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"To have him on the sidelines coaching me up, that's a dynamic we've always had," Hawkins told ET. "He gave me something in this episode that I think I'm going to keep with me for the rest of my career, and that's how you know you're a good director. There was a moment in the episode where it almost seems like, yeah, we're about to do this scene, but to be honest, this may be a scene that might be cut. Then he told me something interesting. He was like, 'It might get cut, but make them need it.'... Now that's my approach for scenes that seem frivolous."
The actor went on to say that he's "excited" to have Soffer return once he directs Episode 16.
"Jesse, he's been doing this since he was 6 years old," he said. "Over 30 years of experience in the business, and he's learned so much and he has so much to offer. He's one of my favorite storytellers that I've been able to work with over the years because of his approach. So the directing pivot for me, it feels appropriate."
Hawkins also couldn't help but tease that Halstead fans may even have something to look forward to in the future.
"We were a little nervous because Jesse is a leader on and off set, and when you lose leadership in a certain capacity, it's hard to know where things might go," he said. "But I think the way everybody's responded and stepped up to the plate and the way that it looks like Jesse's gone, but he's still there, in more ways than one. Over time, we'll see exactly why."
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