After playing Detective Erin Lindsay for four seasons on NBC's Chicago P.D. series, actress Sophia Bush made her exit from the show in May. Her character's storyline was wrapped up by explaining that Erin would be moving to New York City to take a job with the FBI, breaking the hearts of loyal audiences everywhere. Bush has since signed a deal with 20th Century Fox to star in a new series, which caused some devoted fans to question whether that was the reason behind her decision to leave the procedural show. Bush responded to the speculation on Instagram in October, writing to a fan, "Took me a long time and a lot of hard work to get out of that show. Please don't demean my capabilities by degrading my position. I left because I wanted to. End of story."
Despite Bush's comment about the exit, rumors soon started swirling that her real motivation for leaving had to do with series star Jason Beghe's "inappropriate behavior" and sexual harassment, which NBC is currently investigating. When asked about why she left the show during an interview with Refinery29's UnStyled podcast on Monday, Bush said that she didn't "have to give everyone the specific breakdown of exactly why I left until I'm ready to do that," before elaborating a bit more on the true nature of her departure. Although it was her "dream job," she realized by the end of the second season that she "couldn't do that job anymore." At a point between seasons three and four, Bush said she sat her bosses down to have a frank conversation about her quality of life on set.
"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 shit and breaking lamps and saying I'm never coming back. I'm giving you 23 episodes notice,'" she explained. "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."
It appears her bosses either didn't take her seriously, or were willing to lose her character on the show rather than make the changes she was hoping for. She added, "If this has to be like a big swinging-d*ck 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."
Bush's Chicago P.D. exit came just a few months before she joined the female cast and crew of One Tree Hill in writing a passionate letter about the harrowing experiences they endured while working with the teen soap's showrunner, Mark Schwahn. She also spoke out about it on Twitter, writing, "This is the reality for women, in all industries, anywhere that powerful men abuse their power. 1 in 4 women (reported numbers, estimates place the actual numbers at 1 in 2) are assaulted by the time they leave college. We have a systemic problem. It needs fixing."