Chicago PD: How Upton’s “Precarious Place” Could Set Up Her Exit


Every Dick Wolf show is experiencing casting shake-ups as we head into 2024, but none of them come quite as close to the stratospheric impact Chicago P.D. will feel with the loss of Tracy Spiridakos as Hailey Upton.

Love or hate Upton, she’s been a part of some of the series’ biggest storylines and the process of writing her out has to be tough for all involved.

She deserves an end befitting of her contributions to the team, which have been plentiful.

Sadly, the One Chicago universe doesn’t have the best track record in saying goodbye to our most beloved characters.

Many get questionable exits that lack the finality necessary for their fans to move on, and some, well, they get killed off in brutal fashion.

There is no in-between as far as this universe is concerned, but hopefully, we will all be satisfied with how this shakes out.

My knee jerk reaction to news of Spiradikos’ departure was that she’d be hastily written out in the first episode of Chicago P.D. Season 11.

Chicago PD Season 11 Wishlist Including More Balance and Levity and Fewer Dark, Gritty Plots

Although she reached a breaking point at the end of Chicago P.D. Season 10 when she accepted that her marriage was over, there’s still plenty to do with Upton.

The show loves to put her in harm’s way, but it would be nice if she could get a couple of episodes of peace before walking away from the team.

Killing her off wouldn’t fly. We’ve spent so long with her, and she’s grown into one of the department’s best agents. This is a character who deserves the best life after her sacrifice for the greater good.

Now, we have an idea of what’s ahead. TVLine recently shared information about where Upton will be on Chicago P.D. Season 11 Episode 1.

The episode, titled “Unpacking,” finds Upton shadowing a crisis prevention team.

However, things go awry she finds her “approach to policing at odds with the team’s mental health clinician.”

We’ll be diving into Upton’s “personal struggles” throughout what’s sure to be an emotional return after such a lengthy hiatus.

She’ll have Voight by her side as she navigates this latest crisis, and he should have a calming effect on an otherwise volatile situation.

Cast Shifts, Budget Cuts, and Shortened Seasons: Can One Chicago Survive Its Own Changes?

While we still don’t know how many future episodes will feature Upton, showrunner Gwen Sigan hints that it won’t be just one, likening the arc to “a big season of growth and change for Hailey Upton.”

Sigan says she’ll be in a “precarious place” and in a transitional period as she aims to move on after taking off her ring.

She knows her relationship with Jay is over, but “There’s a lot she still has to confront in herself and doesn’t necessarily know how to do so,” the showrunner promises.

If you watch Chicago P.D. online, you know there are many directions for Hailey’s arc to go, but it’s not hard to imagine that working with the team will be a constant reminder of her relationship with Halstead and how her marriage failed.

They were such a cute couple, so it’s a shame how things panned out for them.

But like everything in life, you never know what’s around the corner, so maybe Hailey will make the difficult decision to start afresh somewhere new.

Her struggle to move on should rule out a return from Jesse Lee Soffer.

If these final episodes for Upton are about her character’s growth, nothing will undo that more than facing the man she lost. Leaving with him after his betrayal is untenable.

Chicago PD: How Hailey Upton’s Impending Exit Shifts the Landscape of the Series

There are so many unanswered questions, but if there’s a clear build-up to Upton’s departure, then maybe this will be one of the few One Chicago exits that doesn’t feel hastily thrown together at the last minute.

What are your thoughts on the first details about Hailey’s departure?

Do you think it will be worthwhile?

Are you looking forward to her healing before saying goodbye?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

Chicago P.D. Returns Wednesday, January 17, 2024 at 10/9c.

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on X.

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