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

The series' heart-pumping Season 11 finale was the actress' last episode as Detective Hailey Upton.

By McKenzie Jean-Philippe

After seven years, eight seasons, and 140 episodes, Tracy Spiridakos has left Chicago P.D.

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She's played Detective Hailey Upton since Season 4, but showrunner Gwen Sigan confirmed in January that Spiridakos would be exiting the series following its 13-episode 11th season.

The Season 11 finale, titled "More," aired on May 22 and saw Upton pack up her apartment and leave in a cab headed to O'Hare airport. And while fans are left hanging about where the detective went, we do know why: for a fresh start.

"She's going into this happiness," Spiridakos told NBC Insider. "Which we haven’t gotten to see a lot of with her."

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

But why is the actress leaving the show like a handful of her other fellow One Chicago stars? Find out, below.

The reason Tracy Spiridakos left Chicago P.D.

Chicago Pd 1113 Hailey Upton

Spiridakos officially decided to leave at the end of Season 10, which is when she told Sigan.

"It was a really hard decision, and I don’t know that there’s ever a right time," the 36-year-old told NBC Insider. "I think I’ve been on the show for just over seven years, like seven and a half-ish years, and I was just wanting to switch it up and kind of see what else was out there. That was really it. I’m so close with everybody. With our producers, Gwen, our writers, our cast, our crew. It was a really difficult and emotional time, for sure."

It was a really difficult and emotional time, for sure.”

Tracy Spiridakos

When it came to crafting Upton's final season, Sigan told us, "We wanted to earn the goodbye." 

"It was all about how can we get into all of those deep little pockets of how she’s feeling and the emotion there," she said.

Hailey Upton in the squad room on Chicago PD 1104

When reflecting on her character's final moments, Spiridakos noted, "We got to see her kind of go through [it] all... At the beginning there’s the absolute fear of what’s gonna happen to Voight. And she lets that fear overtake her; loses her temper, and you know, starts to feel like she’s losing control. But then we get to see her kind of ground, come back down, and focus that attention and that energy with the team and to outsmart Matson... We see at the end it’s this really vulnerable and lovely scene with Voight. And [we] see her go in a happy kind of way, which I really liked."

Tracy Spiridakos' co-stars react to her leaving Chicago P.D.

While she's looking to what's next in her career, Spiridakos' Chicago P.D. stars are still coming to terms with her exit. When speaking to NBC Insider, LaRoyce Hawkins (Atwater) got emotional reflecting on Spiridakos' final days on set.

"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."

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

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

Tearing up, he continued, "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."

Jason Beghe (Voight) echoed Hawkins' sentiments.

"First of all, she’s somebody who I love and care about and respect," Beghe told NBC Insider. "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."