Warning: The following contains spoilers for Wednesday’s episode of Chicago P.D, titled “Tender Age.” Read at your own risk!
Chicago P.D. returned with a new episode on Wednesday night, which saw Burgess and Ruzek teaming up to help a lost child, and Upton contemplating a tempting job offer with the FBI.
The episode began with Ruzek and Burgess discussing how they’ve pretty much become an old married couple without the romance. It’s true — they eat breakfast at the same diner, work together, hangout at the same bar afterward, don’t go out much and haven’t been dating around. Remind us, why are they not together?
Their casual conversation abruptly ended when Ruzek almost ran over a dazed young girl wandering the streets. With the girl not saying a word, Burgess figured out her identity from a sweater embroidered with her name and attempted to return her to her home. However, she and Ruzek soon discovered that the girl’s entire family had been brutally murdered.
With the child too traumatized to speak and no close relatives available, a reluctant Burgess — who admitted she doesn’t have much experience with children — was put in charge of the young witness. Despite her initial reservations, Burgess quickly bonded with the girl and even got her to open up about what she saw, leading to the culprit’s arrest. Burgess might not think she has the instincts to be a mom, but her handling of this case proved otherwise.
Meanwhile, Upton had been sitting on a tempting offer from the FBI to co-lead a task force that would give her a huge pay raise but would ultimately take her away from Chicago. In talking it over with Halstead, she decided to reject the offer. “I’m better with you as my partner,” Upton explained. “You, 21, Voight… I know I’m better here so I’m not gonna take it.” Upton then admitted that it’s been a long time since she viewed Halstead as just her partner, all but professing her feelings for him. However, Halstead received the message loud and clear and pulled her in for a kiss before the episode cut to black.
In the wake of this new development, TVLine hit up Chicago P.D. boss Rick Eid, along with stars Jesse Lee Soffer and Tracy Spiridakos — who spoke to us exclusively — in separate interviews about what that anticipated liplock means for the pair moving forward and what challenges they face in the coming episodes. See their answers, which have been edited for clarity, below.
TVLINE | What was your reaction when you first learned what was going to happen between Halstead and Upton at the end of Episode 3, with the kiss?
TRACY SPIRIDAKOS | My initial response was, “Oh s–t. Linstead fans are going to be pissed.” [Laughs] But I think we all knew it was coming! I love the way that scene was written and how Eriq [La Salle] directed it. I am thrilled for the fans to see it.
JESSE LEE SOFFER | I was surprised! It felt like we hadn’t touched on that dynamic for a bit so it was interesting to me that this would be the moment we were going to jump into it.
TVLINE | What kind of conversations did you have with each other and/or the producers and director about the direction of the scene and how to play it?
SOFFER | There wasn’t really a convo about it, just that we knew it was something that the writers kept peppering in here and there over the last couple of seasons. It was something that would be on the page sooner or later. I know a lot of the fans were dying for it to happen.
SPIRIDAKOS | I think we all — Rick Eid, [writer] Gwen Sigan, Eriq La Salle, Jesse Lee Soffer and I — really wanted to show how they’re best friends and partners first and foremost, and that the bond these two have is really special. The intimacy of that moment came as an afterthought. It wasn’t planned by either of them, and I really like that.
TVLINE | This is something that has been building up for seasons. What made this moment the right one for Halstead and Upton to take the next step in their relationship?
EID | Their feelings for each other have been growing for the past two seasons. Quite frankly, there was nowhere else to go. They had to take things to the next level or at least give it a try. They just needed a catalyst, like Upton’s FBI job offer.
SPRIRIDAKOS | I think the moment came from the fear of being separated with this new job offer on the table. For Hailey, the idea of leaving Jay is what propelled her to not take the job and made her face her feelings for him straight on. In the past, she had opportunities to tell him how she felt about him, but the moment never seemed right. This time, she took the opportunity and ran with it.
SOFFER | It’s something that has been in the Halstead and Upton dynamic, and that the writers have had us play for a long time now. So for the characters, I suppose sooner or later, you got go s–t or get off the pot. [Laughs]
TVLINE | What are the biggest obstacles, professionally and/or personally, to Upton and Halstead in pursuing this romantic relationship moving forward?
SPIRIDAKOS | We’ll see! I know that vulnerability isn’t Hailey’s strongest attribute. [Laughs] So I’m sure that’ll come up.
EID | I’m guessing there are going to be lots of unique challenges. It’s one thing to want to be in a romantic relationship [with] someone; it’s another thing to actually make that romantic relationship work day in and day out while also working together in a high-pressure environment.
TVLINE | This isn’t the first time that Halstead or Upton have been romantically involved with someone in the Intelligence unit. We saw the complications that ensued in those past relationships with Lindsay and Ruzek. What have they learned from those previous relationships, and how might they do things differently this time?
EID | I think they’ve both learned a lot, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy. Juggling a romantic relationship in the workplace is tricky. Making things even trickier, Halstead and Upton are very different people — and very different cops. So there will definitely be workplace conflicts that might carry over into their personal life. But I think Upton and Halstead really love each other. So there’s a decent chance — a 50/50 chance, I’d say — that things might work out.
SPRIDAKOS | I think for Hailey, her time with Ruzek was more of a fun thing that turned serious quicker than she expected. As much as she cared for Adam, there wasn’t real love there. This time, there is, and I think that’ll be a big difference for her.
TVLINE | What can you preview about the aftermath of this Upton/Halstead development in Episode 4?
EID | In Episode 4, Upton is confronted with a personal matter that makes Halstead uncomfortable, and Upton even more uncomfortable.
Chicago P.D. fam, how do you feel about “Upstead” finally taking it to the next level? Hit us up in the comments!
Reporting by Vlada Gelman.