'Chicago P.D.' Explains Antonio's Absence After Jon Seda's Exit

Chicago P.D. said goodbye to one of its original characters in the Season 5 premiere, with an off-screen excuse for his absence. The NBC police drama returned for a new season Wednesday with the looming question of how it would wrap up Antonio Dawson's storyline after news broke in the spring of Jon Seda's exit from the series. While the episode explained why Antonio was not there, it left many questions unanswered leaving the door open for the actor to return hopefully sooner than later.

Spoilers ahead for Chicago P.D. Season 5 Premiere: "Doubt"

The season premiere picked up immediately after the Intelligence unit found out mayor-elect Brian Kelton (John C. McGinley) had been killed in his home after winning the election. With Voight (Jason Beghe) being considered the No. 1 suspect in the case, it is up to the team to look into what happened and find who was responsible for the crime before they are all taken down.

The big drama keeps most of the team occupied, until Burgess (Marina Squerciati) shares her concern when Antonio doesn't show up to work and is not answering his phone. In the midst of the investigation Voight sends Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins) to pick up Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger) from jail after made bail.

Aside from the night behind bars, Ruzek reveals he was stripped of his police powers and is now a civilian, as he awaits trial for taking the fall for the death Antonio caused last season.

Later in the episode, Burgess is more vocal about her concerns about Antonio and makes the rest of the team raise red flags. Quietly, they ask Ruzek to look into Antonio's whereabouts. He arrives at his home and finds that the place has been trashed, with someone seemingly destroying all of the pictures in his home.

Ruzek follows the GPS signal to Antonio's car and finds it parked at his sponsor's house. The man says that he helped Antonio after a difficult time the night before, but the detective then left the man's home while he was sleeping and he hasn't heard from him since.

Talks about Antonio's whereabouts take a backseat as the investigation into Kelton's murder intensifies but turns out to be Voight's saving grace when Jay (Jesse Lee Soffer) confronts him about his possible involvement on the death.

Voight says he can't reveal to police where he was at the time Kelton was murdered because it would ruin Antonio's career. He admits he met with Antonio and was in bad shape after relapsing, so he dropped him off at an "off-the-books" clinic to get clean. The team then solves the case of Kelton's murder with little mention of Antonio after that.

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While Seda officially exited as a series regular in the Season 6 finale, Antonio was last seen taking drugs in his car in the final moments of the episode. While there has been no talk about a possible return, it is likely Seda will reprise his role as the beloved character for a proper ending later in the season.

What did you think of the Season 7 premiere? Chicago P.D. airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.