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Chicago PD: Star Tracy Spiridakos on Hailey ’s ‘Inner Turmoil’!

During Wednesday’s episode of “Chicago PD,” Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos) finally allowed herself to break down about Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) choosing to leave town, especially after learning that he’s extended his tour in Bolivia.

Until now, Hailey hasn’t shown how hurt she’s been over her husband’s exit. Instead, it’s all been in her head.

“I think she’s going through the motions and she’s getting up, going to work and getting up, going to work, but there’s a lot of inner turmoil happening,” Spiridakos tells Variety. “This ultimately will change her in some way, which I’m interested to see how. We’re still in the change. She finds out that he’s extended his stay and has that break down moment of having this hope and then all of a sudden, that’s gone. It’s the first time we see her break down since he’s left, since their goodbye. I think there’s gonna be some changes for her over the next little while.”

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Chicago P.D. Season 10 Episode 12, “I Can Let You Go.”]

Chicago PD: Star Tracy Spiridakos on Hailey ’s ‘Inner Turmoil’!
Although Hailey still wears her wedding ring, Spiridakos knows that “eventually” she’ll take it off and close that chapter.

“She still considers herself still married,” she says. “I think her taking it off, I’m sure there will be a moment that will come. I assume that’s coming. I’m interested to see what that will be like. Is that a goodbye? Is that self preservation? … I’d like to explore is what that feels like to have been in such a raw place and she’s not overly open anyway. I feel that she probably will just shut that door for a long time.”

Although she’s making many “adjustments” in her personal life, Hailey’s put all her focus into work.

“I do think she is becoming a better cop. I feel like that is her trajectory,” she says. “On a personal level, I can imagine that there’s gonna be a part of her that shuts down emotionally. As far as a relationship and even getting close to people, I can see her being somebody that will keep people at a distance while she’s going through what she’s going through.”

Her work relationship, though, is growing with Voight (Jason Beghe), who also lost his right-hand man at work when Halstead left.

“We have had more intimate moments, and when I say intimate, I mean personal revelations,” Beghe says. “One thing that Voight insists on and admires — and it’s hard for his team to do — is he always wants you to be you. Don’t be me. He doesn’t want a team of Voights. Hailey, even though they might clash, she stands up for herself and isn’t afraid to say who she is and what she thinks. So that creates trust. It can create some tension but it does create trust.”

Director Gave Tracy Spiridakos ‘Space’ for Those Two Heavy Upton Scenes

For Gia-Rayne Harris’ TV directorial debut, she was given a Chicago P.D. episode that ended with two major scenes for Detective Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos).

How did this end up being your TV directorial debut? And what about the episode made it perfect for you for that?

Gia-Rayne Harris: I am beyond grateful to NBC for giving me [an] opportunity. This episode and this show were the perfect start for me in this avenue of TV directing. My mother retired from being a police officer after 33 years, so getting to work on a show that shows them in a light similar to how I know her and her peers was a dream. She was able to visit me on set — having never seen me direct — and it was magic.

This was an interesting one because it is actually a complicated episode. It’s ending some storylines; it’s creating some new ones. For me, that’s a playground because I get to have the tendrils of what existed, but I also get the shot at creating something entirely new. So I was able to cast, [and] I was able to go through that process instead of just having only people that were already there. But yeah, I think it was a huge challenge, and they wanted to throw me in the deep end.

Chicago PD: Star Tracy Spiridakos on Hailey ’s ‘Inner Turmoil’!

And also because the episode ends with two heavy scenes for Upton. First, there’s the phone call where she finds out about Jay’s extension and that he requested it. What was your approach to directing that scene in comparison to the earlier scenes of her at home? Because we’ve been seeing her at home also alone since he left.

My approach honestly with working with her was to give her space. She knows her character; she knows that relationship. We know and love that relationship as fans. But it was really important to give her space to play and also to let the real emotions come up. So in terms of the phone call, all you had to do was make sure the camera was in the right place for her. And in terms of the final scene that you brought up, Upton has not gotten a chance to say her piece. She’s not gotten a chance to say exactly how she feels either really to Sean about Sean, but also to Jay. So the idea was to finally give her some closure and to let her do it the way she wanted to.

Speaking of the scene with Sean, there were a few scenes in that room. What was your approach to directing Tracy and Jefferson for those? It’s almost like directing a two-person play, right?

You’re exactly right. The two of them are heavy hitters in a million ways, but they bring out the best in each other in terms of acting. It’s terrifying to see how kind and sweet and beautiful they are as people, and they have this mode where they’re ready to go. So directing them in those scenes, my reference for that was Hannibal. The relationship between Hannibal and Clarice has always been one that’s creeped me out and gotten me intrigued. So this idea of him technically being trapped but always having the power was something I wanted to play with, but by the end I wanted her to reclaim that power.

Yeah. It kind of felt like Sean wanted that dynamic to be like Hannibal and Clarice.

He was so sickening with it, and he knew what he was doing. He was kind of the puppet master, kind of like he had been doing to her this whole season, but now he could do it from inside [prison]. Yeah, it was a wild thing to play with.

What was your approach to the entire episode as a whole, knowing you’d be ending on those two scenes?

My approach was the same throughout. It was important that I not put too much weight on the scenes. They will be weighty because they are, right? They will be weighty because the words are there and because the actors are good. So I trusted that, and I gave the whole script attention and clarity, and I focused my prep on each element.

But I knew what was coming. The other plus though is that the phone call you saw was shot on the first day, so I didn’t get to be precious about it or overthink it. And then, in terms of the Upton and Sean scenes you saw, those were all shot on my last day. So thankfully, the schedule makes you work hard. You don’t get to kind of go in the arc of the story. You go with what’s available to you. So everything got equally weighted.

What was your favorite scene to direct?

I don’t know how to answer that. It’s like being like, “this child’s better than this child.” [Laughs] One of the biggest challenges was the stunt work because I had not done a ton of stunt work. So the car crash scene, I had to ask a lot of questions on how the heck do we pull this off and how do we keep everybody safe?

I used to be an assistant director and so my heart around safety will never go away, but the stunt team on Chicago PD is just a family, and they’re incredible, so they were able to give me my answers, and I was able to get eight cameras to make sure we had all the right angles on how to pull this thing off once. I kind of felt this like — electric thing the whole time because I was like, “what might happen? We don’t know. We get one chance.

Is there anything specific you’d like to direct more going forward? Because this episode had everything — action scenes, interrogation-like scenes, emotional scenes…

It really did. I’m open to anything with heart, right? Anything that makes sure the heart is there. I love action. I’m just a weirdo for action, so I’d like to do that more. But I always want this emotional thing at the core of it. I’d also love to keep working with kids. They’re a blast. The kid that was in this episode was a dream to work with, and he challenged me in different ways because I had to use different tools to work with him. I’d love to keep being challenged. Whatever comes my way, I want to be challenged.

You talked about the tendrils of what’s coming up because you introduced that new family. What can you say about what you know about that storyline that informed your approach to that?

Sono stati molto attenti a proteggere sia gli attori che me dal sapere troppo, e penso che sia stato brillante perché mi ha permesso di lasciare che tutti noi fossimo presenti nella storia. Devo dire che tutti e tre gli attori sono incredibili. Caitlin, che interpreta la madre, è venuta solo per giocare. Questa famiglia, credo, sarà una sfida per tutta la nostra squadra, e sono curioso di vedere come si sfideranno i singoli membri della squadra. Penso che si estenderà oltre il rapporto che abbiamo visto ora con Upton e Voight [Jason Beghe]. Abbiamo bisogno di un elemento scintillante a cui la nostra squadra si affezioni, e sarei davvero sorpreso se non fosse così.

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Source: Variety / TV Insider

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Chiara Lombatti
Chiara Lombatti
When Cristina Yang’s mankind hate, and Sherlock Holmes’ deductive skills meet Randall Pearson’s anxiety and Jamie Fraser’s multilingualism (featuring Claire Fraser’s curls and Kate Pearson’s voice). Translator and feature article with a great love for cinema, TV series and books.


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