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Exclusive: Jesse Lee Soffer promises 'old school' Chicago PD episode for directorial debut

Jesse Lee Soffer played Jay Halstead in the NBC series

jesse lee soffer

Chicago PD fans will get to see Jesse Lee Soffer's directorial debut on Wednesday March 22, as the actor returns to the NBC franchise, five months after his last appearance as Jay Halstead. Jesse, who was with the show for over 10 years, confirmed he had quit in August 2022, and his last scenes aired in October 2022.

Now, he is back, and as you can see in the video below, he shared with HELLO how Wednesday's episode will be "an old school PD episode", and how making is directorial debut was "easier than I expected".

Jesse says episode 16 is "old school PD"

 Episode 16 of season ten, 'Deadlocked' will see Sergeant Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) take the stand in a high-stakes murder trial against notorious drug kingpin Arturo Morales.

But when it becomes clear that Morales and his henchmen have compromised a juror, Voight and the team work furiously to ensure justice prevails.

The episode is Jesse's first as a director, and he admits that he was "really happy with how the episode came out".

"I was terribly nervous beforehand - you can ask anyone - I was like, 'Oh God, this is crazy. What have I gotten myself into?'" the 38-year-old shared. "But everyone there knows the show so well and everyone at some point has 'directed' a scene here or there, given a note to a guest star to help something, change blocking or fight choreography for the camera to simplify. We're all doing that constantly so that was kind of seamless [for me]."

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Jesse on set with LaRoyce (left) and Jason

Directing a solo episode of a long-running procedural and ensuring that he got the tone right over his own preferences was "easier than I expected," Jesse added.

"I know PD really well and I know what's fun about our show and what's exciting about our show and how gritty it is, the living in the gray area of right and wrong, and all that stuff and, and so I knew how to walk all those lines because it's what I did day in and day out."

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Jesse makes his directorial debut

"The most difficult part is all these cast members [have been] your peers and your friends and your family for so long, and then giving people notes like, 'Let's lean on that more,' or 'Pull back on [this]' can feel tricky, but we all have such a shorthand and trust each other so much it actually wasn't much of an issue," he continued.

"And if there was an issue, it was just mine, in the first instance, to work up the courage to say, 'Hey, try it like this.'

But even that wasn't really a hurdle and I think I got over it pretty quick!"

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