Q: Why did "Chicago P.D." kill off Al Olinsky? His character was excellent.

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Adam Thomlison / TV Media

As hard as this is for fans to hear, he was killed for the sake of the story.

It's hard because it sort of implicates you in the decision -- it was done with you, the fans, in mind -- and it's hard because you come to identify with the characters as people, and with the actors who play them.

I'll make this even harder on you, then, and say that beloved character actor Elias Koteas, who played Al Olinsky since the launch of "Chicago P.D." in 2014, wasn't happy about the decision.

Showrunner/head writer Rick Eid gave an interview with Us Weekly explaining the move, and he said that telling Koteas was the hardest part of the whole thing.

"It was a hard decision because we all really liked it creatively -- it just felt like there was honesty to the storytelling that we all got excited about -- then came the practical reality of, 'Wait, he's one of our favorite characters and one of our favorite actors and favorite people in real life.'"

As for the creative part, without getting too deep into the intricacies of the plot, they decided that killing Olinsky would give "a consequence" to Voight (Jason Beghe) killing Bingham.

To put it another way, Olinsky was killed to develop Voight's character. Screenwriting is a hard business.

The show gave Olinsky his due, though. The sixth season premiere this fall was devoted to showing the characters coming to terms with his death, culminating with his funeral at the end of the episode.

As Monsters and Critics reviewer Tiffany Bailey put it, "Fans watched as life nearly stood still in the fictional world."


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