‘Chicago P.D’s Jesse Lee Soffer Says ‘Never Say Never’ To Halstead Returning As He Directs 1st Episode (Exclusive)

Jesse Lee Soffer is back on 'Chicago P.D.' -- but as a director. The 'One Chicago' alum opens up about this 'new chapter' in his life and the possibility of Halstead's return.

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As Jesse Lee Soffer will tell you, Chicago P.D. is in his blood. The actor, who starred as Det. Jay Halstead on the show for 10 seasons, returned to direct the March 22 episode titled “Deadlocked.” The episode marks Jesse’s directorial debut. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Jesse about returning to the show for the first time since his exit earlier in the season.

Jesse Lee Soffer
Jesse Lee Soffer makes his directorial debut in the March 22 episode. (NBC)

“It’s been great,” Jesse said. “It’s been really educational. It’s been a great period of learning something new, which was interesting because I left set and then stepped foot back on set the second I left and was just a quiet observer for a while shadowing and stuff like that. But it’s been awesome and really eye-opening. I loved it.”

The Chicago P.D. alum admitted that the directing opportunity “snuck up” on him. “I never planned on directing,” he added. “It just was a feeling that just kept growing on me going, ‘I think I can do this thing. I can do this. I definitely want to try doing this.’ And then I’m just grateful to Dick [Wolf] and Peter [Jankowski] and everyone at Wolf for giving me the opportunity.”

Jesse also noted that he isn’t done directing. “One time is not enough to scratch that itch, I suppose,” he said. “It’s another kind of avenue, another media. It’s another facet of the industry to learn and to grow and to tell story through, so I’m definitely interested in it. It’s fascinating.”

After getting through some nerves on the first day, Jesse felt right at home in the director’s chair. “It was pretty seamless because that shows in my blood. I’ve been there so long. I literally probably have blood in the walls, so it just made sense,” he quipped.

Jesse’s departure from the long-running police drama at the beginning of season 10 shocked Chicago P.D. fans. Halstead left abruptly to run a squad that tracks down the worst cartel targets in Bolivia. The actor hasn’t shut the door on bringing Halstead back to Chicago P.D. in the future.

Jesse Lee Soffer
Jesse Lee Soffer and Tracy Spiridakos as Halstead and Upton. (NBC)

“Never say never. I don’t know. I don’t believe there’s any plans for it right now,” Jesse said. “I certainly haven’t heard anything, but never say never. I wouldn’t be opposed to it. But I’m definitely excited to be opening this new chapter, so to speak, and directing and learning this new craft, which is awesome.”

As for how Halstead is handling his new gig, Jesse pointed out that it’s “probably pretty tough because he’s clandestine, right? He’s incognito and not in comms with anyone. So whatever he’s doing, it must be pretty rugged.”

After 10 years on Chicago P.D., Jesse is excited about the new opportunities that lie ahead. “I call it back to the drawing board,” he told HollywoodLife. “We’ll see what’s next. But as far as directing goes, I’m definitely open to it. I only scratched that itch for a second, and I definitely want to learn more and experience more of that. So who knows? We’ll see. Maybe I’ll come back next season.” Chicago P.D. airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. on NBC.