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A Complete Timeline of the Chicago P.D. Cast Departures That Shocked Fans
Chi-Hards have been forced to bid farewell to several Intelligence Unit officers since the show's 2014 debut.
Considering these officers and investigators are at the center of many nail-biting cases, it never gets easier for Chi-Hards to say goodbye to these cherished characters. Whether they leave to accept a job offer elsewhere or meet their untimely demise, Chicago P.D. cast departures are always a bitter pill to swallow.
Below, relive some of the most heart-wrenching Chicago P.D. moments that forced Chi-Hards to bid adieu to their faves.
Jesse Lee Soffer as Jay Halstead
P.D. fans will agree that saying goodbye to Jay Halstead was one of the most tear-jerking farewells in One Chicago history. Jesse Lee Soffer's character spearheaded several intense criminal cases and quickly became a Chicago P.D. fan favorite throughout his 10 seasons on the show.
Chi-Hards watched Halstead grow as an investigator, fall in love with and marry Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos), and climb the ranks of the Intelligence Unit. But he shocked Chi-Hards everywhere when he decided to resign from the CPD after killing a perpetrator in self-defense. Halstead subsequently left Chicago to investigate drug cartels in Bolivia — breaking both Upton's heart and those of many P.D. fans.
In August 2022, Soffer told Variety his Chicago P.D. exit wasn't a decision he made lightly.
“I want to thank the incredible fans for their unwavering support during the past 10 years and want to express my deepest gratitude to Dick Wolf and everyone at Wolf Entertainment, Peter Jankowski, Matt Olmstead, Derek Haas, Michael Brandt, Rick Eid, Gwen Sigan, NBC, Universal Television, my fellow cast mates, and our incredible crew," Soffer explained. "To create this hour drama week after week has been a labor of love by everyone who touches the show. I will always be proud of my time as Det. Jay Halstead."
Jon Seda as Antonio Dawson
Jon Seda was a bona fide One Chicago fan favorite as the fearless Antonio Dawson, the Intelligence Unit's second-in-command, from the series' debut till his departure in Season 6. Dawson was personally appointed by Sgt. Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) looked over the squad whenever he was away. Dawson was the balancing force the squad needed.
Besides starring in Chicago P.D. as a member of the original cast, Seda appeared in 7 seasons and 47 episodes of Chicago Fire as the brother of Firehouse 51 paramedic Gabby Dawson (Monica Raymund). Seda made his final P.D. appearance as the Unit's second-in-command in the Season 6 finale after he resigned from the force to address his ongoing drug addiction.
Following his P.D. exit in 2019, Seda tweeted, "It’s been an honor portraying Det. Antonio Dawson in the One Chicago world. To my cast family, I’ll always treasure the time and stories we shared. To all you Chi-Hards out there, THANK YOU for being the best of fans! We’ll always have CHICAGO."
Elias Koteas as Detective Alvin Olinsky
Detective Al Olinsky, played by the dynamite Elias Koteas, was a beloved member of Chicago P.D.'s Intelligence Unit from Seasons 1-5. Olinksy may have tossed out the rulebook on a few cases, but his dedication made him one of the most captivating One Chicago characters ever. Voight and Olinsky's friendship was forged from their shared experiences, but it was their reckless loyalty to each other that led to Olinksy's demise. Koteas' final appearance as Olinsky arrived after he was framed for a murder he knew Voight had committed.
In Season 5, Episode 21 ("Allegiance"), fans were gobsmacked to see Olinsky arrested for a murder Voight committed years ago. Aware of his friend's role in the conspiracy, Olinsky went to jail for the crime, where he was murdered by those who set him up. Fans tearfully bid farewell to Olinksy in Season 5, Episode 22 ("Homecoming"). Voight was devastated.
Upon Koteas' departure, many Chi-Hards were curious about how Olinksy's death had come to be, which former showrunner Rick Eid told TV Line was, "from a creative perspective, it was a decision that evolved organically from the ongoing storyline."
“From a business perspective, however, this was an extremely difficult decision. Elias is a terrific actor and a good person," Eid continued. "He’s also been an important part of the show since the very beginning. So this part of the process was really challenging. But Elias handled the news like a true professional and remained committed to the show and his character until the final shot. We will miss him dearly.”
Brian Geraghty as Officer Sean Roman
Actor BRian Geraghty joined the One Chicago cast in the Chicago P.D. Season 2 premiere ("Call It Macaroni") as the Intelligence Unit's newest patrol officer, Sean Roman. Roman quickly partnered up with Kim Burgess (Marina Squerciati), and their workplace partnership bloomed into a flirtatious relationship.
After Roman was shot in the line of duty in Season 3, Episode 21 ("Justice"), his condition forced him to decide between desk duty or resigning from the squad. Roman resigned in the Season 3 finale.
Geraghty has said he bid farewell to P.D. to pursue other projects.
Following the departure, former Chicago P.D. showrunner Matt Olmstead shed some light on Geraghty's exit. “When we wanted to do this Roman character, Dick [Wolf] in particular really wanted Brian Geraghty," Olmstead told TV Line in 2016. "He is the most level-headed, decent human being you’re going to encounter, and he’s upfront. He was like, ‘I don’t know if I can commit to a seven-year contract. This sounds great, but I’ve got to take it year by year.'"
“He’s also a producer and wants to get stuff off the ground that he’s been working on and wanted to give us a heads-up and include us in the conversation," Olmstead continued. "It was the most civil, level-headed, mutual fan-fest agreement and departure that I’ve ever been a part of because he was just very decent about it."
Archie Kao as Officer Sheldon Jin
The first devastating Chicago P.D. death to blindside fans was that of Sheldon Jin (Archie Kao). A series like Chicago P.D. demands some shocking developments, but it was no less jaw-dropping when Jin was found murdered in the Season 1 finale after becoming a mole within the Intelligence Unit.
Once his seedy superiors became discontent with Jin's lack of intel, they murdered him in cold blood.
Former showrunner Olmstead explained that Jin's death was designed to give the Intelligence Unit a wake-up call about the risks of their lifestyles.
"It shakes everybody up," Olmstead told TVGuide in 2014. "[Kao] didn't know, nor did we. It's one of those things where the story told was headed in that direction in terms of needing to have a cliffhanger and a big impact of a season finale and also just show the ramifications of that police work and that unit and street level and no one's guaranteed anything. It started to kind of gain momentum; like This character can't survive this."