‘Chicago P.D.’: Tracy Spiridakos On Saying Goodbye In Season 11 Finale; Surprise Elias Koteas Return

‘Chicago P.D.’: Tracy Spiridakos On Saying Goodbye In Season 11 Finale; Surprise Elias Koteas Return

SPOILER ALERT: The following will reveal major plot points from the Season 11 finale titled “More.”

Tracy Spiridakos said goodbye to NBC‘s Chicago P.D. in the Season 11 finale in the most dramatic way possible. Let’s tip our hats to showrunner Gwen Sigan who knows how to torture us—and also apparently Voight (Jason Beghe)—to protect the bittersweet sendoff Hailey Upton deserves.

“I feel really good about it,” Spiridakos tells Deadline about Upton’s conclusion. “Gwen told me her idea to send Haley off and I was excited about it. I love that it’s just so different from what we’ve seen her go through in the past; it’s this really happy send-off for her and I absolutely love it.”

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Sigan reveals she never had plans to kill off Upton, even though they went to great lengths to make it appear they were. She said she and the writers “went through all the options and weighing what would be the best story.” In the end, they all decided to push forward Upton’s “growth and transformation,” “especially because of what we’ve put her through for some years.”

Spiridakos joined the series during its fourth season in a recurring role before being bumped up to a series regular from seasons 5-11. Upon reflection, she admits that much like her character, she eventually found herself at a crossroads.

“Yeah, that was essentially it. I love this group of people, everybody from cast and crew, producers, everybody. This was a really hard decision to make. I’ve been on the show for 7 1/2 years. So I was just curious about what else was out there and just wanted to switch it up and that was kind of it but it was hard. It was very bittersweet and emotional.”

Tracy Spiridakos as Hailey Upton

In the final beats of the episode, viewers learn that Upton has decided to look into what the FBI has to offer. Realizing Wolf Entertainment has that realm covered, she addresses whether or not she could be joining one of the FBI franchises.

“No, I mean, not that I know,” she said with a laugh.

In one of the most shocking moments of the episode, Voight is stabbed intensely by the serial killer he’s been tracking and it almost feels like he could be close to dying. At that moment while toeing the line between life and death, he sees his good friend and former partner Alvin Olinsky (Elias Koteas) and the two have a conversation. Olinsky died in the Season 5 finale after he was knifed to death in prison by an inmate.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Sigan says of Olinsky’s return. “Jason Beghe gets all the credit for this one. He’s had this idea for a while, really wanting to bring Elias back in some way. And we finally had this perfect opportunity to do it, where he’s in this vulnerable state and he’s also not all there. So he’s able to see his friend come back at the perfect time to wake him up again and get him to fight some more and realize that he wasn’t done yet. It was really special. We were so excited that it was able to happen and so grateful that Elias was willing to come back and do it for us.”

Tracy Sprirdakos as Hailey Upton

Although many hoped Halstead (Jesse Lee Sopher) would swoop in and Upstead would live happily ever after, it was important to Spiridakos that Upton choose herself.

“When Gwen told me where things would go, I really loved this idea of Hayley figuring out what she wants to do now and going in a completely different direction,” she said. “It’s new and different than what she’s done before. Of course, I love Halstead and that would have been cool too, so don’t get me wrong. I think also a lot of people were kind of thinking and hoping to see Halstead as well, so they will hopefully find this ending unexpected. I hope they like that she gets a happy ending for herself. She gets to find herself and make this decision of what’s best for her.”

Spiridakos is walking away on her terms with happiness in her heart. And as any OneChicago fan knows, is that most of our favorites never stay gone too long.

“I would love to reappear, that would be amazing. I love this whole group of people. I think as far as a parting message, I would just say thank you to the fans. Thank you to the Chi-hards for welcoming me into this lovely group of people. I loved running into people in Chicago who stop and say hi and say how much they love my character and love the work that we’ve done on the show. I’m grateful to all of you,” she concluded.