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Dick Wolf on Sophia Bush's Chicago P.D. Departure: 'She Wanted to Leave'

#OneChicago uberproducer Dick Wolf is speaking out for the first time since it was revealed that Chicago P.D. star Sophia Bush is exiting the NBC drama after four seasons.

“She wanted to leave,” Wolf told reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Thursday. As for how the show will bounce back after losing one of its original cast members, “I don’t think it will have any effect at all,” Wolf said. (Bush has not commented about her decision to leave the series.)

News of Bush’s departure as Detective Erin Lindsay broke following the Season 4 finale in May, which found the cop contemplating a job offer at the FBI’s counter-terrorism unit in New York City, while ignoring a call from ex-boyfriend Jay Halstead. In the aftermath, Tracy Spiridakos’ Det. Hailey Upton was promoted to series regular for the upcoming fifth season. Additionally, it was announced that Jon Seda, who plays Det. Antonio Dawson, would rejoin P.D. after a one-season stint on the cancelled spinoff Chicago Justice.

P.D. is also undergoing some changes behind the scenes: Rick Eid (Law & Order: SVU) has stepped in as showrunner, replacing departing executive producer Matt Olmstead. “Nobody left because they did a bad job,” Wolf said of the showrunner switch. “With Matt, he’s kind of burnt out. Everybody forgot that he was really on point for three shows. It’s very hard.”

Chicago P.D. returns with new episodes on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 10/9c on NBC.

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110 Comments
  1. Jimmy says:

    Erin was on of my favorite characters and I hate to see her go. I disagree with wolf that it will have no effect at all. Regardless, I do enjoy the show and the other characters so I will continue to watch it. I hope Tracy does a good job but I don’t think she has the chops that Sophia does.

  2. Juliana says:

    No effect at all? wo I guess this is how showrunners treat their female characters.

    • Patrick says:

      I think it more likely that Sophia was in a place professionally that the benefits (money) of living and working far away from her friends and family, combined with those brutal Chicago winters, was just too much. For actors who haven’t had as much success as she’s had, the financial inducements were enough to retain them. I’m sure there was a level of money that would have gotten her back for more seasons, but NBC was unwilling to pay her that much (nor probably anyone else on the show). I think she loved the show, but it was just too hard on her life, given where she is in her life/career.

      • Lucy says:

        And let’s not forget that she did 9 seasons of One Tree Hill, the majority of those were 22 episodes a season. Network TV is a grueling schedule, especially if you are doing full seasons. Likely she also wanted a break from that.

        • Patrick says:

          That is what I meant. She made retirement money (if not F-U) money from OTH. Given the schedule, the geographical location (Chi town is bonkers-fantastic, but the winters are grueling for thin blooded CA transplants), and her place in life, she probably just didn’t feel it any more.

          • Iris says:

            Yeah, sure, no actor wants a steady job or to be on several successful shows in a row. LOL.
            Deadline gave one reason for Bush’s departure, the CPD set being “tough for female performers”. It’s very clear what it means, and no one involved even tried to spin it.

          • Lily says:

            There has been no evidence of Bush being treated unfairly except for one sensational headline from a totally unreliable web site which did it for bait clicking and then spread by many of her fans who cannot accept she wants to leave. Bush is not the only female on the show and there has been no evidence of unfair treatment or complaints by any. I’m so tired of all your bullsh*t. Wish her well and move on . . .

          • Exactly. Sophia fans don’t want to accept that though. What Lily said below is SPOT-ON.

        • Muffy says:

          She should try to join a cable or streaming show.

      • Dude says:

        I think it was more about how toxic that work environment was for women. She seemed to really love her job aside from that.

    • icevolcanos says:

      What did you expect him to say? “We’re totally lost and I don’t know how to do the show anymore, Can someone show me how to use a camera?” If you search “cast turnover”, I’m pretty sure there’s a picture of Dick Wolf’s Law & Order. Did any female ADA’s last more than four seasons? (Altho S. Epatha Merkerson did okay: 391 episodes.)

    • Not really. Sophia CHOSE to leave, nobody forced her to make that decision.

  3. Alyson says:

    No effect at all? I think all those Linstead fans will disagree with that.

  4. Margo Elle says:

    Wow. That quote is quite a slam. Rude even. I am telling you as a fan of hers, it WILL have an effect on the show, and going forward. Sophia is known for dating co starts, and then leaving shows if she has the option. This is sad, he was rude, but if she’s happy, I guess it’s fine.

    • Tyler says:

      A habit of leaving shows if she has the option? She was on One Tree Hill for 9 years, reportedly dating 3 of her costars through that time, and stayed through every cast change and contract negotiation, even continuing to work with her exes. None of that is slamming her, by the way, she can date whoever she wants. She has a great track record regarding her professional life! She does not have a habit of leaving shows

    • Hannah says:

      What other shows has she left? She was on One Tree Hill for almost a decade from start to finish, and she was on Partners from start to finish. Those are her only other TV gigs where she was a lead character from the start…

  5. T.W.S.S. says:

    “I don’t think it will have any effect at all.” I can’t tell if he’s putting on a brave face or trying to dis Sophia Bush. Or worse, if they really intend for Jay and Voight to act like Erin wasn’t a huge part of their lives. I mean, they don’t have to wallow all season, but Erin leaving should have some effect.

  6. Jeepers says:

    Not super familiar with Wolf, but the undertones of his comments make it seem as though there are some hard feelings there. The Chicago franchise is not super female forward to begin with. I can see that wearing on Sophia eventually considering what she seems to value so much in her personal life. Maybe it just ended up being enough, and as someone else said, she’s in a position in her life financially and professionally where the negative started outweighing the positives of being on the show. I do disagree however that there won’t be any fallout from it. Linstead was their primary shipper group, along with Burgess and Ruzek who aren’t even together anymore. The Chicago shows don’t tend to rely on ‘fandoms’ as much as other series do, but it certainly isn’t going to help ratings that have been sliding a bit recently.

    • GrumpyMittens says:

      I know, right? Usually showrunners say something along the lines of ‘wishing her best’ and ‘understanding the reasons behind the decision’, or even ‘hoping she’ll do well no matter what’, not to mention the standard ‘was a great member of our show’s family and will be missed’ – not ‘whatever, she’s gone and so is the guy who produced those three shows, by the way’.

    • Lily says:

      The shippers are the most vocal on twitter but there are also many fans that watch because they like entire cast, not just “Linstead.” Personally, I am more excited for the new season because I’m hoping we will see more stories for EVERYONE and not so much for one couple. Many of my friends agree.

  7. Lily says:

    For all you SB fans who think the sun rises and falls because of her, I get your pain for losing her character on the show. But it was HER decision and to rag on the other cast members/crew because you are upset is simply wrong and rude. Accept that it was what SHE wanted at this point in her career and wish her the best in her next role. Watch or don’t watch but don’t hope for failure because that is not fair to a great ensemble cast and many who work long hours behind the scenes . I was ok with Erin Lindsey but did get tired of all the repetitious storylines that centered around her. I’m looking forward to the new season more than ever and hope to see the storylines spread around a GREAT CAST!!!

    • Mary says:

      I don’t see anybody raging, just making a observation on how Wolf’s statement came across. I wish her luck, and yes her decision but since she was such a major character, her absence will be felt.

      • Lily says:

        Look at the comments on the official Facebook and Twitter accounts. Unbelievably rude! I feel sorry for the actress playing the new character Upton. She has every right to accept a role offered to her but some of the comments are ridiculous towards her.

        • Chris says:

          What that’s Tracy isn’t a good actress ? That’s been evident since revolution she is awful.

        • Mary says:

          I base my opinion on what was written on the TV Line site, since I am on their article not facebook or twitter. You should do the same or maybe elaborate a bit more.

          • Lily says:

            Mary, what gives you the idea I was responding to a comment made by you? I was making a comment concerning the situation of SB’s exit from the show as addressed in this article. There is nothing unclear in my comment, just my opinion.

          • Mary says:

            Gee I don’t know, maybe the fact that you hit reply under my post. You told me to look at Facebook and twitter. Seriously, you are entitle to your opinion but don’t come unhinge when people don’t agree.

          • Lily says:

            I was answering YOUR reply to my original post of who is ragging . . . that is all. I am certainly not “unhinged.” I think what we have here is a “failure to communicate” . . . lol . . . Anyway, everyone is entitled to a civil opinion and I hope you have a nice day.

    • kalli says:

      Accepting that it’s what she wanted also means accepting the reasons and factors for her wanting that. The evidence that the set is not the best working environment is part of that.

      • Lily says:

        What evidence other than her choosing to leave?? I know there are all kinds of rumors on twitter but that is not exactly evidence. If it is such a bad place to work, why has that apparently only affected her? The TRUTH is no one who comments here knows if there are any other reasons other than just a career move.

        • Facts are inconvenient, Lily. lol If Sophia said it, then it must be true. Because, obviously she’s the only one that matters. Marina hasn’t had any issues, and she’s a female on the same show. It’s easier for people to think Sophia had some horrible experience than she just chose to leave for whatever reason. But, that’s not sensational enough. According to them, she left because she was mistreated or because she and Jesse broke up. No other reason. lol

  8. westwingwolf says:

    My interpretation is that Wolf is talking the effect won’t have any negative downside to the ratings. I don’t know how likely that will be, but CPD is more procedural than anything else so it is likely that the ratings won’t change that much even with a favorite leaving. As to what effect it will have on the storylines, I’m sure it will have some effect on Voight and Jay, but I’m also sure they’ll do what they can to not let it affect work. My guess is Voight would have an easier time since he set this up for Lindsay. I don’t think they’ll ignore the fact that she is gone, but at some point they will have to stop addressing it.

  9. Bellastwin says:

    Sophia bush fans are some of the most arrogant, entitled, DISRESPECTFUL low lives on the planet.

    • Jamie says:

      Hmm, all of the Sophia Bush fans are being pretty civil, whereas you are name-calling and telling people to “go to h***”, so…

    • Meg says:

      I get it that you are annoyed when SB fans diss your favorite character by stating that Sophia is the ONE that matters. It annoys me too. But please don’t take out your frustration by name calling. We have a President who does that and it sucks for all of us . . . .

  10. Deny says:

    I liked her, but the show most likely won’t suffer from her absence. Fire survived Lauren German’s exit, too.

  11. Raphaella Santoro says:

    Saying that Sophia leaving the show won’t have any effect at all is naive and not very clever. When Antonio left we were all upset, but Jon Seda’s character isn’t a main one. Detective Lindsay and her relationship with Voight (and yeah, Jay Halstead)that’s what the show is all about. Everything will change without her.

    • Bellastwin says:

      He wasn’t the main one? ARE YOU EFFIN SERIOUS? HE WAS THE FIRST CHARACTER FROM CHICAGO PD TO BE INTRODUCED!!!!!! Stick it you ass!

    • Megster says:

      I respectfully disagree. For me, those relationships were not what the show was ALL about. Things will change but I’m ok with that if it means more stories around the entire cast. Can’t wait for the new season :-)

    • Alex says:

      Also, Antonio didn’t leave the franchise. He was still around after he left PD, showing up in CF and CPD episodes before CJ started.

  12. Joe says:

    Dick Wolf also did a bazillion seasons of Law & Order and that show replaced cast members all the time and it really had no effect on the show, why would Sophia Bush leaving here be any different?

  13. Douglas from Brazil says:

    Chicago set is a not good place for women. You can see how they are treated.

    • Bellastwin says:

      Well women shouldn’t be doing shows with a male dominated cast if they can’t handle it.

    • The Rookie says:

      They are so badly treated whole seasons are focused on their characters and the producers respect their wishes to leave when they want to.

      • Lily says:

        I am so tired of her fans spreading statements that she was treated badly because they cannot accept the simple fact she wanted to move on. Actors make those decisions. The producers and writers gave her more storylines and promoted her all the time. It must be hard to be so badly treated . . . lol

        • jaelyn96 says:

          No one spreading rumors. She might have wanted to leave but there was lots of thinks that most likely played into her decision

          • Lily says:

            I’m sure there were several considerations that led to her decision to move on. But there are many statements from her fans on social media stating she was treated poorly. There is no actual evidence of that but I think that idea gained traction because it is hard for her fans to accept losing this character. I get that. The TRUTH is that no one who comments here knows what led to her decision. But it is hers to make and so be it :-)

          • Lily says:

            I’m sure there were several considerations that led to her decision to move on. But there are many statements from her fans on social media stating she was treated poorly. I know of no actual evidence of that but I think that idea gained traction because it is hard for her fans to accept losing this character. I get that. The TRUTH is that no one who comments here knows what led to her decision. But it is hers to make and so be it :-)

          • Lily says:

            oops . . . sorry for double post . . . stupid computer

        • jaelyn96 says:

          Not sure why I can’t reply to your bottom comment, but her fans ain’t spreading rumors or because she leaving, there is a podcast out there which shed lights to it.

        • jaelyn96 says:

          Not sure why I cannot respond to your bottom comment. But her fans on social media are not making things up about stuff on set because we have a hard time losing her character. There is a podcast which is very telling and that’s where her fans are getting the information about the problems.

  14. Lena says:

    “I don’t think it will have any effect at all” is not a kind or professional thing to say about an actress he’d previously raved about. He must know she was a big draw, his comments make him seem petty and bitter, to be honest.

  15. JennyfromGeorgia says:

    I don’t think he meant any disrespect with his comments. Law and Order went on for many years with a revolving character list and never really felt the impact of a single character leaving. In real life people leave and move on and his comments reflect that. I will miss Linstead and her character.

  16. Adam says:

    “I don’t think it will have any effect at all,” Wolf said.

    SOUNDS like the two did not leave on good terms Ey?

    • Biggie says:

      I know right! It’s a shame because if you look back it seemed like they were friends /family? Now the cast and Sophia don’t even acknowledge each other? This old dudes comment sucks!!! Her exit was bad thought she deserved a better send off!! oh well life goes on! More important issues in the world than some tv show!!!

      • teacher4life says:

        “This old dude” is the reason the character of Erin Lindsey every existed. And yes, there are more important issues than tv shows.

      • Bellastwin says:

        Jon and Tracey were at the TCAs and said something about sophia’s departure.

  17. Horus says:

    I actually stopped watching Chicago PD last season because of her. It felt like too much of the show was focusing on the “pretty girl’s” problems and avoiding a lot of other characters who needed more real development. I will actually give next season a few episode try now to see if it grab me again.

    • Zee says:

      Oh me too! I can now go back to watching the show. Her acting was pretty boring and average. frankly i never could understand what was said great about her that warranted such fear that the ratings on pd would decline without SB. No, it won’t!!

  18. Lindsay says:

    I’ve been wondering about her departure since it was announced back in the spring. Just seemed odd that she didn’t seem to really do any interviews about it or farewells to fans. Not really her style from how she was with OTH, and how she seems to be on social media. I always felt like there was something more to the story, and with Wolf’s comment it definitely sounds like there was some negativity around her leaving. I’m bummed she is gone. I was fine with Linstead, but I thought the dynamics between Lindsay and Voight were more interesting.

  19. Steve says:

    With Erin gone, and now disastrous SVU executive producer Rick Eid (who made SVU a snoozefest last season) moving over to produce PD, I doubt it’ll be very watchable this season.

  20. Dude says:

    No effect on the series at all? Erin Lindsay was the heart of that show.

  21. Charlene Ofstedahl says:

    Why are people allowed to swear at other people on this site. Some of the comments should have been removed. Very disrespectful and should be addressed.

  22. jaelyn96 says:

    Dick comments were rude. He has some hard feelings there. But he has to protect his show and NBC so yeah let’s not talk about the cast member putting the hand in the face and not letting her put a word in when he was berating a director. And the harassment she got from certain guest stars. Sophia is a loss to the franchise since she was used a lot across of three shows. And well Rick Eid, those who want more crime stories and less personal storyline focused on cast. You might get your wish

  23. Elsa says:

    I heard Sophia tried to give her opinion on something & one of her male co stars tried to shut her up by putting his hands on her face. It’s all over Twitter.

    • jaelyn96 says:

      The cast member was giving a director a hard time about a scene on how they should do it. And the cast member and the director kept on going back and forth. Sophia tried to intervene and gave her opinion if they do it this way and he put his hand in her face and told her to stop. But the director agreed with her and said that was a good idea.

  24. jOYCE M GARCIA says:

    I only watched the show cause of her.. Sad.

  25. Cobra says:

    Will she appear in any episodes at all to close out her story?

  26. equaterblog says:

    I think it’s safe to say that the grueling schedule this show goes through was too much for Sophia to handle. She was already a multi millionaire before this show even filmed in the first place. Totally understandable. That and she has to go through those polar vortex in chicago? Cmon man i’d be out of there, and just chill with my friends and family with my set-for-life money.

  27. Regardless of why Sophia chose to leave (only she knows), it’s a little disappointing that she never addressed it herself. Even Jennifer Morrison posted something on IG, after her OUAT exit was confirmed. We didn’t need a long, complicated statement or something. She could have kept it short and sweet, how long would that really take? I’m glad Dick Wolf finally said something, because they had everyone essentially hanging on pins and needles for months waiting for confirmation. To me, it seems like NBC and Dick Wolf might have been waiting for Sophia to confirm it herself. They gave her that courtesy. When she’d still never said anything months later and filming had already started, he finally decided to take the first opportunity to clarify the situation. And, I thank him for it. It shows that he respects the fans, and realizes who keeps him employed.

    Erin’s exit was horrible. Not only did she not tell Jay she was leaving, but she completely ignored his phone call as if he meant nothing to her. And, that was after she once again chose Bunny over him. However, maybe C.P.D. did the best they could with the time they had. It seems like Sophia chose to leave rather suddenly. When Linstead broke up, she said she hated it and hoped it was the start of Jay’s PTSD storyline. A few months later, the reports came out that she’s leaving. She may not have given the writers and producers enough time to construct an appropriate exit. It was pretty rushed.

    That being said, at least we won’t have to deal with Bunny anymore. And, maybe some other characters can get storylines now. Jay in particular is overdue. His entire storyline revolved around Erin and Linstead. He was simply used to prop her storylines and be her boyfriend/ex-boyfriend. This was never supposed to be the Erin Lindsay show, yet she was the only one with any storylines. It became completely centered around her and her family drama. I didn’t even start watching for Sophia, but for the show itself.

    I’m really excited about Jon Seda’s return, because I never liked Antonio leaving in the first place. Burgess is finally back! And I loved Tracy Spiridakos as Nikki on MacGyver, so I’m pretty excited to see her as a regular on C.P.D. this season. I’m curious about Upton’s backstory, and I really liked her character last season once she lost the attitude. This is an excellent cast from top to bottom. It always has been, so I will still be watching. I watch C.P.D. for all of them, and because it’s a good show.

  28. Cindy says:

    I’m going to stop watching. She made the show. It’s going to fail without her.