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Exclusive Q&A with Tracy Spiridakos who stars as Detective Hailey Upton on the hit drama series,Chicago P.D.

The Canadian born actress, Tracy Spiridakos found success on television, appearing on “Supernatural” and “Being Human,” but her breakout role was playing Charlie Matheson on J.J. Abrams’ Revolution. She has gone on to showacse her comedic side in Showtime’s Episodes with Matt LeBlanc, as a femme fatale on A&E’s Bates Motel and the mysterious ex-girlfriend of Lucas Till’s MacGyver. Here, she lets us on her creatives process.

CHICAGO P.D. -- "You and Me" Episode 922 -- Pictured: Tracy Spiridakos as Hailey -- (Photo by: Lori Allen/NBC)

Glamour: First of all, can we talk about your range? You've got such great comedic timing. What do you attribute that to?

Tracy: I kind of grew up watching a lot of comedy and my family and I are always teasing each other constantly. I feel like comedy comes more naturally to me than being serious does. I always have a pretty good time making people laugh and joking around. That's my favourite.

Glamour: We are anticipating a new season of Chicago P.D.; it's been so well received, why do you think the show has been so successful?

Tracy: Our show runners are amazing. Both Gwen, and Rick before; we've got wonderful writers, and a really great group of actors that get along so well. We have a wonderful time working together. I think it's just an all-round great group of people!

Glamour: Regarding Detective Hailey and her backstory, what kind of elements contribute to her approach to being a detective and how she approaches her job?

Tracy: You know, we're still learning quite a bit about Hailey's home life, as we're discovering her as we go along. But I think that she's fiercely passionate, and she kind of gets a little locked into trying to solve cases. She locks in, in a way that sometimes prohibits her, and she has to learn to navigate that as the series goes on, and take a step back and try to lean on her peers and lean on Jay and that's something that she grows and learns to do as each season progresses.

Glamour: How would you describe Hailey’s relationship with her colleagues on the show?

Tracy: She tends to be a little bit of a loner, she kind of keeps to herself a lot. That's especially how she started before we see her let Jay in because they were partnered up. I think they just, they got close. As the series progressed, we do see her friendships develop with everybody else a lot more as well, which is great. I would love to see more of that in coming seasons. I think she has a lot of respect for everybody in her unit and I would love to see more of the partnerships and stuff develop as seasons come. But the person that she is closest to is Jay, and I think that is just based on the fact that they're partners, and they've had this tight knit friendship from when she joined on the unit.

Glamour: Can you talk about some of the places that Hailey has taken you to emotionally or physically, and how you responded to that?

Tracy: There's an episode in Season 9 that was a very emotional episode. It's kind of the unravelling of this big secret, and she has an anxiety attack, and kind of a break down. For me, that was really interesting to get to play as an actor, I'd never had an opportunity to explore that before. I sometimes struggle with anxiety myself and so getting to watch this character who seems to have it all together all of the time, exploring her kind of unravel and not know what to do, and panic and be unable to breathe, the physicality of it. I was really grateful that Glenn wrote that for me, and just a different take on how Hailey deals with all of what's going on around her.

Glamour: Personally, how do you navigate that? Having struggled with anxiety yourself, what's your approach to making sure that your own mental health isn't an issue?

Tracy: I mean, I think just making sure that there's balance in my life; you know, dedicating the time to work and prepare and then going home, and doing what I need to do to unwind, to take care of myself to spend time with friends. That's usually how I unwind, I love being around people. So, getting to have a laugh with a friend or reconnecting with a loved one and making sure that I have balance. Work is something that I love very much, but, making sure that I have time for the people in my life as well as just finding a good balance is usually what I need.

Glamour: What drew you to play Detective Hailey?

Tracy: She’s not just one thing, she’s a bit of everything. She’s a mess, but she’s put together. She’s tough, but also vulnerable. She’s a little bit of it all and I think we are all like that. There are parts of her that are really strong and there’s parts that are not, she makes mistakes and I like that. For me, the writing is so great and I’m so grateful for that, we’ve got these incredible writers that write the stories so well and then I see Hailey as a character that has so much going on inside of her and so, getting to play with all of that, I feel really grateful!

Glamour: From an actor’s point of view, which part of the show do you find more fun – the action or the drama?

Tracy: That's a hard question. I love getting to do action stuff, it's so fun! We just got to shoot an episode where there was all these fight sequences and stunt scenes. You feel like you're in a mini action movie, which I love! But when you get to do a big, heavy emotional scene, especially with the incredible scene partners that we have on the show, I mean, there's so many talented actors, getting an opportunity to really sink your teeth into a scene is so rewarding. I don't think that I can pick between the two, but I do like having a combo of both, getting to do these really interesting and dramatic scenes, but then getting to go and do these amazing action sequences. My stunt double, Kelli Scarangello is amazing. So, getting to hang out with her and watching her work and watching all the stunt teams work is incredible as well.

Chicago P.D season 9 premieres on Wednesdays at 8pm from the 1st of November 2023 on Universal TV

Please note that this interview was conducted in June 2023, prior to the commencement of the Actors’ strike.

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