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Inside [Spoiler's] Return to Chicago P.D. After 6 Years: "I Burst Into Tears"

Fans got a pleasant surprise when a certain detective returned for an emotional scene in the Season 11 finale.

By McKenzie Jean-Philippe

Warning: Spoilers ahead for the May 22 Season 11 finale episode of Chicago P.D., "More".

If Chicago P.Dfans have made it through to the end of the Season 11 finale, "More," then you know there were some huge moments packed into the hour. 

How to Watch

Watch Chicago P.D. on NBC and Peacock.

Not only did Voight (Jason Beghe) survive being captured by serial killer Frank Matson, but Upton (Tracy Spiridakos) said her final goodbyes to the Intelligence Unit and left Chicago. However, the biggest shock of them all came when a beloved Chicago P.D. alum returned to the series after being killed off in Season 5: Detective Alvin Olinsky, played by Elias Koteas. (Now we know the "surprise" Beghe was alluding to during his appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.)

RELATED: Tracy Spiridakos Finally Reveals the Reason She Left Chicago P.D. (INTERVIEW)

Read on to find out how it all came together, below — and how fans owe a big thank you to Beghe.

Elias Koteas returns as Olinsky in Chicago P.D.'s Season 11 finale

Bleeding out from stab wounds and hallucinating while being held captive by Matson, a weary Voight sees a vision of Olinsky appear from the shadows. Unfortunately for fans, it is, in fact, just an apparition, meaning the detective has not returned from the dead à la SVU's Alex Cabot.

"What you get into this time, Hank?" he asks Voight. 

Believing he's dying, the sergeant answers the question with one of his own: "Is this what it felt like? I'm OK to go out like this."

Voight standing over Alvin Olinksy's grave

"She's not," Olinksy responds, seemingly referring to Upton, who's on her way to rescue him. He then approaches Voight and holds his face. "There's more," he says. "You don't get to die yet."

RELATED: Olinsky's Heartbreaking Last Scene on Chicago P.D. Is So Tough to Watch

Olinsky's ghost then disappears, ending his very brief return but leaving Voight with the motivation he needs to live and get away from Matson.

Fans will remember that Olinksy died at the end of Season 5 after being stabbed in prison. He was imprisoned because his DNA was found at the murder scene of Kevin Bingham (Joseph Sikora), the man who killed Voight's son, Justin (Josh Segarra). However, it was actually Voight who killed Bingham, so Olinsky was wrongfully arrested.

How the Chicago P.D. team brought Elias Koteas back to set

All the credit for Olinsky's return goes to Beghe. Showrunner Gwen Sigan told NBC Insider the actor has been pitching ways to bring Koteas back since his exit from the show in 2018.

"This was finally the perfect time to do it," Sigan says. "Because [Voight] was in the most vulnerable place and it made sense to have this vision of him sort of telling him to keep going and to wake up... It came from Jason, and it came from this idea that we all loved and wanted to figure out, 'How can we fit it in?'"

I just kinda walked onto the set, and uh, I burst into tears, you know? ‘Cause it was just, it’s just a lot.”

Jason Beghe

Beghe confirmed to NBC Insider that he'd "been fighting for that for years" and even created a backstory that led to Olinsky's pseudo-reunion with Voight.

RELATED: This Is What Happened to Voight's Son, Justin, on Chicago P.D.

Hank Voight and Alvin Olinksy have a talk in a park

"The way I pitched it is like, every three or four episodes, Voight’s alone and he’s at home," he said. "You know, having coffee, and he’s talking to Elias. Just a regular conversation with Al, and Al never says anything. He just listens, but with those incredibly expressive eyes."

Beghe revealed that he was unexpectedly overwhelmed by both Olinksy's return and being reunited with Koteas. So much so that he cried in between takes while filming their scene.

"I don’t know if we’ll be able to bring him back again, but for me, I have a very special connection with him as a human being and certainly as an actor," the 64-year-old said. "I can just say that on the first take, we cut, director called out something, and I didn’t respond and I didn’t know why. I just kinda walked onto the set, and, uh, I burst into tears, you know? ‘Cause it was just, it’s just a lot."

RELATED: Jason Beghe Was a "Champion" of Jesse Lee Soffer's Chicago P.D. Return: "I Love Him"

Alvin Olinksy wears a prison uniform in a scene from Chicago P.D. Season 5 Episode 21

The star continued, "Both Voight having that experience with Olinsky, and to some degree, you become your character on the set. But also, just Jason having the opportunity to reconnect with the artist Elias... it surprised me. I knew how deeply I felt about him, but I’m not a crier."

Both Sigan and Spiridakos confirm that the cast and production's reunion with Koteas was "very emotional." 

"It was the best day," Sigan said. "It was so nice to have him back. It felt very full circle and very special for us to have him there... Just to see him acting on screen with Jason again was really something."

Spiridakos also revealed that she took plenty of photos with Koteas — she says they're "good friends" — and will be sharing them on her Instagram very soon.

"I think all of us were emotional and just excited. People kept coming around, like [Patrick John Flueger] came to work and he was like, 'Where is he?' Like everyone’s just looking for him. We’re just trying to find where is... and he’s such a good hugger too. A lovely day, all around."

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