Sophia Bush Addresses Her Chicago PD Exit: "It Was My Dream Job and I Was Miserable"

Bush let her bosses know she intended to leave between seasons three and four if things didn't change

By Chris Harnick Dec 18, 2017 10:14 PMTags

Sophia Bush stunned fans when she left Chicago PD following its fourth season. Bush remained mum on her decision to leave the hit NBC police drama aside from an Instagram comment, "because I wanted to. End of story," but now she's shedding some light into why she decided to walk away from Detective Erin Lindsay and the Dick Wolf-produced show. Turns out it was a long time coming.

"I don't have to give everyone the specific break down of exactly why I left until I'm ready to do that. But, the overarching theme for me, was that I landed my dream job. I landed this job that, since I was 20 years old and trying to become an actor, I said I wanted. And aspects of it, don't get me wrong, were wonderful. But, I realized…by the end of the second season I couldn't do that job anymore," she said on Refinery 29's Unstyled podcast.

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Bush, who previously starred in One Tree Hill, now has a deal with 20th Century Fox to star and executive produce a television show. But before that, she had to make the decision to leave Chicago PD.

"How do you quit your dream job," she asked.

Bush said she went to her Chicago PD bosses between seasons three and four and put it all out there.


"I said, ‘Here's where we are. Here's everything you're aware of. Here's how I'm coming to you today. If something really drastic doesn't change, I'm leaving at the end of the year' — because I understand how the business works and how women are treated — I said, ‘I'm giving you not two weeks notice and I'm not coming in here throwing s--t and breaking lamps and saying I'm never coming back. I'm giving you 23 episodes notice. I'm giving you that much time. So there will be no conversation in which I was hysterical, emotional, in which I was being a quote irrational female or whatever you want to put on it. I'm literally sitting in front of you like cool as a cucumber," Bush said.

"If this has to be like a big swinging dick competition, I promise you I will win. But know this now: if we're not having a very different conversation by Christmas, then you know with 100 percent certainty in December that come the end of April I'm leaving,'" she continued.

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She noted it was hard to have that conversation with the powers that be on Chicago PD, but "it was so liberating and I immediately felt like these steel anvils had been pulled off my chest. And it was then that I realized I had been drowning and it was then that I knew just how miserable I was going to work every day."

Bush praised cast and crew members for brightening her day and noted she made family, but "What you start to realize is that—like if your house was burning down, you wouldn't hang out inside because your brother was in there and you loved him. You'd be like, ‘Yo, I love you. Let's get out of this house!' For me, not to put it on anybody else, but for me, it felt like I was trapped in a burning building. I was just so unhappy and it was my dream job and I was miserable and I had to go."

At the end of season four, Bush's character received an offer from the FBI to relocate to New York City. Viewers learned the character accepted it.

Head over to Refinery 29 to hear the full interview with Bush, including more about her social and advocacy work.

Request for comment from NBC was not immediately returned. Chicago PD airs Wednesdays, 10 p.m. on NBC.

(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)