Did Chicago P.D.'s Goodbye To Jesse Lee Soffer Make Sense For Jay Halstead? Let's Break It Down

Jesse Lee Soffer in Chicago PD Season 10 as Jay Halstead
(Image credit: NBC)

Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD for Episode 3 of Chicago P.D. Season 10, called “A Good Man.”

Chicago P.D. has officially said goodbye to Jesse Lee Soffer as Detective Jay Halstead in an episode that fans knew was coming but were probably dreading all the same. The news broke over the summer that the actor was leaving in Season 10, and fans were left to wonder about how. Would he be killed off? Would he be promoted and just work off-screen somewhere else in the Windy City? Or would he go to prison for confessing to a crime? Well, “A Good Man” revealed his fate, so let’s break down how much sense it made (or didn't make) for his character. 

The good news is that Chicago P.D. didn’t do the unthinkable and kill off Halstead, so on that cheery note, let’s start with what happened!

Jesse Lee Soffer as Jay Halstead in Chicago PD Season 10

(Image credit: NBC)

How “A Good Man” Set Up Halstead’s Departure

Halstead was already in a bad emotional place to start out the episode due to his part in Voight’s mess this season, and Upton was concerned. He wasn’t coming home, communicating, or even acting like the man she knew. The situation just became more complicated when the case of the week involved a veteran, as Halstead can have a bit of a blind spot when it comes to veterans. 

He pulled some very Voight-esque moves throughout the investigation, and Upton was extremely reluctant to give him much leeway to try save the vet’s reputation even after it became clear that he was involved in a robbery/homicide. After going rogue, Halstead only survived a sudden assault by pulling a knife and stabbing his attacker. (Stabbing him many, many times.)

He was in no shape to do much of anything when Upton and Voight found him covered in blood by the body, even when they started getting their stories straight to bury the truth. It was too much for Halstead as he realized that the three of them were making all the same mistakes all over again.

Halstead seemed ready to confess to Chief O’Neal but was ultimately satisfied enough by the story that Voight spun to keep the vet’s name clean. Still, he couldn’t just shake it off this time and decided to resign, without telling Upton beforehand. 

He did ultimately tell her that he was rejoining the army to run a unit doing drug interdiction… in Bolivia for at least eight months, and he was leaving that very day. After a goodbye to Voight that involved admitting that he can’t be him even if he wants to, Halstead walked into the airport and out of Chicago P.D. as a series regular. 

Jesse Lee Soffer as hooded Jay Halstead in Chicago PD Season 10

(Image credit: NBC)

Did Halstead’s Handling Of The Case Make Sense?

To look at whether Jesse Lee Soffer’s final episode tracked with how Jay Halstead had developed over ten seasons, I find it easiest to split it into two parts: 1) what happened in the case and 2) how Halstead left Chicago. Whether or not the case worked depends on whether or not you were convinced by how much Halstead changed to resemble Voight over the two-week time jump between the end of Season 9 and premiere of Season 10. 

This Halstead was not the same man who punched Voight in the face almost exactly one year prior for his behavior toward Upton and covering up a murder. Halstead crossing as many lines as he did in “A Good Man” might have felt more natural if there had been more build to the goodbye. He has often been more of a loose cannon when it comes to cases involving veterans, so that tracked, but it was a big leap to go from the Season 9 Halstead who wanted to help temper Voight's worst impulses to the Season 10 Halstead who was repeatedly stabbing a guy to death in a drug warehouse. 

So for me, the case didn’t actually make the most sense for his character because there wasn’t enough of a build in Season 10 to Halstead actually making the kinds of decisions that he made. The episode told us why, but the series didn’t really show us why, so “A Good Man” isn’t going down as my favorite Chicago P.D. case. 

Halstead and Upton by the truck in Chicago PD Season 10

(Image credit: NBC)

Did Halstead’s Decision To Leave Make Sense?

While “A Good Man” isn’t going to be a Chicago P.D. favorite and I wish that the episode had spent more time on the goodbyes and less time on the case, there are three reasons why I think that Halstead deciding to quit CPD and rejoin the army was the best possible explanation for Jesse Lee Soffer’s departure. (And not just because I called it.)

First, the show had to say goodbye to Halstead somehow. Sure, Chicago P.D. could have transferred him to another unit and tried to sell that he was just too busy to ever drop by Intelligence, but Jay Halstead is too big of a character to just be around and not on screen. The actor was leaving and the people Halstead loves were staying, so heartbreak was unavoidable even in the best-case scenario. 

Second, Chicago P.D. had to set up what comes next while also saying goodbye, and the show could be planning to use Halstead making his decision without telling his wife beforehand as the starting point for an Upton storyline. Honestly, I hope there’s a larger narrative purpose, because she deserves some screentime to be upset about that. It didn't 100% track with Jay Halstead and I definitely didn't love it for her, but P.D. had to set up a future without him.

And third, Halstead didn’t die. My worst-case scenario was always Halstead being killed off, so I’m just relieved that he's still alive. His army past meant that there was a foundation there as a place where he’d go to try and get his head on straight while also still fighting the good fight. 

Jesse Lee Soffer as Jay Halstead in Chicago P.D. Season 10

(Image credit: NBC)

The Verdict

At the end of the day, there was never going to be a happy ending to this episode, because Halstead would be gone no matter what. Still, he plans to come home. He didn’t die, he didn’t go to prison, and he reaffirmed to Upton that she’s the love of his life. There are far worse scenarios that could have happened in the final minutes after how the whole case went down, and this goodbye left with a sense of some hope.

What’s up with Upstead in the future is uncertain, but they clearly still love each other and did not consider their parting to be a breakup. While I firmly believed that Casey and Brett were doomed on Chicago Fire as soon as he left Chicago, I don’t see that as the case for Upton and Halstead with P.D. as far more of a procedural show that doesn’t put as much emphasis on relationships.

Find out what the future of Chicago P.D. looks like without Jay Halstead with new episodes on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET following Chicago Fire (which just delivered a huge tragedy) at 9 p.m. and Chicago Med (which has one thing that will never happen for Will Halstead) on NBC, or streaming on Thursdays with a Peacock subscription. If you’re still sad about losing Halstead, check out my picks for some of Chicago P.D.’s best Upstead moments!

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).