CHICAGO P.D. Post-Mortem: Gwen Sigan on Upton's Exit and that Surprise Return - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

CHICAGO P.D. Post-Mortem: Gwen Sigan on Upton’s Exit and that Surprise Return

May 22, 2024 by  

Chicago PD Upton exit

CHICAGO P.D. — “More” Episode 11013 — Pictured: (l-r) Tracy Spiridakos as Hailey Upton, Jason Beghe as Hank Voight — (Photo by: Lori Allen/NBC)

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Wednesday, May 22 season finale of CHICAGO P.D.]

With Voight (Jason Beghe) kidnapped and fighting for his life—and refusing to play serial killer Matson’s (Dennis Flanagan) game and call someone he cared about—the sergeant hallucinated an old friend…while Upton (Tracy Spiridakos) walked into a trap in an attempt to save her boss’ life.

But when Matson wouldn’t talk, he offered her an alternative: If she wanted to save Voight, he’d take her to him. “Or I can let him die, all alone.” Initially, Upton refused, but she ultimately went with him.

Voight, meanwhile, conjured up his long-dead buddy, Olinsky (Elias Koteas), as he was trapped and bleeding out.

“What you get into this time, Hank?” Olinsky asked.

“Is this what it felt like?” Voight replied. “I’m okay to go out like this.”

“She’s not,” Olinsky replied. “You don’t get to die yet.”

As Voight continued to flash back to past moments with Upton, he was horrified when she materialized in front of him—she got one up on Matson, and briefly escaped, once he took her to Voight’s location. 

“Don’t you ever think of your own safety?” Voight chided her. “Do you think I would want this? No dad would want this.”

Ultimately, the duo were able to get out—though with injuries—and Voight killed Matson. Upton was able to send out a distress call and the team saved them.

Later, after checking out of the hospital AMA, Voight and Upton dissected their close call. “Am I bad for you?” Voight asked. 

“What? Of course not,” Upton quickly replied. “You have nothing to feel bad about, feel guilty. That man was insane. You are not bad for me. You didn’t mess me up. I came this way. It’s why I came. It’s why I became a cop.”

But Upton realized she might want more from her life. “I don’t want that to be true,” she said. “I don’t want to still be affected by my childhood. To be an adult stuck in some cage she made.”

“What do you want?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” she replied.

“I think you do,” he answered.

And Upton admitted she wanted to feel and be better…and she would want to start over. Voight encouraged her to leave if she wanted—she wouldn’t lose him, even if she left the team. He also promised her there was more out there.

“What if I don’t deserve more?” a heartbroken Upton asked.

“You do,” Voight insisted.

Upton then scoured the internet trying to find her next steps, and set out on a new path, out of town…though viewers didn’t know what she picked.

Here, showrunner Gwen Sigan breaks down “More” with Give Me My Remote

CHICAGO P.D. — “More” Episode 11013 — Pictured: (l-r) Elias Koteas as Olinsky, Jason Beghe as Hank Voight — (Photo by: Lori Allen/NBC)

To start first with the return of Al, what was the genesis of utilizing him in that pivotal moment?  
Yeah, so this idea to bring him back in this way was actually a Jason Beghe idea—and he had it a few years ago. So him and I have talked about it, we’ve riffed on it before; it’s really his brainchild. 

We finally, story-wise, were in a place where it made sense. Logistically, obviously, how do you bring someone back who’s dead? And certainly needing a vulnerable moment, a physically vulnerable moment, to justify it. And then also just story-wise with the arc that Jason’s had, with the arc that Tracy’s had this year, it was the perfect opportunity to get Voight in a place for him to be introspective, for him to be thinking about the people he lost. And even if they’re on a subconscious level, to be in a place where he’s wrestling with, “What responsibility do I have for the people around me?” 

And it allowed for us to have that really beautiful scene at the end with him and Upton, and just informed everything about the episode. So that’s where the idea really came from. 

And then, couldn’t be more grateful to Elias. I didn’t know if he’d wanted to do it, and I was so happy he did. It was really special for all of us to see him back and in the outfit, back with Jason. It was emotional. [Laughs.] Everyone was very emotional, but it was also just really sweet and felt full circle and felt like this nice thing, as the crew and the cast, for us all to see him back.

Hallucinating a dead character, like you noted, isn’t something the show can play often. What did you want to make sure you included in this moment?
And it’s not something we do on the show. This was very different for us. And so you do worry like, “Is it going to feel too odd? Is it too strange?” And I think the way we went about it was, Chad [Saxton], who was our director, and I, we just wanted it to be as simple as we could make it. Just make it simple. Make it honest. If he was going to come back to you, somehow, that’s how Olinsky would come back. He’s a man of few words. It doesn’t need to be fancy. And honestly, you just put the camera on Elias and you’re winning. 

So that’s how we did it. We didn’t try to add anything special to it. We just let the moment be. And yeah, it was a very simple scene. He’s got three lines of dialogue or something, but it just felt right for what we needed and what would feel good on our show.

Chicago PD season 11 finale preview

CHICAGO P.D. — “More” Episode 11013 — Pictured: Tracy Sprirdakos as Hailey Upton — (Photo by: George Burns Jr/NBC)

Looking at Upton’s exit, at the beginning of the season we spoke about how you had the entire season to plan how she would be leaving. At what point did you land on this open kind of ending and why was this the right ending for her?
We knew right away, after a couple of days in the room, that we wanted to give her this ending that was full of possibility and hope and that we wanted to get her there. And to get her there, [there] would be this arc of struggle and mental space of her not being able to piece out her [own] mental awareness of what was going on with her and why she was feeling the way she was. And then to link it all back to the stuff that is always underneath, right? The stuff from your childhood, the stuff that defines you—and then to get her to a place where she’s making the decision for herself that I do want more and maybe I do deserve more. And to do more, and to feel different, I have to do something different. 

So we didn’t know the open-endedness of it, really, until further into the process. I think really once I started writing, it felt like the way to have the most hope and possibility and opportunity was to leave it open-ended and to leave it as this feeling of, “The world is hers and she now has the ability mentally to realize that and to recognize it.” So that’s why I wanted to leave it up for interpretation as to where she’s going.

Was there ever any version where Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) was a part of her ending? And what ultimately led to the decision to have the divorce papers be the on-screen end to their relationship?
Yeah, we definitely considered it. We talked about it a lot and in trying to figure out, “Is there something interesting to it and what can we do with it?” it really ended up being that I wanted it to be about her. I just wanted it to singularly be a thing that she is deciding and it’s for herself and it’s empowering for herself. And so it felt like the way to do that was just make it about her, you know?

CHICAGO P.D. — “More” Episode 11013 — Pictured: (l-r) Jason Beghe as Hank Voight, Tracy Spiridakos as Hailey Upton — (Photo by: Lori Allen/NBC)

As you alluded to, there was that big final scene between Voight and Upton. What did you want to make sure was conveyed and what conversations did you have with the actors about it?
Trace and I talked at the beginning of the season. I kind of let her know what I was thinking and how I wanted it to go and luckily we were on the same page. And I think she was very excited to have that path of hope and healing and being able to do something different.

Once I got into the writing of it, it was probably the first scene of the script that I wrote because it was just so fun and exciting to write a scene like that. It’s one of those things where you really need to earn it—like you have to have all this structure to earn [this] moment because they don’t talk about their feelings. These are two characters that hate talking about getting emotional, hate being vulnerable. [Laughs.] And so we were able to do it because of the intensity of the episode and that they were almost at death[‘s door] and that they were in this raw spot where they felt they could talk about all of this. It was such a fun scene to write. It was even more fulfilling, I think, to see them act it, because they always just add so much; they’re so good together. And I was crying watching the two of them do it. So yeah, it was a great scene to watch.

We didn’t get to see Upton say goodbye to the team. What led to that decision?
Honestly, it’s real estate, right? It’s like you get such a small amount of time to tell these stories. And in my mind, that whole montage and the final act as she’s looking up places, she’s still going to work and she’s getting a goodbye with every single one of them. And we don’t get to see it. But I think she had a wonderful goodbye with every member of the team.

Obviously we’re not going to see her on-screen in a regular capacity, but what are your biggest hopes for Upton going forward?
I hope that she is out somewhere doing something very fulfilling with new people and that she’s at peace. And that she’s feeling just more hope for herself and that she’s living some sort of life where there’s happiness involved in it. That’s my hope.

CHICAGO P.D. Season 11 Finale: 'More' Photos

CHICAGO P.D. — “More” Episode 11013 — Pictured: (l-r) Bojana Novakovic as Josephine Petrovic, Marina Squerciati as Kim Burgess, Benjamin Levy Aguilar as Dante Torres, Tracy Spiridakos as Hailey Upton — (Photo by: George Burns Jr/NBC)

Jo (Bojana Novakovic) has been a big part of the season. Without asking you to spoil things, is she going to be a part of the team next season? And what do you anticipate the team looking like post-Upton?
I don’t have an answer for the first part, because I don’t know yet. I don’t have an answer. 

But yeah, I think it’s going to be such an interesting season next year because we are operating as a small unit, so we have a lot of space to bring in new people, to have new personalities, new kinds of police officers come into the unit, and I think it will really invigorate the show in a lot of ways and create some new dynamics for the team that I’m very excited about writing and I can’t wait to get in the room next week and start thinking on some new characters. It’s fun.

Burzek got engaged this season, but we really didn’t see much of them. What do you anticipate seeing for them next season? Is a wedding in store?
Yeah, I think it’s all a possibility, right? There’s so much we could do with them. I think we’ll have more answers in a couple of weeks [when we’re deeper in the writers’ room] as to what we’re doing. But I think it’s going to be very fun to see them in this new place in their life. And also to see the fallout from it. 

You know, sometimes when you have something like that in your life, you almost become more courageous, I think, because you have this like steady rock and this thing back home that is working and feels good. And so I’m hoping that it will also branch them off into different directions at work and fun stories for us to tell that we haven’t explored with the pair of them yet—[it] would be great.

CHICAGO P.D., Wednesdays, 10/9c, NBC


Follow @GiveMeMyRemote and @marisaroffman on Twitter for the latest TV news. Connect with other TV fans on GIVE ME MY REMOTE’s official Facebook page or our Instagram.

And be the first to see our exclusive videos by subscribing to our YouTube channel.

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases made through links/ads placed on the site.

Filed under Chicago PD

Comments Off on CHICAGO P.D. Post-Mortem: Gwen Sigan on Upton’s Exit and that Surprise Return


Comments are closed.