Matt Dinerstein/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images
Millions of fans tuned in as he handed in his badge and headed to the airport.
In August, the 38-year-old Chicago P.D. star — who plays Detective Jay Halstead on the NBC cop drama — announced that he will be leaving the series early in season 10.
On Wednesday, Soffer tweeted, "For anyone that's ever been a Halstead fan, I just want you to know that I'm grateful. Thank you for going on this journey with me. I'm just grateful."
"If I could like every single tweet I would. I appreciate all the love. It means so much to me. Thank you," he added, along with a heart emoji.
For anyone that’s ever been a Halstead fan, I just want you to know that I’m grateful. Thank you for going on this journey with me. I’m just grateful. ❤️
— Jesse Lee Soffer (@jesseleesoffer) October 6, 2022
Touching tributes from viewers immediately poured in, with one commenter tweeting, "Thank YOU Jesse!! You have no idea what an impact you made on SO many people. I can only speak for myself, but thank you thank you thank you for being a light, a testament, and savior in so many ways. We love you."
Another fan wrote, "I'm in tears! I couldn't possibly out everything into word, but thank you for everything you brought to us over the last ten years! Best of luck in whatever's next for you!"
Lori Allen/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty
Soffer was an original cast member when the series premiered in 2014. Over time, Halstead grew to become a detective of prominence — and Soffer's significance on the series was evident in his involvement in every episode of the series Chicago P.D.
In a statement announcing his departure, he said, "I want to thank the incredible fans for their unwavering support during the past 10 years and want to express my deepest gratitude to Dick Wolf and everyone at Wolf Entertainment, Peter Jankowski, Matt Olmstead, Derek Haas, Michael Brandt, Rick Eid, Gwen Sigan, NBC, Universal Television, my fellow castmates and our incredible crew."
"To create this hour drama week after week has been a labor of love by everyone who touches the show," he added. "I will always be proud of my time as Det. Jay Halstead."
Following the news, Soffer's costars honored his work, including onscreen wife Tracy Spiradakos, who wrote on Instagram: "Jesse, what can I say, you're the absolute best. Thank you for your kindness, your guidance and your friendship. You're the greatest onscreen husband a girl could ask for. I'll miss being on set with you every day. I can't wait to see what the world has in store for you next. #upsteadforever."
Tracy Spiridakos Instagram Jesse Lee Soffer and Tracy Spiridakos
LaRoyce Hawkins, who plays Officer Kevin Atwater, wrote on Instagram ahead of Wednesday's episode, "To make a long story short, it will never be the same."
Soffer is the fourth original cast member to leave the series. Sophia Bush, who played Erin Lindsay, left at the end of season 4; Elias Koteas departed in season 5 when his character Alvin Olinsky died in the line of duty, and Jon Seda, a.k.a. Antonio Dawson, exited in season 6.
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Chicago P.D. airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.