Jesse Lee Soffer Reveals Why He Left ‘Chicago P.D.’: ‘I Wanted to Grow’

<p>Jesse Lee Soffer shocked <a href=””><em>Chicago P.D.</em></a> fans by leaving the show after a decade at the end of season 10. Being a beloved cast member of a long-running network TV series is a coveted position, but Soffer reached a point where the program no longer satisfied his ambitions. The actor, who played <a href=””>Jay Halstead</a>, recently explained why he left <em>Chicago P.D.</em> </p>

<h2 id=”h-jesse-lee-soffer-had-been-a-mainstay-since-chicago-p-d-premiered”>Jesse Lee Soffer had been a mainstay since ‘Chicago P.D.’ premiered</h2>

<figure class=”wp-block-image size-custom-image-1200″><img decoding=”async” loading=”lazy” width=”1500″ height=”1001″ src=”″ alt=”Jesse Lee Soffer as Jay Halstead in Chicago P.D.” class=”wp-image-3405305″ srcset=” 1500w, 150w, 640w, 768w, 1024w, 1200w, 90w” sizes=”(max-width: 1500px) 100vw, 1500px” /><figcaption class=”wp-element-caption”>Jay Halstead actor Jesse Lee Soffer in ‘Chicago P.D.’ | Lori Allen/NBC</figcaption></figure>

<p>Soffer debuted as <a href=””>Det. Jay Halstead</a> in <em>Chicago Med </em>before crossing over to <em>Chicago P.D. </em>when the show began in 2014 and has been a series regular since then. Halstead was complex due to his blunt personality, PTSD from military service, and numerous romantic storylines. </p>

<p>He appeared in every episode until the tenth season, when Soffer turned in his gun and badge after the third episode, “A Good Man.” <a href=””>Halstead resigned from the force</a> to return to the Army and lead a squad in Bolivia tracking down South American drug cartel leaders. Instead of going out in a blaze of glory, the show left him alive so the character could return to <em>Chicago P.D.</em> However, Soffer doesn’t seem interested in that outcome.  </p>

<h2 id=”h-the-actor-chose-to-leave-chicago-p-d-to-explore-new-options”>The actor chose to leave ‘Chicago P.D.’ to explore new options</h2>

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<div class=”jetpack-video-wrapper”><iframe loading=”lazy” title=”Jesse Lee Soffer Chooses Between Sliding in the DMs or Posting a Thirst Trap for ‘This or That'” width=”925″ height=”520″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share” allowfullscreen></iframe></div>

<p>Soffer explained his reasons for leaving the show in an interview with Variety. In addition to performing in front of the camera, he aims to direct. He says he’s been considering making this transition for the past seven years while shooting <em>Chicago P.D.</em></p>

<p>“[I] started to realize just a few seasons into the show that it’s really hard to translate what’s on the page to a location that maybe doesn’t fit the staging or what’s going on in the scene direction. And somebody would go, ‘Well, why don’t we come in from here?’ And then, ‘Oh, if you move this line here and this person says this here, we can actually shoot it in two directions,’” Soffer told <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>Variety</a>. </p>

<p>“It became a shorthand with everybody, and then I started to feel like I really understood how to make our show specifically and to elevate it, so I wanted to do that.”</p>

<p>Leaving the show was hard for Soffer, but he said he moved on to better his career. The <a href=””>actor</a> praised the <em>Chicago P.D. </em>crew for understanding his point of view and helping him gain experience. </p>

<p>“I was there for 10 years, and I wanted to grow, and I wanted to expand. I wanted to direct,” he added. “And now I’ve had the opportunity to shadow this year and direct.”</p>

<h2 id=”h-soffer-is-excited-about-his-uncertain-future”>Soffer is excited about his uncertain future</h2>

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<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-width=”550″ data-dnt=”true”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Jesse Lee Soffer to Exit ‘Chicago P.D.’ in the Fall — Season 10 Will Be His Last (EXCLUSIVE) <a href=””></a></p>— Variety (@Variety) <a href=””>August 30, 2022</a></blockquote><script async src=”” charset=”utf-8″></script>

<p>Soffer’s directorial dreams led him back to <em>Chicago P.D. </em>as soon as he stepped off the screen. He directed “<a href=””>Deadlocked</a>,” the 16th episode of season 10, set to air on March 22. He couldn’t have asked for a better environment to begin this new chapter in his career. </p>

<p>Soffer doesn’t have anything else lined up as of this writing. But the new space in his schedule represents an opportunity to evolve as a creator. <a href=””>Soffer appeared</a> in many other projects before <em>Chicago P.D., </em>which should help him find work in whatever he chooses to pursue. As much as he wants to direct, Soffer remains open to acting projects that center on him. </p>

<p>“I definitely think I’m ready to be a lead on a show and to have my own show,” he shared. “Whatever comes next, I don’t know, it could be directing, could be acting. I’m not sure — we’ll see.”</p>

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