Is Jason Beghe Really Leaving Chicago P.D.?
“Chicago P.D.” is one of many highly-rated crime dramas on NBC. It belongs to a small family of other Chicago-based dramas including “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago Med.” It’s currently airing new episodes of Season 9 every Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, and previous episodes are currently available for streaming on Hulu and Peacock. It stars many talented actors whose characters have been put through the wringer lately — none the least of which is Hank Voight (Jason Beghe).
Voight has been a central figure of the series from the very beginning. Many fans were initially drawn to his tough, no-nonsense, “willing to break the rules to catch the perp and close the case” approach to his job. Of course, this was back in 2014. Things have changed in the past seven years, both on the show and in the real world upon which the series is based. And the changes that Voight’s character has gone through in recent episodes have fans worried that he might be leaving the show. Are their fears grounded in reality? Or is “Chicago P.D.” about to lose one of its most iconic characters?
Don't worry, fans, Voight isn't going anywhere
Fans on Reddit have been complaining a lot lately about the way Voight has changed since the beginning of the show. They miss his “badass” personality and lament that the show has “neutered his character” in order to reflect the changing times. So that’s where most of the controversy about Jason Beghe leaving the show is coming from — viewers are suspicious that the series is so desperate to be “woke” that they’re phasing out the tough-guy characters in order to make room for newer, more “politically correct” ones. Despite their irrational fears, though, that isn’t what’s happening — not to Beghe, at least. Then-showrunner Rick Eid had recently stated in a TV Line interview that Voight will “continue to grapple with” his ambivalent emotions, which strongly implies he’ll be around long enough to at least finish out the season.
Are the fans right, though? Are the show’s writers effectively selling out in order to capitalize on “woke culture”? Or are the writers manifesting the change they want to see in the world via their work? A cynic would claim the former. An optimist would claim the latter. A realist would probably say that their motivations fall somewhere in the middle. Either way, “Chicago P.D.” seems to be abandoning the classic rogue cop trope in favor of more emotionally nuanced storylines. And the vocal minority of schmaltzy, disgruntled fans who miss their “badass cops” will probably have to invest in the Blu-Ray HD “Lethal Weapon” collection if “Chicago P.D.” fails to scratch their itch.