Chicago PD did not dance around the issues our beloved cops will be facing as things continue to change for the men and women that hold the thin blue line. The open hostility our characters experience is frustrating, but not surprising. But, before I tell you what happened in this episode let me reiterate, SPOILERS will be included below, so read at your own risk.
And Here We Go
We started this episode with Kevin Atwater talking with Internal Affairs and standing by his statement as to what happened last season. He witnessed racial profiling by a police officer that lead to the deaths of an innocent man and the police officer Doyle. After Atwater confirms his statement IA says that they have no choice but to drop the charges against the gang members that shot Doyle. The scene then cuts to Voight talking with Nolan, and Voight is trying to get Nolan to leave Atwater alone. Nolan refuses to leave Kevin alone. He says that Kevin snitched on the police and violates the “code” that keeps all of them safe so has to pay the price.
Hearing a police officer say these things, regardless of right or wrong is disconcerting. Voight has always been for the blue, but he has also always put what is right first. Hearing what Kevin is going to be up against is concerning, and we don’t have to wait too long to see exactly what that will be. Atwater and Ruzek soon find a kilo of heroin planted in Kevin’s car to frame him as a dirty cop!
We are introduced to the newest “white shirt” of the series, Deputy Superintendent Samantha (Sam) Miller. She talks to Voight about changes that need to happen in his unit. She says that she is on Voight’s side and wants him to succeed. In her mind, if she can get Hank Voight to change the way he polices, then the rest of the department will follow suit. I mean, I can appreciate the influence that Voight wields, but I don’t think even he could change the entire department (see Nolan as a prime example).
Intelligence catches their case for the episode, and it is a five-year-old little girl being shot by a stray bullet. It is here that we see the first interactions between police and civilians. As intelligence tries to asks witnesses if they saw anything, the neighborhood shuts down. No one is really willing to talk and when they do it is to throw insults and slurs at the police. Adam even has a bottle thrown at him. Burgess has to stop him from making a lawful arrest for assault on a police officer because she doesn’t want their careers jeopardized. It is a sad day when the police can’t defend themselves or enforce the law for fear of losing their careers, but people are angry.
Intelligence makes headway in the case and they figure out who the shooter might be. They attempt to arrest him with a warrant for the house where he lives. However, as they approach the house they are seen and lose the element of surprise. So for safety reasons, Adam enters the house before announcing that he is the police. They arrest the shooting suspect without incident and they find evidence proving the suspect is guilty.
But, because Adam did not announce before entering the house, all of the evidence becomes inadmissible. When Adam hears this he is distraught. Voight then delivers a poignant line to the unit. “You did the right thing. What I am trying to tell you is it doesn’t matter. The reality is no one’s got the guts to stand up for the police right now.”
Voight tells the team that they have to build an entirely new case against the suspect. But he finds out that the little girl died from the gunshot and he loses his patience. Voight tries to get Ruzek and Atwater to take the suspect to the cage so he can “talk” to him. However, neither is willing to do that anymore. This leads to a painful confrontation between Voight and Atwater. This scene, for me at least, was the most gut-wrenching to watch. Atwater says that there is a right way and a wrong way to do things. Despite knowing the truth they cannot continue to police the way they have in the past. Voight feels helpless and only wants to get justice for an innocent child by whatever means necessary. The actors were exceptional in this scene!
The shooter is released because they do not have sufficient evidence to hold him. I am telling you, watching an unremorseful child killer simply walk away free broke something inside me. Voight follows the shooter after he leaves. We watch as he fights his inner demons and chooses to follow the law and not dole out “justice”. The episode ends with Kevin getting jumped by four masked assailants and left badly beaten in the street.
In the End
This was a tough episode to watch. We really get to see the ugly underbelly of what both sides of the issues facing police in the world today. It was hard to watch Kevin be suspicious of his teammates and fellow officers. It also felt a little disingenuous to have Kevin call out Voight’s methods when he has participated in the past. I hated seeing Atwater struggling in this episode and the isolation he must feel because of everything happening.
It also hurt to see in vivid detail that sometimes the bad guy wins. One of the reasons we love Chicago PD is that we want Voight to dish out justice, but this episode shows that the real world doesn’t always work like that. It brings me back to a harsh quote from the movie Law Abiding Citizen, “It’s not what you know. It’s what you can prove in court.”
I was super proud of Laroyce Hawkins, this episode and I am really looking forward to seeing a lot more Atwater this season! This was an excellent premiere!
Did you watch the season premiere of Chicago PD? Drop your thoughts in the comment section down below.