‘Chicago P.D.’ Boss on That Major Upton & Halstead Development: ‘A Decision Had to Be Made’

Jesse Lee Soffer Tracy Spiridakos Chicago PD Intelligence Halstead Upton
Spoiler Alert
Matt Dinerstein/NBC

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 8, Episode 3 of Chicago P.D., “Tender Age.”]

The “will they/won’t they” “when will they” has been answered! Chicago P.D.‘s 2021 return features a major step forward for partners Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos) and Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer).

After Upton’s brief stint at the FBI in New York, the feds target her for a joint level task force, and when her partner finds out, it prompts her to finally admit how she feels. “I don’t want to take it because of you,” Upton tells Halstead. “I’m better with you as my partner.” But… “it’s been a long time since I saw you as just my partner,” she admits, and he kisses her.

Elsewhere in the episode, just as Kim Burgess (Marina Squerciati) is avoiding a follow-up appointment with her doctor (she has no plans to get pregnant again, she says), she ends up taking care of a young girl whose family was killed in front of her. That gets her thinking, she admits to ex Adam Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger). She knows she’s a good cop, but she hadn’t thought she’d have the instincts to be a mom. He knows she would’ve been good at both.

Here, showrunner Rick Eid discusses two of Intelligence’s key relationships, how Kevin Atwater’s (LaRoyce Hawkins) stand against the Blue Wall has changed him, and more.

Upton and Halstead kissed, but what’s next, especially in terms of the complications that brings to their relationship and partnership? And why was now the right time for those complications?

Rick Eid: They’ve danced around their feelings for a long time, and it felt like, with Upton’s FBI job offer, a decision had to be made. What’s next is navigating how to work together and date one another at the same time. They’re both professionals capable of compartmentalizing, but they do have different approaches to policing. This could lead to work conflicts bleeding into their romantic relationship.

Will the monotony (and complicated dynamics — they were very parent-like with Makayla) continue for Burgess and Ruzek, especially with her thinking about her instincts as a mother now?

Burgess’s time with Makayla stirs up lots of emotions connected to her miscarriage. It also stirs up her maternal instincts and desire to be a mother. As for her relationship with Ruzek… It’s complicated. She loves him, but isn’t sure if they’re truly compatible.

Burgess Ruzek Atwater Chicago PD Season 8 Episode 4

(Matt Dinerstein/NBC)

Atwater doing the right thing and going up against the Blue Wall was the focus of the first two episodes. Will that experience change his approach to the job or anything coming up career-wise for him moving forward?

Atwater was willing to sacrifice his career to take a stand against the Blue Wall. So, yes, he’s definitely changed. He’s more political and confident in speaking out against some of the anachronistic customs and practices embedded in CPD. For the time being, though, what’s important is that he’s still a police officer. He’s focused on being the best cop he can be, and effecting positive change from within the Department.

Cleveland Berto’s Officer Walker has been described as “super idealistic.” How is he going to fit in at CPD and with the stories you’re telling about the police and reform this season?

Jalen is a young cop with visions of changing the status quo. But that doesn’t mean he understands the complexities of being a cop, or a criminal, for that matter. As we know, it’s hard to be an idealist and a cop at the same time. Especially in Chicago.

Chicago P.D., Wednesdays, 10/9c, NBC