‘Chicago P.D.’: Tracy Spiridakos’ Experience With Anxiety Helped Her Film an Intense Panic Attack Scene

The death of Roy Walton in the season eight finale of Chicago P.D. changed Detective Hailey Upton. Although Hank Voight advised the Intelligence officer to learn how to cope with her guilt, having to lie to everyone, even her fiancé, began to consume her.

'Chicago P.D.' actor Tracy Spiridakos as Det Hailey Upton
Tracy Spiridakos as Det Hailey Upton | Matt Dinerstein/NBC/Getty Images

The episode “In the Dark” revealed that sad secret while the team investigated a horrific case that tested Upton to her emotional limits.

Tracy Spiridakos’ experience with anxiety helped her film the panic attack scene

Marina Squerciati, Tracy Spiridakos, and Amy Morton did a “get to know your actors” interview with NBC Insider, where they shared some of their all-time favorite moments from the Chicago P.D series.

When asked to talk about Hailey’s panic attack, Spiridakos said that to shoot the panic attack scene, she had to draw from her own experience with anxiety. She said,

“It was very intense. I feel like I actually did have a panic attack in that scene. And luckily, I have experience with anxiety, so it worked out perfectly. I was like, ‘let me recall from a moment. Oh, yes, I know.'”

Fans took to social media to express how impressed they were with Spiridakos’ performance in the panic attack scene. One Twitter user said, “Tracy Spiridakos’ portrayal of Hailey in this episode is superb. Especially the accuracy and emotion of the panic attack. JLS did a great job supporting her in those difficult scenes.”

A recap of Hailey Upton’s panic attack scene

In Season 9 of Chicago P.D., viewers watched as the team resumed their search for Roy, with Voight and Upton searching alongside them. Even when Burgess directly asked Upton whether they had apprehended Roy, she blatantly lied and said no. Voight thought the team would eventually forget Roy, but that wasn’t the case. 

An investigation led Intelligence to a home that “can kill you from the inside out,” much like the truth that Upton murdered Walton and hushed it up is killing the detective. But how long can Upton keep that secret to herself?

As events unfold in the episode “In the Dark,” it’s evident that Upton will eventually confess to someone about Roy’s death, possibly her partner and fiancé, Detective Jay Halstead. Upton shows into work at 2 a.m. because she can’t sleep. Officer Adam Ruzek asks if Halstead snores, and she tells him, “This one is all on me.”

When a suspect cuts himself in the interrogation room, Upton panics because she thinks she failed to search him. Sergeant Trudy Platt points out that she did, in fact, search him and that it wasn’t her fault the suspect tried to kill himself. Still, Upton blames herself. “This is on me,” she says to Jay. When Upton is unable to breathe, Jay recognizes she is experiencing a panic attack and attempts to soothe her.

When Voight enters the room, Upton sobs, “It’s destroying me.” Jay tries to ask her what she means, and when she looks up, Voight asks if she’s OK. Upton says she’s fine, avoiding Jay’s questions.

What happened to Roy Walton? 

Chicago P.D. Season 8 episode titled “The Right Thing” introduces us to Roy Walton, who oversees a human trafficking network. Intelligence matched Walton’s license plate to the scene of a horrifying crime. Still, the team did not fully pursue him until the next episode because of conflicts between Voight and Deputy Superintendent Samantha Miller.

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Kim Burgess tracks down and confronts Walton in the episode “The Other Side.” However, Walton has the upper hand and fights the officer before shooting her and abandoning her for dead.

Voight ultimately catches up with Walton and decides to torture him over Upton’s objections. However, when she sees Walton reach for Voight’s gun, Upton changes her mind and shoots him. Later, Voight disposes of Walton’s body, and the two decide to conceal the incident from the rest of the team.