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What Happened to Jesse Lee Soffer's Detective Jay Halstead on Chicago P.D.?

For years, Chi-Hards relied on the detective's rugged charm and moral certitude to whip Chicago into shape.

By Jessica White

The Chicago P.D. Intelligence Unit boasts some of the most passionate cops on television — and One Chicago fan favorite Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) never failed to take viewers on a wild ride.

How to Watch

Watch the Season 12 premiere of Chicago P.D. Wednesday, September 25 at 10/9c on NBC

The man had viewers' hearts pounding whether he was staking out perps in the passenger seat or charming his partner-turned-lover Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos). As one of the earliest detectives at the Intelligence Unit, Halstead soon became a beloved Chicago Med and Chicago Fire crossover star and even entered Dick Wolf's Law & Order universe.

RELATED: See How These Chicago P.D. Stars Absolutely Transform Out of Uniform

Throughout his esteemed P.D. tenure, Halstead appeared in 10 P.D. seasons spanning across 234 One Chicago episodes, with Soffer delivering a delightfully gritty performance in every scene.

Halstead in Chicago PD

When did Jay Halstead join Chicago P.D.?

Halstead was a fresh addition to Chicago P.D.'s Intelligence Unit in the series premiere ("Stepping Stone").

Sergeant Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) was still forming his team and, while he wasn't initially impressed by Halstead's abrasive style of policing, Antonio Dawson (Jon Seda) gave Halstead his vote of confidence. 

RELATED: Chicago P.D. Alum Jon Seda Reunites with Jason Beghe

Throughout the first season, Halstead became an exceptionally skilled and tenacious detective as the unit investigated the drug lord Pulpo (Arturo Del Puerto).

He'd joined the CPD after spending several years in the Army as a ranger for the 3rd Battalion, leading him to connect to Alvin Olinsky (Elias Koteas), a fellow veteran. He soon became the squad's go-to sniper, a perfect position for the man who preferred to keep his cards close to his chest.

Jay Halstead in Chicago P.D. Season 10 Episode 3

Why did Jay Halstead leave Chicago P.D.?

Halstead left the Intelligence Unit in Season 10, Episode 3 ("A Good Man") after an ill-fated case caused him to reassess his trajectory in the CPD.

He had been working "off the books" on a robbery case that went drastically awry when he found himself in physical altercation that ended with him repeatedly stabbing and killing one of the perps. While it was self-defense, Halstead had snapped and, while Voight and Upton concocted a cover story to avoid the consequences of their off-the-book actions, Halstead considered turning himself into Chief O'Neal (Michael Gaston).

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

He ultimately turned in his badge and resigned from the CPD — to the surprise of his colleagues — claiming he had grown tired of the morally ambiguous Intelligence Unit. He chose to re-enlist in the Army and informed his wife that he would be stationed in Bolivia while dismantling drug cartels.

"It's black and white, it's good and bad, it's right and wrong, and it's no more of this," Halstead told a tearful Upton. "I need that. I need that back. I fly out today. It's not forever; it's eight months, maybe a little longer. But I swear to you that we're gonna get through this because you're the love of my life, and if I'm yours, then you'll know that you have to let me go."

After his departure, Upton learned Halstead had extended his term overseas, effectively closing his chapter within the Intelligence Unit.

Chicago P.D. showrunner Gwen Sigan told NBC Insider that Halstead's exit was a labor of love within the writer's room.

"We all really wanted to do justice for Halstead's character as best we could — to who he's been for the show — we really wanted to make that decision to leave his own decision. For it to come from him," Sigan said. "It felt important to keep him alive and keep him out in the world trying to do good. The idea of him getting back to who he was gave us that opportunity. The Army's always been integral to who he is. I think that time with the rangers shaped him, his morals, his compass, and it was fitting that he'd want to get back to that, to some sort of simplicity and an idea of 'right and wrong.'"

Halstead and Upton on Chicago P.D Episode 501

What is Jay Halstead's relationship with Hailey Upton on Chicago P.D.?

Halstead and Upton were partnered up at the Intelligence Unit after she joined in Season 4. They began dating in Season 8, got married in Season 9, and divorced between Seasons 10 and 11.

Upton was the partner who successfully coaxed Halstead out of emotional hiding. After opening up about her turbulent childhood and learning about his time in the Army, she encouraged Halstead to attend therapy. As Halstead and Upton's bond began to expand past that of platonic co-workers thanks to their countless misadventures, Chi-Hards watched a heartwarming romance bloom over the course of four seasons.

RELATED: A Look Back at Halstead and Upton's Slow-Burn Romance on Chicago P.D.

Upton and Halstead shared their first kiss in Season 8, Episode 3 ("Tender Age"), launching their whirlwind romance. After falling in love throughout the season, Upton proposed to Halstead in the Season 8 finale ("The Other Side"), rendering him speechless. In the Season 9 premiere, Halstead flipped the script by accepting Upton's pitch and proposing to her, which she happily accepted. After a double proposal and moving in together, the couple married in a courthouse ceremony in Season 9, Episode 9 ("A Way Out").

Unfortunately for "Upstead" fans, their happy days as a married couple were short-lived due to Halstead's departure from the Intelligence Unit. The long-distance nature of their relationship, combined with Halstead's lack of correspondence, made their marriage crumble. In Season 10, Episode 20 ("Fight"), after weeks of ignored calls, Upton took off her wedding ring. 

The two were officially divorced by the Season 11 premiere.

Halstead and Upton on Chicago P.D Episode 909

Who is Jay Halstead's brother, Will Halstead?

Jay Halstead had an older brother, Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss), who was a doctor on Chicago Med

The two had an uneasy relationship when P.D. started, and hadn't spoken for two years at the start of Season 2. Viewers eventually learned that the brothers had lost their mother to cancer while Jay was deployed and Will was studying medicine (and partying) in New York. When Jay returned from the Army to tend to the family, Will was still gone — but their father, Patrick (Louis Herthum), resented Jay for enlisting.

RELATED: Marlyne Barrett Shares Heartfelt Goodbye to Nick Gehlfuss

When the brothers first crossed paths on-screen in Season 2, Episode 17 ("Say Her Real Name"), Jay still resented his older brother for neglecting his family. Over time, the brothers were able to clear the air.

Jay grew very protective of Will, always stepping up to his defense when the going got tough. When Will became a suspect in one of Olivia Benson's (Mariska Hargitay) cases during Chicago P.D.'s crossover with Law & Order: SVU, Jay was furious that Intelligence and SVU interrogated Will without him present.

RELATED: Inside SVU & Chicago P.D.'s Epic 2015 Crossover Episodes

The support was mutual — Will was incredibly concerned for Jay anytime he was hurt in the line of duty and cared for his mental health following his military service. 

Will And Jay Halstead

Who was Jay Halstead's father, Pat Halstead, on Chicago P.D.?

Halstead had a strained relationship with his father, Pat, who viewers met in Chicago Med Season 2, Episode 20 ("Generation Gap").

Both Halstead brothers struggled to connect with their father due to his disapproval of their career paths; his blue-collar upbringing made him staunchly believe that "real men" joined the workplace immediately and didn't waste time enlisting in the Army or attending medical school. Pat didn't even attend Jay's graduation ceremony from the police academy. However, a Halstead family reunion became inevitable after Pat's health began to take a turn for the worse.

Pat reached out to Jay to reveal that he was experiencing heart complications, and the two ended up at Gaffney to get a check-up from Will. Pat was difficult to work with, and complained about having to go to the hospital, where he learned he would need heart surgery. This development led Pat and Will to mend their differences, while Jay continued shutting down whenever his father was present.

RELATED: The Most Heartbreaking Deaths on Chicago P.D.

This dynamic came to a head in Chicago Fire Season 7, Episode 2 ("Going to War") after Pat got trapped inside a blazing fire at his apartment building. A panicked Halstead rushed to the scene to ask then-Chief Wallace Boden (Eamonn Walker) to launch a formal search for his father, desperately explaining that he had a recent heart surgery. Firehouse 51 was able to track him down, but he was in critical condition.

After being whisked to Gaffney in Chicago Med Season 4, Episode 2 ("When to Let Go"), Jay and his father continued bickering — but it ended when Pat suddenly crashed. Will was able to re-start his father's heart, but Pat had coded for over five minutes, leading Dr. Sam Abrams (Brennan Brown) to pronounce him brainvdead. Jay was horrified as Pat was placed on life support.

Will and Jay ultimately decided that they needed to let Pat go, taking him off life support. Swirling with anxiety and guilt, Jay left to investigate the cause of the apartment fire and arrest the perps who killed his father.

It was only after his father's death that Jay learned that Pat was proud of him, and he sobbed over this revelation. The Halstead memorialized their father with a beautiful funeral in Chicago Med Season 4, Episode 3 ("Heavy Is the Head").

Who was Jay Halstead's ex-wife Abby McSweeney?

Before his appearance on the series, Halstead was briefly married to Abby McSweeney (Stephanie Fantauzzi), a friend he met in the Army. The couple tied the knot following one of their comrade's funerals after getting heavily intoxicated in Las Vegas. Halstead instantly regretted the decision, signing divorce papers shortly after and not seeing her for years thereafter.

Abby returned to the fold with shocking news in Season 4, Episode 17 ("Remember the Devil"): She'd never countersigned the divorce papers, and she and Halstead were still married. She then needed him to sign the documents because she had met someone and wanted to get married.

While enjoying a drink, the couple reminisced and enjoyed some chit-chat until Abby admitted to lying about having a new partner. She said she was still in love with Halstead and wanted a bona fide relationship. He politely turned her down, encouraging her to pursue someone who loved her back while signing the papers and officially ending their marriage.

Jay Halstead and Gabriela Dawson appear in Chicago Fire

What happened between Jay Halstead and Chicago Fire's Gabriela Dawson?

As a certified One Chicago heart-throb, Halstead was no stranger to a flirtatious fling between investigations . A case in point: His short-lived romance with Chicago Fire's Gabriela "Gabby" Dawson (Monica Raymund), the sister of the Intelligence Unit's Antonio Dawson.

When Halstead went undercover to investigate Molly's silent business partner in Chicago Fire Season 2, Episode 2 ("Prove It"), he quickly struck up a connection with the former member of Firehouse 51 and Molly's bartender, Gabby — who had dubbed him "Mr. Long Island Iced Tea." At the same time, Jay kept quiet about his status in the CPD while getting the scoop from Gabby on the bar's silent yet shady business partner, Arthur (Mike Starr).

RELATED: The Chicago Fire Crew Pulled a Ridiculous Prank on Kara Killmer and Monica Raymund

Once Gabby learned Halstead had ties to Arthur, she cut things off, but they reconciled after she learned from her brother that Halstead was an undercover cop. Jay helped bring justice to Molly's after Arthur ripped them off and committed arson, unveiling his criminal history while arresting him.

Gabby and Halstead had a great connection, but it was primarily casual, ending in Chicago Fire Season 2, Episode 6 ("Joyriding").

Natalie Manning (Torrey DeVitto) appears in Chicago Med.

What happened between Jay Halstead and Chicago Med's Natalie Manning?

If Halstead's crossover charms weren't already obvious, he also had a short-lived connection with former Gaffney sweetheart Natalie Manning (Torrey DeVitto). Halstead first crossed paths with Natalie in Season 2 of Chicago Med, where they meshed well.

She asked him if he wanted to go to a party with her, but he turned her down after noting Will's protective demeanor around his colleague, encouraging his brother to make a move. Jay and Natalie attended a hockey game in Chicago Med Season 2, Episode 21 ("Deliver Us") and continued to hit it off in subsequent episodes. They even went on a double date with Will and his then-girlfriend in Med Season 2, Episode 22 ("White Butterflies").

Jay and Natalie's relationship didn't ever take off, largely thanks to her stronger connection with his brother, Will.

After a longtime well-they-won't-they, Will eventually left Gaffney in Season 8 of Chicago Med to be with Natalie in Seattle.

Watch Chicago P.D. on NBC and Peacock.