Late last night, the news broke that Jesse Lee Soffer is departing Chicago PD at some point during season 10 — and yea, we’re still somewhat stunned by it. We’re talking about someone who was around from the beginning, and also an actor who played one of the series’ most popular characters in Jay Halstead. He had a defined moral compass, which of course made him a great foil for Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) a significant chunk of the time.
So why in the world would the NBC show lose this character now? We noted in our original story yesterday that there was no evidence that Soffer’s exit was something that he personally wanted. Instead, it feels somewhat similar to what we saw with Kelli Giddish over at Law & Order: SVU. This is the second Dick Wolf show to lose one of its most important characters at some point in the fall, and the situation feels like a cost-cutting move if there is ever is one.
Remember that overall right now, NBCUniversal seems to have this very much on the brain. There are rumors about them cutting out the 10:00 p.m. timeslot entirely throughout the week, and now we’re seeing them either trim down their casts or find alternative options. We do get that making television is expensive, and that ratings are down across the board due to the sheer number of other outlets / services that exist. However, isn’t there another solution that could be considered here? There’s this assumption that people will keep watching no matter what, and we’re not 100% sold right now on that being the case.
If we ever get something more specific from the network or the studio, we’re sure that they will issue some statement praising Soffer and thanking him for his years of work; however, we’re not sure that we will get further information than that.
Are you still shocked that Jesse Lee Soffer is leaving Chicago PD and his role of Jay Halstead?
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