From Dick Wolf, the producer of Miami Vice and Law & Order, comes Chicago PD, a procedural drama spin-off from Wolf's Chicago Fire. The series revolves around the intelligence unit of Division 21, led by fearless leader Hank Voight, that capture whom they're after "by any means necessary", a clichéd phrase that you'll hear quite often but at the same time often sums this show up perfectly. Fire has a tendency of being compared to that of a soap show, does it's spinoff fare any better?
For those whom are reading this that don't know much about this franchise or aren't familiar with Voight going into this first season, I'll give you a brief breakdown. Originally a recurring character on Chicago Fire, Detective (now Sergeant) Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) is the shady leader of the Chicago P.D.'s Intelligence Unit. During the course of his tenure on Chicago Fire, He was arrested by Det. Antonio Dawson (Jon Seda) for trying to have someone murdered, but was later released from prison and reinstated to the police force by Internal Affairs in order to work undercover as a "dirty cop" to help catch criminals. However, Due to the constant complaints of police brutality and his underhanded tactics, there is some speculation that he might take his new job title as dirty cop a bit literal.
Dawson, whom I referred to in the previous paragraph as the arresting officer of Voight, as you can guess is the foil for the character here, being forced to work beside him is the Intelligence Unit. Unfortunately for Voight, Antonio comes across as the moral compass in the series, believing in doing what's right and willing to stand up against the do-what-I-want attitude of Voight, to uphold the law.
Joining Sergeant Voight and Antonio here in this first season are... Detective Erin Lindsay (Sophia Bush), a hard-nosed member of the unit whom has a complicated past with Voight as a former CI whom Voight took under his wing when she was a drug-addicted teenager and is currently hiding some destructive demons herself. Next is Lindsay's partner, Detective Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer), the hotshot Intelligence Unit detective and former ranger in the Army Special Forces whom is a bit too cocky in his confidence of his abilities.
Also apart of the unit are Uniformed Officers Adam Ruzek (Patrick John Fluegar), Kim Burgess (Marina Squerciati) and Kevin Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins.) Ruzek is a police cadet recruited by veteran undercover specialist Det. Alvin Olinsky (Elias Koteas), Voight's former partner. Ruzek is the new guy in the unit and is often an overeager, outspoken, and overzealous amateur who dives head first into dangerous situations, typically surviving dire situations on many occasions due to his on point instincts rather than his superiors, due to his attitude, he's eventually partnered with Kim, a former flight attendant, after Kevin tries his hand at joining the intelligence unit.
Rounding out the supporting players are Sergeant Trudy Platt (Amy Morton), the desk Sergeant of Division 21 and superior of the Intelligence unit. Detective Sheldon Jin (Archie Kao), the tech and surveillance expert for the unit. Mia Sumner (Sydney Tamiia Poitier), the newest member on the Intelligence team whom comes along midseason. Lastly, Sergeant Edwin Stillwell (Ian Bohen), Voight's new Internal Affairs handler.
There were really no over arching plotline (unless you want to count the themes of moral ambiguity throughout.) Instead Chicago P.D. strings together 4 or 5 episode subplots. The "major" storyline of the season (which is only prominent in the final few episodes and the first 2 of the season) revolves around Voight tracking down a drug dealer referred to as "Pulpo" after they're responsible for the death of his partner in the beginning of the season.
A few of the smaller subplots in the first season include Voight's troublemaking son, Justin (Josh Segarra) coming back into town with his eyes firmly on Erin, bringing tension to the Voight household. There's an arc that revolves around the idea that there is a rat in the unit, reporting Voight's tactics to Internal Affairs. Another has Erin looking to help out Nadia (Stella Maeve) after sympathizing with her as an 18-year-old escort and addict. Erin is hoping she can become apart of the Intelligence Unit's civilian administrative once she's clean. Lastly, for the fans of Chicago Fire, there are several crossover episodes.
+ The performances were on point, especially that of Jason Beghe, Elias Koteas, Patrick John Fluegar, Jon Seda and Sophia Bush.
+ The character of Voight and his morality is interesting to watch, especially seeing how the other characters react to it.
+ I haven't watched too much of Chicago Fire, but I felt the crossover episodes were strong and gave our characters in Chicago PD more to work with.
- For me the show went into the "Soap Opera" territory one too many times.
- Yet another bad guy of the week procedural show.
- Some of the characters didn't get a whole lot of exposure.
- Weak subplots like Justin Voight's arc. He was around for a half of a dozen episodes, but the story still felt lacking and seemed to only be there to pad the 15 episodes, to create forced tension for Voight. Despite appearing in 5 or 6 episodes, we barely had time to get attached before he did something stupid and got left on the sidelines by the writers. By the end of it all he felt like wasted time and didn't have much of an impact. "See ya in four years."
- Pulpo was such a lame villain.
Video and Audio:
The series DVD set also offers Optional English subtitles.