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LaRoyce Hawkins Tears Up About Tracy Spiridakos' P.D. Exit: "She's Like a Sister"

It was confirmed in January that the actress would leave Chicago P.D. after Season 11.

By McKenzie Jean-Philippe

After seven years of playing Detective Hailey Upton, Tracy Spiridakos will leave Chicago P.D. after Season 11. Showrunner Gwen Sigan confirmed the news in January 2024, revealing the actress would remain on the show for all 13 episodes of the season. 

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"She is such a good actor, and we want to do her justice," Sigan said. "She's such a unique voice and so defined as to what her past was like and why she is the way she is." 

RELATED: The Chicago P.D. Cast Gathered with Jesse Lee Soffer for His 40th Birthday Dinner

In addition to fans, Spiridakos' Chicago P.D. co-stars are also coming to terms with her exit. NBC Insider spoke with LaRoyce Hawkins (Kevin Atwater) about saying goodbye to Spiridakos as the cast and production wrap filming Season 11. And he couldn't help but get emotional when talking about his friend.

LaRoyce Hawkins tears up talking about Tracy Spiridakos leaving Chicago P.D.

"It's very heartbreaking, to be honest with you," he told us. "She grew into all of our lives as, like, just a favorite. She brings a light to set that you can't really match, you know what I mean? She's just extremely funny, extremely sweet. She's really like a sister."

He continued, tearing up, "Watching her go is gonna be tough for us... but [we're] also very excited for her, right? For whatever's next. Whatever she touches is gonna turn into gold. And so we're proud of her, you know? We'll see what happens, but hopefully she leaves a little bit of that light with us."

Kevin Atwater and Hailey Upton stand in front of a bulletin board in the squad room on Chicago PD 1104

NBC Insider also spoke to Jason Beghe (Sergeant Hank Voight) about Spiridakos' exit, as the two have been frequent scene partners over the years due to their characters' complicated relationship.

"First of all, she’s somebody who I love and care about and respect," he said. "She will always be part of the shop. Even if she doesn't come back and work with us, she's part of my life and she's part of our show. You know, she's changed the show, and therefore even going forward, whether she's in the episode or not, she'll be part of the show."

Beghe continued, "I’m just grateful for everything that she has done and continues to do."

Why Tracy Spiridakos is leaving Chicago P.D.

Spiridakos has yet to publicly comment on her exit, though she's following a handful of One Chicago stars who've also left their respective shows during the 2023-2024 season.

“Honestly, longevity is really just part of it. [In] storytelling and in terms of real life, 12 years is a long time and things need to change, just dynamic-wise. You want new characters and you want new dynamics,” Chicago Fire showrunner Andrea Newman explained to TVLine about character exits in the franchise. 

Adam Ruzek, Hailey Upton, Hank Voight, and Kim Burgess look a a computer in Chicago P.D. Episode 1006.

Chicago Med showrunner Andrew Schneider added, “That’s really what the Wolf [Entertainment] company likes to do is have characters leave and bring in new characters in an effort to keep the shows fresh or find new dimensions to the show and new dynamics."

How exactly Upton will leave Chicago P.D. is still unclear, though fans have seen her character finalize her divorce from Halstead (played by Jesse Lee Soffer, who left the drama in 2022) and help usher in a potential new addition to the Intelligence Unit, SVU Detective Jo Petrovic.

RELATED: A Chicago P.D. Producer Created the Most Emotional Tribute for Tracy Spiridakos

"We're really going to dig into that this season, and dig into growth and transformation," Sigan told Hello!. "How do you get through your life not looking like what you thought it was going to look like, and realizing that there could be more out there that is maybe better for you? It will be a fun ride for her, and there are some interesting and new characters coming in for her to play against." 

— Reporting by Jessica White