My Frustration with the Writing of Jay Halstead’s Past
Gina and Bryna both write for the pop-culture website, Talk Nerdy With Us. Back in April 2017, Bryna wrote a post regarding her frustration about how the Chicago P.D. writers were handling Jay’s past. You can check out her original post here or keep reading to see the whole thing.
Let’s have a little talk about Jay Halstead and his past, shall we?
I have been a Jay Halstead fan since the moment he was introduced in Chicago Fire. Since the moment he was talking about Long Island ice teas with Gabriela Dawson, I have never looked back; Halstead’s calm demeanor mixed with his sharp-minded wit and his tactical background immediately drew me in but I stayed for the attractive, caring, and emotional person that lingered underneath. He is without a doubt my favorite character in all of #OneChicago.
However, the thing that I find the most fascinating and intriguing about him is his past, specifically related to his time in the military. We have learned tidbits here and there, mainly from Mouse (who I miss so much), but also from his wife (never getting over this reveal) and even from his brother, Will.
My problem, though, is that it has been four seasons and we hardly know anything about it. We, as fans, should not still be begging the writers to develop and tell what is arguably one of the most important backstories in the entire franchise. They, as writers, should be eager to tell this story. But from the many cut scenes and ditched storylines, this does not seem to be the case.
This was most recently evident in episode 4×18. According to Sophia Bush’s Twitter account, the end scene between her character, Erin Lindsay, and Jay Halstead was cut in half. She said that, in the footage that was cut, Jay tells her about his PTSD support group. Based on her tweet being in all caps and the sobbing face, broken heart, and flame emojis that she used, it seems that Bush was thrown off by the elimination and outraged just like us fans.
While they finally picked up this important piece to the puzzle that is Jay and his past off of the cutting room floor and put it on the Internet a couple of days after the episode initially aired, it angers me that they even cut this from the episode in the first place. This scene provided more context to Jay’s decision to leave Erin in 4×17; without that information, Jay’s decision does not make a whole lot of sense and will not make sense to the people who binge-watch the show in the future. I get that the show is called Chicago P.D. and that the cases often take precedence, but sometimes they focus too much on the case.
It also angers me because I know Jesse Lee Soffer would act the hell out of these storylines if he was given the chance. Even when he is apparently given the chance, fans are not able to see his hard work come to fruition.
Despite my frustration, I am not going to stop watching the show; I love all of the other aspects too much to do so. I just want the writers to recognize the mistake they are making by not finally giving this storyline the screen time and attention it deserves. This is bigger than my desire to see more of my favorite character and the gorgeous actor that plays him; it’s about the chance to talk about the important part of society that is veterans and the trials and tribulations they have when they return from serving our country overseas.
So here’s my last ditch effort to the writers: Please stop f***ing around with Jay Halstead. Write his story the way it deserves to be written. Give Jesse Lee Soffer the chance to deliver a flawless performance. Keep the few scenes you do write in the actual episode and do not let them take a backseat to that episode’s case. I, like many other fans, are tired of this and will only put up with this for so long.