Chicago P.D. has its roots as a series centered on cops who don't always do things by the book, going all the way back to Voight's introduction and Halstead's undercover op in Season 1 of Chicago Fire. With eight seasons and counting of Jason Beghe's Voight and Jesse Lee Soffer's Halstead operating in Intelligence, Chicago P.D. has raised the question of what might drive the characters to take matters into their own hands. The stars weighed in on what that question could mean for Voight and Halstead.
The hypothetical was raised earlier in Season 8, when a father (played by Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) killed another man in vengeance for that man killing his son. Gilliard's character was driven to do so after CPD failed to investigate his son's case in the first place, which led to the loaded scene of Halstead and Voight discussing what can happen when a good man is failed by the system. And with everything that has happened since for Halstead, Voight, and the rest of Intelligence, it's a question worth revisiting.
Neither Halstead nor Voight has had to make that kind of decision in Season 8 so far, but Jesse Lee Soffer and Jason Beghe discussed what could drive their characters to the point of breaking rather than just bending the rules. Speaking with CinemaBlend and other outlets at a recent press event, Soffer answered what he thinks could happen to potentially push his character to take matters into his own hands:
We play cops that are people first. And so people aren't black and white, and people live in the gray area. So everybody has a line, no matter what your moral compass is, or your ethical code, there's the line that if it was crossed, you might do anything in any given situation. You might break the law. You know, if something happened to a family member, if someone had your spouse at gunpoint.
None of the cops of Intelligence at this point have entirely avoided crossing lines (although some have definitely done worse than others), but bending the rules generally happens as they try to find justice for people who have been wronged. Halstead has actually been one of the unit to stay closest to the straight and narrow (with some exceptions usually tied to his PTSD), talking Upton down from going too far in the latest episode and certainly never facing the kind of assumption that Burgess recently leveled at Ruzek after he killed a man.
Interestingly, Halstead did go more than a little wild a couple seasons ago after the death of his father, which echoes Jesse Lee Soffer's comments about something happening to a family member of one of the Chicago P.D. cops. Fortunately for Halstead, his brother is usually considerably safer over on Chicago Med. And Upton, who is arguably the most important person in his life other than Will, is the one longtime member of the Intelligence Unit who hasn't been shot. (Knock on wood!)
Jesse Lee Soffer continued, sharing what the discussion with Voight about what good men might do for justice means for Halstead in Season 8:
So I think in that conversation, it's interesting, because it's a growth moment, for Halstead to understand who Voight is a little better, and understand him as a cop better and understand Jay, as a cop, better himself. And to say, you know, in any given situation, maybe there isn't a right or wrong, and there just is. It's the given information that I have in front of me and that's what I have to work with.
There's a reason why fans began to speculate that Detective Jay Halstead might be in for a promotion down the line to Sergeant Jay Halstead after this conversation with Voight, which brought Halstead to a greater understanding of Voight when there had been some moments of contention between them in the past. For his part, Jason Beghe shared his own perspective on where Voight stands on the potential of being driven to cross lines in Season 8:
To me, Hank Voight is pretty much a guy who's simple. He's hungry, he eats, and he doesn't plan a lot. And he trusts his instincts. And he knows he's good at his job, and he does what he does. And so at any given moment, given the circumstances or how he slept, it may affect those things. But his intention is good. He's trying to do what's just. He's not a particularly self-interested person. He can do some bad things, but he can do some good things.
Voight is a cop who definitely operates in shades of gray, and viewers who have been watching the character since his Chicago Fire days know that he has come a long way from when he was going to dangerous lengths to try and intimidate (and ultimately even frame) Casey into keeping his silence. In Season 8, Voight is actually having an easier time adapting to police reform under Samantha Miller than some others in Intelligence, particularly Ruzek. Who would have guessed a few seasons ago?
None of this is to say that anybody should want to cross Voight on a day that he woke up on the wrong side of the bed or something rubs him the wrong way, but it's possible that Voight's days of pushing boundaries on the regular are truly behind him... or mostly behind him, at least. He has worked well enough with Miller so far, even as she insisted on adding somebody new to Intelligence when Voight usually hand-picks the people who join his unit.
Find out if Halstead or Voight have a line crossed in Season 8 and beyond, with new episodes of Chicago P.D.'s current eighth season airing Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC, and P.D. already renewed for another two seasons. Revisit P.D. days gone by with the series streaming on Peacock now, and check out our 2021 spring premiere schedule for more of what's on the way. The 2020-2021 TV season is almost over for One Chicago, with Chicago Fire's boss already teasing the Season 9 finale and Chicago Med delivering on an "uncomfortable" new dynamic.
As for P.D., Season 8 has seen big developments for each of the characters, with Voight adapting, Burgess taking in young Makayla, Ruzek struggling to find his place in a reforming CPD, Atwater fighting back against racism within the CPD, Upton facing her past, Upstead's relationship getting serious, and Halstead's introspection of what good men might do when facing injustice.