'Chicago P.D.' Fans Are Still Not Over Al Olinky's Tragic Season 5 Death — With Good Reason

Amber Garrett - Author

Feb. 15 2023, Updated 6:46 p.m. ET

Al Olinsky on Chicago PD
Source: NBC

After 10 seasons, Chicago P.D. fans should be used to unexpected, gut-wrenching deaths of beloved characters, but the death of Al Olinsky in the Season 5 finale was such a shock that we're still reeling from it, even though it happened five seasons ago.

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Portrayed by Elias Koteas, Al was not only an essential member of the Intelligence Unit but extremely important personally to Sergeant Hank Voight, played by Jason Beghe.

In fact, it's precisely because Hank loves Al so much that the writers decided they had to kill the undercover detective off.

Here's a reminder of what happened to Al on the 'Chicago PD' Season 5 finale.

olinsky death chicago pd
Source: NBC

As upsetting as Al's death was, his fate seems to have been sealed in the middle of Season 5 when Hank avenged his son Justin's death by murdering his killer, Kevin Bingham.

It was a major crossing of the line for the sergeant, and Al's death while in prison for Hank's crimes is payment for the renegade cop taking the law into his own hands.

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Prison isn't a great place for anyone, but it can be particularly tough for cops. Al got brutally shanked by another prisoner and ultimately succumbed to his wounds in the finale of Season 5.

Immediately after, the #JusticeForAl hashtag was all over Twitter.

what happened al chicago pd
Source: NBC
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After the finale aired, showrunner Rick Eid explained that as difficult as the decision was, it was essential to the storyline.

"From a creative perspective, it was a decision that evolved organically from the ongoing storyline between Voight and Woods," Rick said at the time, referring to the Season 5 villain, Hank's former partner intent on destroying his life.

Regardless of whether viewers think Hank was justified in taking the life of his son's murderer, it led to Woods framing Al for the crime by planting his hair at the crime scene.

And the writers felt not only did Hank need to pay for the sin of murder but also for letting his friend go down for it.

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chicago pd al hank
Source: NBC

"The writers and I kept coming back to the idea that Voight's decision to kill Bingham should cost him something," Rick told TVLine in May 2018. "Over time, we landed on the notion that Olinsky should be the person to pay for Voight’s sin because Voight admired and loved him so much."

However, years later, his death is still hard for Voight, who is spotted paying his respects to Olinsky's gravesite in Season 10.

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Source: Instagram

While that's the end for Al, here's what Elias Koteas is doing now.

Though his character's death was very final, hopefully, fans of Elias Koteas can still catch him on the small screen. He recently appeared in the Paramount+ TV series Guilty Party alongside Kate Beckinsale.

He also starred in Season 4 of Amazon Prime Video's Goliath and is voicing Nicky Quinzel in the Spotify Original podcast, Harley Quinn & The Joker: Sound Mind.

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