (and two out of two over almost a decade isn't that bad), then weighed in on what's up with Upstead after everything Halstead has gone through over the years:
It's interesting... how each episode really focuses on one character and we tell stories through this perspective of one character each week. And it serves to tell the whole story because there's so much going on in current events, and everything in the news that we want to tackle as a show about police and policing. And Jay had his relationship with Lindsay, and that was so long ago, but part of who the character is and how he's grown is, you know, that relationship ended. And obviously, there was pain there for him. We saw him kind of go through the ups and downs of her leaving, and she wasn't coming back, they were going to get married. And then in a lot of ways, he was this really dark, tormented guy for the next couple seasons. And he went through PTSD and all sorts of stuff. And Hailey was this constant that was there, kind of saving him, or kicking him in the ass sometimes, when he was out of line. And she really hung in there and stuck by him. And there was such a trust and a mutual respect that grew, that if I was writing the show, it makes sense.
Sophia Bush departed Chicago P.D. at the end of Season 4 as Lindsay and is unlikely to ever return, so it was pretty clear in early Season 5 that Halstead's heartbreak wasn't going to be resolved by Lindsay coming back, and he made some bad decisions that included Camila as the only romantic partner that he had on P.D. between Lindsay and Upton. It was a dark time and Halstead needed time to get back to a good place, and as Jesse Lee Soffer pointed out, Upton sticking by him lead to the trust and respect that turned into romance.
Halstead and Upton officially getting together hasn't gotten a lot of focus in Season 8 so far because of, as Jesse Lee Soffer noted, Chicago P.D.'s tendency to focus on one character's perspective per episode, and they've been partners as usual while on the job, which seems to bode well for their relationship. P.D. also took its time in developing Upstead after the highs and lows of Halstead and Lindsay and even gave Halstead and Upton a love interest each before falling for each other. (If Upton/Ruzek and Halstead/Camila count as anything serious, anyway.) Jesse Lee Soffer continued:
You go look at these two characters, let's put these guys together. They've built so much, you know? I think it's interesting that we're there and we're seeing that and that he's kind of confessed his love, and I think what you're gonna see next is whether or not this is a relationship that can handle policing and being cops together. And then what you do taking that home and whether or not you can take it home and whether or not you're the same kind of cop or if you see a situation the same way, if you agree or disagree, and how does that affect romance? You know, so that it's gonna be interesting.
Even the most optimistic Upstead fans likely shouldn't count on a quick succession of love, marriage, and a baby carriage at this point considering all the challenges ahead of them, and the baggage they both bring into the relationship. Throw in the fact that they've both been part of workplace romances that ended badly and aren't always the most compromising when it comes to how they conduct their police work, and viewers probably don't have to worry that Upstead will be uneventful whenever Chicago P.D. revisits their relationship.
Chicago P.D. returns with the next new episode on Wednesday, March 31 at 10 p.m. ET, following Chicago Fire at 9 p.m. and Chicago Med at 8 p.m., all on NBC. The One Chicago shared universe is getting even bigger courtesy of more Dick Wolf shows, with Law & Order: Organized Crime premiering on NBC in April and the second FBI spinoff just scoring a series order for the 2021-2022 TV season on CBS. One Chicago is actually connected to FBI and its spinoffs courtesy of Upton, so it should be fun to see if any more crossovers are on the way.