Chicago P.D. fans have been waiting much longer than usual for payoff on the previous season's ending, but that wait is nearly over for Season 11. The hit cop drama will return to the NBC lineup in the 2024 TV schedule to establish what happened after the life-or-death cliffhanger back in the spring... but a six-month time jump means a lot will have changed in-universe. When I spoke with showrunner Gwen Sigan about the upcoming season, she opened up about Upton's progress after half a year.
Upton unfortunately had to spend much of Season 10 (available streaming via Peacock Premium subscription) trying to process her husband leaving her behind to rejoin the Army, following the episode that said goodbye to Jesse Lee Soffer as Jay Halstead. She took a big step toward the end of the season when she removed her wedding ring, but the Upstead story (which you can revisit with our rundown) didn't feel over.
Gwen Sigan, who stepped up as Chicago P.D. showrunner for the ninth season, spoke with CinemaBlend about what's on the way. Noting that we'd already started to see Upton move forward last year, I asked how much the detective has progressed by the time Season 11 picks up, and Sigan shared:
We certainly see that she has made some big changes. She's continued to make some changes. The interesting thing about the first episode is that you're on the ride with her, figuring out how those changes are affecting her and we get to see what she's been up to in the last six months. But also, how much of that was autopilot? How much of that was decisions she felt that she needed to make, because they're the logical next steps? And we get to see how she really feels about it in the end.
Upton's new status quo in Season 11 will be different from what it was prior to the six-month time jump, but it sounds like her journey is very much still ongoing. Fans should prepare to go "on the ride with her" in the premiere, for better or worse! Some early looks at the first episode of 2024 show that she's a little banged up, so this could be a rough case for her.
According to the episode description from NBC, Tracy Spiridakos' character will be at odds with a mental health clinician working with the team, touching on her personal struggles. Voight will evidently a source of support for her, which is certainly a far cry from their dynamic just a few seasons ago. Upton-centric episodes have tended to be quite emotional since Halstead's departure; time will tell if that's the case for the Season 11 premiere.
Of course, the episode – called "Unpacking" – will have more to do than follow Upton's journey, as Ruzek's fate was the big cliffhanger of Season 10 after he was shot by Callum Beck. The six-month time jump presumably means missing the immediate aftermath of his surgery, but an update on the officer has been a long time coming.
Tune in to NBC on Wednesday, January 17 at 10 p.m. ET to see Ruzek's fate and whatever Upton has done on what the showrunner describes as "autopilot" in the Season 11 premiere of Chicago P.D. You can also check back with CinemaBlend for more of what Gwen Sigan shared about P.D.'s new season.
This coming Wednesday will be a big night of One Chicago premiere action, as Chicago Fire boss Andrea Newman has explained a Stellaride moment on the way with Tayler Kinney's return in Season 12 and Chicago Med's showrunners previewed Hannah and Archer in Season 9. Fire will air at 9 p.m. ET and Med at 8 p.m. ET, all on NBC.