Spoilers ahead for the third episode of Chicago P.D. Season 9, called “The One Next To Me.”
Chicago P.D. dug deep into Jay Halstead’s history with “The One Next To Me,” revisiting his time in the Army by reuniting him with a former comrade-in-arms who chose a very different path upon returning to civilian life. His history can be a hot-button issue for Halstead, but he certainly handled it a lot better than he did a few seasons ago, and he was even talking about it by the end of the hour. Growth!
That said, it was a very intense hour for Halstead, and Jesse Lee Soffer crushed it with his performance. I’m left with some ideas of what P.D. needs to do with him next. And things are going to have to get worse before they can get better.
Halstead Needs To Learn The Truth About Upton
If there’s one thing that makes it difficult for me, even as a fan of Halstead and Upton, to celebrate their engagement, it’s the sense of looming disaster due to her big secret about killing Roy at the end of Season 8. She lied throughout the Season 9 premiere, has apparently lied by omission in the weeks since, and doubled down on it at the end of “The One Next To Me” when Halstead gave her the widest of possible openings to come clean.
Even as somebody who has been and remains firmly on Team Upton over Team Voight ever since Voight insisted on turning her good shoot into their very dirty little secret, Upton passing up her chance to confess right after Halstead opened up to her could come back to haunt her. The promo for the next episode indicates that the truth could be about to come out, and it looks like whatever happens next is not going to be pretty. Take a look:
Upton seems to be having panic attacks, and Halstead himself says that she’s not eating or sleeping, so this is definitely not sustainable. Voight’s response that he doesn’t think Halstead knows the woman he’s sleeping next to definitely suggests that if things are going to improve, it’ll be after things get ugly. It really looks like Halstead has been doing everything right up until learning that something has been very wrong, and it’s time for P.D. to yank the band-aid off. Even if it’s going to hurt!
Halstead And Upton Need To Stay Together
I have all the faith in the world that it’s going to be painful to see the fallout of Halstead learning the secret that Upton has been keeping from him, especially with how the promo for the next episode previews Voight seemingly sabotaging the relationship. But Chicago P.D. could also subvert expectations and let Upstead stay together, with Halstead siding with the woman he loves over Voight.
After all, Halstead has known Voight for nearly a decade, and he knows the kind of cop that Voight is deep down. It wasn’t that long ago that Halstead thought Voight might have killed Kelton, and if he learns the whole truth of what went down with Roy, it should become clear that Voight is the one who turned Upton saving her sergeant into a murder with a hidden body.
Upton still did a bad thing, but it’s also clear that she feels so immensely guilty that her physical health is suffering as well as her mental health, whereas Voight isn’t showing any guilt. That has to count for something, right?
Plus, Halstead and Upton just moved in together into an unbelievably gorgeous apartment, and it would be a shame for one of them to have to leave it so soon. I’m not suggesting that everything is wonderful between Upstead after the secret comes out, but they don’t need to call it quits. He of course deserves to be upset and have questions and not entirely trust her for a time after whenever he finds out; I just think that there’s more interesting story in them working through it instead of another Chicago P.D. breakup.
Halstead Needs More Big Episodes
Halstead has some of the most loaded backstory of any of the main Chicago P.D. characters, but P.D. hadn’t really explored it for a while before “The One Next To Me” dove back into his time in Afghanistan. This episode also showed a marked difference from how he handled previous instances of his past resurfacing, and he’s come a long way from pulling his gun on his partner when he couldn’t see clearly due to his PTSD. If he’s in a better place emotionally, then maybe he’s in a place where P.D. can delve into his past without forcing him to deal with his triggers.
And really, I just always enjoy Halstead-centric episodes. There’s a lot of duality in him as a character who tries to do the right thing but is still very much an Intelligence detective who has bent the rules plenty of times, and Jesse Lee Soffer always nails the big Halstead episodes.
Admittedly, the Upstead relationship has meant that he gets more screen time in big Upton episodes than before. Hopefully it’s not another season before P.D. delves into what makes Halstead tick again. Plus, if more Halstead episodes might mean nothing bad happening to Burgess again for a few weeks, then all the better!
Halstead Needs A Break
As much as Halstead needing a break runs contrary to Halstead needing more big episodes, I think he’s going to deserve some time of pretty much nothing happening to him for a while after he learns the big secret next week, whether or not that’s in the next episode. Jesse Lee Soffer previously previewed that it would be a few episodes before Halstead finds out, after all, and it looks like Voight is going to do his best to mess with his head.
Throw in Halstead finding out that Upton didn’t take any of her many opportunities to open up, and maybe let him go fishing with Will for a few days. Even if he’s on her side, this could be a big blow to him.
Find out what happens next for Halstead with new episodes of Chicago P.D. on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC, following Chicago Fire (which has given Casey a big decision to make) at 9 p.m. ET and Chicago Med (with Vanessa possibly making a huge mistake with Crockett) at 8 p.m. ET. The One Chicago block is already doing well in the 2021-2022 TV season, and undoubtedly will continue to dominate on Wednesday nights.
Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.