Outfitted: Jesse Lee Soffer
The star of NBC’s Chicago P.D feels the pressure of playing a cop on primetime.
Jesse Lee Soffer never lives the same day twice. The rising actor and one of the stars in NBC’s Chicago P.Dwants to convey to the world that Dick Wolf’s spin-off series is nothing like you’ve ever witnessed before.
“There’s an authenticity as far as the stories we tell,” Jesse told Maxim. “There’s a shade of truth to anything that you’re seeing on the show. Along with the fact that all of the extras and background characters are cops that are off-duty cops just coming to help out. There’s this realism that really translates that you won’t find on other shows.”
As someone who takes part in a show featuring prominent stories ripped from the headlines, Jesse feels obligated to portray police officers in a positive light following the negative reputation they’ve received in the past few months. While society continues to search for the proper direction in which to display law enforcement in the media, he prides himself on portraying Detective Jay Halstead in this day and age.
“Playing a cop on TV and working closely with actual cops on set, I do think the media does a disservice to our first responders,” Jesse says. “We’re only seeing all the stories that happen in a given week of what went wrong, or the mistake that was made. For every one of those stories, that has to be a thousand others where the officer saved the day, did something heroic, or put his life on the line. It’s a matter of what’s visible, and I know I feel honored to represent cops and portray them in the light they deserve.”
As Season 3 of Chicago P.D kicks off, Jesse chats with Maxim about looking stylish on and off set, what he’s learned from off-duty cops, and why Gillian Anderson’s still got it.
I definitely try to keep some level of style on my days off because you never know who’s going to snap your picture. Some companies I really like are Buck Mason, I wear a lot of their clothes. Kind of all American made, handmade, really well put together stuff that’s cut really well. I like companies that have a really simple, clean look to them.
I have a work shirt from a company called Apolis that’s one of my favorites. It’s a dark, rich navy blue work shirt that is made of wool and I can dress it up and wear it out to dinner and put a collared shirt underneath it to make it a little dapper, or you can look rugged and throw a pair of boots on with it and go help a buddy paint the house one day. It’s a totally versatile, awesome shirt
We work very closely with our technical advisors and every day is a new learning experience. We are trained in any given circumstance what an office might be thinking about. When a crime is happening in a certain area he might be looking for angles on what the traffic camera wouldn’t have seen.. Things that you wouldn’t be thinking about alone as an actor.
Every guy’s got to own a watch. I’m a watch guy. Men don’t get to wear jewelry really, and that’s the one item that we can make our own and personalize our stuff with.
I’ve definitely grown into thinking about style and looking the part. Whether it’s going to a premiere or a business meeting, or even going to an audition. Especially in this business, you have to represent yourself and carry yourself in a way that’s professional, but also sexy. My style has definitely changed. I’ve had friends influence it, girlfriends influence it, and I’m grateful for that.
I got to say, the two young ladies on my show, Sophia Bush and Marina Squerciati, would be great on the Maxim Hot 100. And you know who is really hot? I just started watching The Fall, it’s that new Netflix show with Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan. Gillian Anderson from the X-Files. Let me tell you something – she’s still got it. She absolutely deserves to be on there.
I want to do Chicago P.D for as long as it’s on the air. I love the show, I love the Dick Wolf family, I think he’s created something genius with the crossovers and having everyone on these shows inhabit the same universe as far as Chicago Med and Chicago Fire and Chicago PD. I want to be there and see it through to the end. But afterwards? Afterwards I don’t know. Maybe a cable show. Maybe start doing movies. We’ll see. Who knows? But right now, I’m really happy with where I am.