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The Untold Truth Of Chicago P.D.'s Jesse Lee Soffer

As someone who has been acting ever since he was a pre-teen, Jesse Lee Soffer has spent most of his life in the public eye. His long-running role as detective Jay Halstead on the NBC hit "Chicago P.D." has made him one of the most familiar faces on network TV, and his appearances in high-profile crossover events with "Chicago Fire" and "Chicago Med" have only made him even more recognizable to TV viewers. Prior to his "Chicago P.D." role, Soffer made appearances on various different soap operas, including "As the World Turns," for which he earned three Emmy nominations (via IMDb) for his performance as Will Munson. He also portrayed Bobby Brady in both "The Brady Bunch Movie" and its sequel.

His work in other notable TV shows and feature films has resulted in both public and private aspects of the actor's life being, shall we say, widely reported. So what's left to discover about Soffer that most people don't already know? Well, a deep dive into various online rabbit holes reveals some fascinating untold truths about "Chicago P.D." star Jesse Lee Soffer.

Jesse Lee Soffer and a co-star teamed up for a real-life rescue

As "Chicago P.D." detective Jay Halstead, Jesse Lee Soffer's character has fearlessly faced down one life-or-death crisis after another. In fact, Halstead's courage under fire is fundamental to his character. But how would Jesse Lee Soffer really react to the kind of real-world emergency that might be featured in any of the "One Chicago" shows?

Soffer supplied the answer during TV Guide Magazine's Fan Favorites Comic-Con@Home panel. Asked to name a uniquely memorable fan encounter, the actor responded with a true story that also involved none other than "Chicago Med" star, Nick Gehlfuss (Will Halstead).

"I was out to dinner with Nick Gehlfuss, who plays my brother on 'Chicago Med,' and we were walking home from dinner and we heard screeching tires behind us. ... There was like a 10-foot ditch in front of a building on a main street in Chicago. And a car had rolled into it on its side. ... It was a bad accident. Nick and I ... we ran and he was like 'What are we doing?' And I was like, 'We go, we have to go.' And we sprang into action. We jump into the ditch and we pulled this woman out," Soffer recounted.

The actor added that the woman, shaken but unhurt, looked up, saw them both, and realized who had come to her rescue. "She sat there, and she was really rattled," Soffer. "She looked at him, and she goes, 'You're – but wait – you're–,' and then I came over and I was like, 'Ma'am, don't worry, fire and ambulance is on the way. Are you okay?' And she was like 'Aaah!' It was like a weird meta experience for her that like the Halstead brothers were saving her life."

As an example of life imitating art, Soffer's story just goes to show that when the chips are down, even TV heroes sometimes have what it takes to step up and save the day.

Jesse Lee Soffer likes riding motorcycles

When not filming his "Chicago P.D." scenes, there's one special pursuit that Jesse Lee Soffer turns to in order to relax off the set: riding motorcycles.

In an interview with New Theory Magazine, Soffer talked about his early days of learning to handle a bike in busy urban traffic and how the experience proved, of all things, calming. "I started riding in New York City; that's where I learned to ride, which I don't recommend. It's crazy, but learning to ride there, in an urban environment, was a really good education," Soffer said. "I like riding because there's something very zen about it and meditative about it. The noise in your head kind of goes away."

The outlet went on to ask Soffer which he prefers: shooting "Chicago P.D." or cruising the streets. "Riding and acting?! I can't choose!" Soffer said, before mentioning that the subject of him riding a bike in an episode of "Chicago P.D." has come up in conversations on the show's set. "Actually, it's funny you say that though because I have been nagging one of our producers, Derek Haas, on Twitter and face-to-face to get Halstead on a bike, to write it into the show," the actor revealed. Notably, his fans have even joined him in the effort, with one person launching an online petition calling to "Get Jesse Lee Soffer on a motorcycle for 'Chicago P.D.'"

But did those "Chicago P.D." viewers ever get to see Jesse Lee Soffer's Jay Halstead roaring into action on a two-wheeler? Indeed, they did, as is evidenced by one "Chicago P.D." clip that was tweeted by @NBCOneChicago in 2018.

There's a surprising link between his Chicago P.D. co-stars and the Hatfields & McCoys

Several years after finishing up his long-running, Emmy-nominated role as Will Munson on the daytime soap, "As the World Turns," Jesse Lee Soffer starred in the short-lived FOX TV drama "The Mob Doctor" (via IMDb).  He played the young brother of the series' titular doc, who finds himself unable to pay back gambling debts to the mob, which results in his sister being forced to become the crooks' on-call physician in order to keep her little brother alive.

The show only lasted for a single season, but Soffer's performance caught the eye of a production company that was planning a new take on the classic "Hatfields & McCoys" story (via The Wrap). Produced by Charlize Theron ("Monster, "Young Adult"), the show planned to bring the original tale of two feuding families into a modern-day, urban setting.

While the project failed to be picked up by a network, the show's connection to "Chicago P.D." actually extends beyond Soffer himself. His co-star, Patrick Flueger, was also cast in the project, as was ex-"Chicago P.D." actor Sophia Bush (via IMDb). Of course, after the "Hatfields & McCoys" production fell through, the three young actors eventually found themselves reunited as part of the burgeoning "One Chicago" universe on NBC.

Jesse Lee Soffer trains with seasoned police professionals

Bringing the gritty, urban crime-fighting world of "Chicago P.D." authentically to life largely depends on getting the smallest details right. According to Jesse Lee Soffer, great pains are, indeed, taken to ensure every aspect of the show rings true.

"You know, all the cops you see on our show that are extras, they're real cops on their day off," Soffer told Bello Magazine. Expanding on the subject with Hidden Remote, Soffer described what it takes to achieve the show's vivid realism every week, saying, "We've done so much training... with real police on set all day... You pick up the lingo, you pick up the vibes. It makes it easier to play your character, that's for sure." In fact, Soffer's dedication to his training has earned serious praise from the police professionals putting him through his paces. "I've gotten some pretty high compliments from the SWAT guys saying I'd kick in a door with Jesse any day," the actor revealed.

Soffer gives a lot of credit for the show's convincing look and feel to a pair of former law enforcement veterans. "From the beginning, we were working with a guy named Brian Luce and another guy named Walt Smith, who are our technical advisors," Soffer noted. "Both have probably combined 50 years on the force and have done all sorts of different jobs from intelligence to narcotics, and they are hanging around with us all day every day, giving us tidbits here and there about what someone might be thinking in a situation. That just enhances the performance for us."

It's no surprise that, with this level of attention to the show's details, Soffer and the "Chicago P.D." crew have hit on a sure-fire formula for producing one of network TV's most credible and immersive police procedurals.

The Jesse Lee Soffer mystery that may never be solved

Taking down bad guys every week as detective Jay Halstead on "Chicago P.D.," Jesse Lee Soffer cuts a larger-than-life figure. But the truth is, there seems to be some debate about just how tall Soffer actually is. Fortunately for the fans determined to know all there is to know about the stars they follow, there are websites happy to answer just these kinds of questions. 

ListCeleb, for instance, reports that Jesse Lee Soffer is 5 feet 8 inches tall (that's 1.73 meters for you metric system types). However, "One Chicago" Center notes that "Some outlets list him at 5' 10", while others claim he stands at 6'0"."

The site went on to exhaustively detail and compare Soffer to his on-screen co-stars in an attempt to solve the ongoing mystery surrounding his height, writing, "LeRoyce Hawkins is 6'3", and Jason Beghe is 5'10". Soffer is significantly shorter than Hawkins and slightly taller than Beghe, which leads us to believe that his height is somewhere in between. Soffer is also taller than his onscreen love interest, Tracy Spiridakos, who stands at 5'6"."

Elsewhere, the aptly named Celeb Heights (yes, that's a thing) asked users to try and solve the question by voting on it. Only five votes were tallied, with the users collectively guessing that Soffer is 5 feet 11 inches tall. 

Unfortunately, "Chicago P.D." fans may just have to keep waiting to find out exactly how tall Jesse Lee Soffer is. It's a mystery that, weirdly, may never be permanently solved.