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What's Up With Chicago P.D.'s Name Reveal For Jay Halstead? Here's What The Showrunner Told Us

 Jesse lee soffer in chicago p.d. season 10.
Jesse lee soffer in chicago p.d. season 10.

Spoilers ahead for the Season 11 premiere of Chicago P.D., called "Unpacking."

Chicago P.D. delivered some good news early in Season 11 with confirmation that Ruzek survived the Season 10 cliffhanger, but "Unpacking" was otherwise a heavy hour of TV in the 2024 TV schedule. It was clear that the six-month time jump wasn't easy for Upton after she'd removed her wedding ring, and her marriage to Halstead would officially be over after she mailed the divorce papers. The episode actually showed the papers, which included the name of Jesse Lee Soffer's character... but not "Jay Halstead." When I spoke with P.D. showrunner Gwen Sigan, I asked about the "Jason Halstead" name reveal.

Upton sealed the divorce papers to legally split "Hailey Anne Upton" from "Jason Halstead" in an envelope and mailed them off over the course of the episode. That's not the end of her journey of moving on, and the showrunner explained why Voight is the right confidant for her at this point. Before Upton mailed the envelope, there were enough shots of the top page that I asked Gwen Sigan about the Jason Halstead name on the papers, when fans had otherwise always known him as Jay. She responded:

I think it was just [that] legally it would be his full name. But he is always Jay, yes.

"Jay" does make sense as a nickname for "Jason," but it's strange to think of Jesse Lee Soffer's character with any name other than Jay Halstead. Of course, I think it's safe to say that the name on the divorce papers isn't exactly going to be a major plot point, and may go down as just an Easter egg that briefly appeared on screen. In case you missed it, here's the shot of papers that may be the end of the Upstead journey:

Divorce papers with Jason Halstead in Chicago P.D. Season 11
Divorce papers with Jason Halstead in Chicago P.D. Season 11

At the time of writing, there's no saying if Jesse Lee Soffer will ever reprise his role as Halstead. As Upton noted in the Season 11 premiere, a year has passed since the character left to rejoin the army, and she seems to be working on moving forward. Soffer himself returned to P.D. not too long after departing as a star, as he made his directing debut for an episode back in the spring. Speaking with CinemaBlend at the time, he shared how he felt when asked if he'll return as Halstead.

Season 11 will be Tracy Spiridakos' last as a Chicago P.D. series regular, and the season is expected to run for just thirteen episodes due to the delays from the WGA writers strike and SAG-AFTRA actors strike. The actress will stick around for the full season, so fans don't have prepare to say goodbye to Upton just yet. You can revisit earlier episodes with a Peacock Premium subscription.

For now, you can keep finding new episodes of Chicago P.D. at 10 p.m. ET on Wednesdays, following Chicago Fire at 9 p.m. ET and Chicago Med at 8 p.m. ET, all on NBC. Med started Season 9 with the introduction of a new doctor who will not be filling Will Halstead's shoes, and Fire began with a goodbye to Blake Gallo.