Chicago PD season 5: Jay Halstead’s remarkable story of growth

Jay HalsteadHeroism comes in many forms, and heroism often comes with many hurdles. Every hero runs into moments where their cape gets torn and some villains get the best of them, but what matters the most is how they bounce back. Consider this the introduction to the story at the heart of today’s CarterMatt TV Heroes feature.

For Chicago PD and Jesse Lee Soffer’s character of Jay Halstead, this is very much a story of redemption. It’s about a man trying to do the right thing in the midst of great loss and of feeling a pain from his past that never is able to completely go away.

At his core, Jay is a man with an innate desire to do good — you often don’t want to become a police officer unless you want to make the world a safer place. He tries to follow some of the rules to the best of his ability and puts himself on the line time and time again for the sake of making the lives of other people a little better. He understands sacrifice; he’s understood it since being a hero in the military. That’s where he got his start, but that is also where he got some of his demons.

Most of Jay’s inner villains lie within, as he is still a character wrestling with the PTSD and the pain that exists within his past. Maybe that’s why earlier this season he adopted a different skin and found comfort in a different life without the same burdens; maybe this is also why he is sometimes a little rough around the edges. Yet, the important thing in life is that sometimes, you grow from the pain. This is what Jay does in order to be a better man and, in turn, a better hero. He’s put himself in danger to help other members of Intelligence before and he finds some element of comfort in being able to help others tackle some of their own demons. He was there for Lindsay during some of her time on the show and just recently, he was there for Upton after her recent undercover mission. Jay gives a lot, and at times he sacrifices so much of himself that he doesn’t have a whole lot left. In his mind though, it’s worth it if it makes the world around him better.

Related Be sure to preview some of what is coming up on the next new episode

Externally, Jay isn’t a character who has to prove himself to anyone. Yet, he still feels like he does and that desire to be something more is what fuels him. He understands that there is always something more that can be done and what he’s learning in the process is that at some point along the way, he also needs to care for himself.

Whether he is playing the role of cop, friend, boyfriend, or something else altogether, Soffer breathes incredible life into this character. He makes Halstead a reflection of what modern-day heroism is within the cop TV genre. He is an imperfect man simply trying to do his best in an imperfect world. He’s not in it for the glory; instead, he’s in it just to keep helping people.

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