Behind the Screens with Joshua Maloni
With Antonio AWOL, both “Chicago P.D.” fans and pundits expected Jay to become the voice of reason inside the intelligence unit – and maybe even a pseudo-conscience for Voight.
What they didn’t expect was Halstead to go full-on Hank.
That’s exactly what he did last episode.
When a murder suspect wouldn’t cooperate, Halstead threw the man into lockup hoping that would scare up a confession. Instead, the accused was brutally attacked and died – ironically, as his alibi was checking out. The real killer wound up on the wrong end of a gang beating, which, conveniently, allowed Voight and the department to publicly pin blame on the wrongfully imprisoned.
Hank’s at-all-costs approach has often caused friction with Jay. But now that this methodology is actually rubbing off on Halstead, is it time for Jay to leave Hank?
The idea was floated in the season premiere.
Voight (Jason Beghe) was a prime suspect in the murder of newly elected Mayor Brian Kelton (John C. McGinley). About halfway through the episode, homicide Det. Clay Terkla (Adam Bitterman) arranges a private meeting with Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer), suggesting Jay break ties with Voight.
“Look, I’m going to shoot you straight, because I hear you're a solid cop, a solid person. The evidence is starting to point in a certain uncomfortable direction,” Terkla says.
As Jay plays coy (knowing Voight isn’t responsible), Terkla emphasizes, “I’m just giving you a heads-up, Jay, that’s it. Out of respect. … I’m giving you a way out. … You really want to throw away your career – your life – to protect Voight? … Sometimes you gotta look out for you. No one but you. This is one of those times!”
Vought would find the real killer – former Deputy Superintendent Katherine Brennan (Anne Heche) – and allow her to take her life in full uniform (in lieu of jail).
When Halstead catches wind of this, he steps in and arrests Brennan.
Voight, of course, is supremely miffed. In fact, Hank tells Jay, “How dare you? You went behind my back. … I said I would handle it, didn’t I? Me! Not you! … If you don’t trust me, Jay, the way I do business concerns you, then get the hell out.”
At the recent #OneChicagoDay press event, Soffer explained Halstead’s obligation: “I think Jay loves the unit, and I think that he … I think his job right now is to make sure that (Voight stays on track.) I think he loves Voight, too, and I think he doesn't want Voight to go too far. I think he thinks Voight is a good cop, but that he needs balance. I think Jay tries to balance him out.”
“Chicago P.D.” "Brother's Keeper": Jesse Lee Soffer as Det. Jay Halstead and Jason Beghe as Sgt. Hank Voight. (NBC photo by Matt Dinerstein)
If Jay won’t leave, should Voight kick him – to protect Halstead’s career?
“That’s something that is evolving, and we’ll see; you never know. I think, generally speaking, Voight is a very group-oriented guy,” Beghe said. “There’s a lot of psychology, probably, to that. But, it’s the group over the individual. So, I think that, ultimately, whatever is best for the largest number is where he would put his bet.
“But I don’t think he’s a tyrant. I think he’s just forceful and persuasive.”
Patrick John Flueger, who plays officer Adam Ruzek, said, “Ultimately, Halstead really does trust Voight, to my mind. But I think he’s a little noble. He’s got that real strong moral compass.”
Jay realized he made a mistake – and was clearly pained by it. He asked Voight, "Sarge, did I ... go too far?"
Hank told him, "You are a good cop with a good heart."
He told Jay the right play was made, and reminded him to look at the big picture – which, in this case, was two dead kids and a killer on the loose.
“The thing that’s kind of interesting about Voight, I think, is he doesn’t worry about what’s going to happen, and he doesn’t fret about what did happen,” Beghe said. “No matter how daunting or terrifying it was, or will be, could be. He’s really rooted in this moment, and that’s what gives him his power and his kind of psychopathy.”
Soffer said, “There’s a fine line between right and wrong, and we kind of always walk that line. And sometimes Voight does some really wrong stuff trying to get the job done – even if it’s justified, because he’s doing something right. I think Jay – someone has to be the voice of reason and reel him back in, and make sure he doesn't go too far.”
Of course, “go too far” will be on Voight’s tombstone.
“Chicago P.D.” showrunner Rick Eid said, “We just come at it as everybody's their own real person, and with their own honest, real beliefs; and everybody thinks they're right. And when you look at it that way, there's always a good chance for people to be in conflict, without it being forced and contrived, and like, ‘Hey, let's get these two in conflict.’ Sometimes you’re just writing a sequence and you’re like, ‘Well, what would this guy feel about it?’ He’d be like, ‘Don’t go in; we don’t have a warrant. That’s bull****.' Another person would be like, ‘It doesn't matter. We don’t need a warrant.’ And ‘We’ve got to save the kid inside.’
“If everybody's being honest, usually that's where you get the best drama and the most conflict.”
“Chicago P.D.” airs at 10 p.m. Wednesdays on NBC. Visit www.nbc.com/chicago-pd.