Chicago PD Season 8 Episode 1 Review: Fighting Ghosts

Television

Intelligence is back in action, but things are looking a bit different on Chicago PD Season 8 Episode 1.

Despite ending prematurely due to COVID-19, Chicago PD Season 7 segued perfectly into the police reform storyline brought upon by the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement. 

On PD, Shawn Paige, the man gunned down by Doyle, is Chicago’s version of Floyd and allows the series to navigate the murky waters of Black cops versus the blue wall. 

The episode led to some very heavy yet important conversations that made it clear that doing the “right” thing was going to test everyone’s limits this season.

Woman: So, I’ve been reviewing evidence in the Doyle homicide case and I just wanted to touch base with you one more time.
Atwater: I’m not sure what you’re asking.
Woman: I’m asking if there’s anything you would like to add or modify.
Atwater: No. I stand by my original statement.

Atwater faces the biggest challenge, but per usual, Laroyce Hawkins bravely stepped up to the challenge and nailed every scene. 

I’ve likely said this before, but I really mean it this time — give this man all the awards!

It’s clear that sticking to his original statement was the right thing to do despite the pushback from Doyle’s crew, who view Atwater’s decision of painting Doyle as the aggressor in Paige’s death as being a “snitch.”

Apparently, there’s nothing worse than turning on your fellow brothers in blue. 

Except that they had no problem turning on him when they assumed he crossed the line and broke the code. Not once did they stop to consider they may be in the wrong. 

Ruzek wasn’t lying when he said Doyle’s crew played dirty. Not only did they jump Atwater to send a message, but they also planted heroin in his car.

Thankfully, he found it before it landed him in hot water, but all these antics tell you everything you need to know about these “good” and “respectable” cops.

It would have been nice if others stood united with Atwater and acknowledged that he wasn’t just doing what he “thought” was right, but rather, doing what was right. Period.

Atwater can’t be the only one who realizes that things need to change. 

He can’t be the only one to ever deal with racist cops and feel cornered because there’s corruption silencing him in every department. 

He can’t be the only one who hurts to see his own people suffer at the hands of injustice.

The only person who seemed to have Atwater’s back was Ruzek, which was comforting to see, but it didn’t do much in terms of protecting Atwater. 

Adam, no, listen to me, you did the right thing. What I’m trying to tell you is, it doesn’t matter. You get it? The reality is, no one’s got the guts to stand up for police right now. Not the mayor, not the white shirts in the ivory tower. No one. Get used to it.

Voight

He’s tough, but he shouldn’t have to fight this battle alone. 

Even Voight tried to sway him into altering his statement, and while it seemed to come from a place of real concern, it’s not what Atwater needed or wanted from his Sergeant. 

Atwater is clearly ready to fight. He’ll do whatever it takes to bring about change and expose not only dirty cops but dirty tactics. 

I mean, did you see the way he stood up to Voight and put him in his place?

Voight: Atwater did what he thought was right.
Kenny: No. He crossed the line. Blue wall is there to keep us together. It keeps us safe. It’s a bible, our Ten Commandments. You of all people know that, Hank. If someone chooses to violate that code, he’s gotta pay the price. Way it’s always been. Way it always will be.

In the heat of the moment, Voight would have thrown everything away. His anger got the best of him, but if he resorted to throwing Miguel in the cage, he wouldn’t have been any better than the bad guys that he’s trying to put away. 

Voight will have the hardest time with these new world adjustments. 

He can no longer bend the law to his will whenever it serves him, and understandably, it’s driving him crazy. 

One of the things audiences loved about Voight in the early seasons was his ruthlessness and ability to get justice through unconventional means.

While it was great for a TV character, in reality, his actions have always been a bit problematic. Now, Chicago PD is calling him out on it. 

It makes cases that much more challenging.

However, it’s exciting to watch Voight and the team navigate this new reality because it requires them to think on their feet and use a a new set of skills rather than just relying on violence. 

Intelligence got all the evidence they needed to take down Miguel, the man whose stray bullet killed an innocent 5-year-old girl, but unfortunately, they entered the premises without announcing their office. 

I wanted to give you a heads up, cop to cop. If you keep running your unit the way you’ve been doing for the past seven years, you’re going to be out of a job by Christmas.

Deputy Supe

As Trudy put it, everyone was suddenly paying attention to the fine print and all the evidence was tossed out forcing Intelligence to rebuild a new case despite the first one being solid. 

They know Miguel is guilty as he had the stolen cash from the church, but how would they prove it? 

Voight’s old tactics would simply cost him his job as the new Superintendent pointed out. 

She’s determined to hold Voight accountable hoping that if he changes his behavior, everyone else will follow suit. 

For now, she seems like a promising character. She’s on Voight’s side if he plays by the rules, but she’s also someone who isn’t scared to call him out when he’s stepping out of line. 

There’s tension there, but in a good way; for the first time ever, someone is holding him accountable. 

PD is also being forced to navigate a reality where cops have to accept certain behaviors and not escalate situations because they may risk losing their careers. 

I’m not entirely into that either because it takes away their power in certain situations, which is why they’re walking a fine line. 

Just because people are marching in the streets, doesn’t mean the world has changed. Cops are still blue, I’m still Black.

Atwater

Ruzek may have been triggered by the beer bottle being thrown at him, but it was great that Kim was there to bring him back to reality and remind him that it wasn’t worth his time or energy. 

Part of de-escalating will involve determining what’s worth it on a case-by-case basis.

With all that’s happening in our world, there was no way Chicago PD could shy away from police reform, but they did a good job of keeping up the entertainment value for those who were tuning in for an escape from reality. 

The case-of-the-week kept us on our toes as we tried to figure out whose stray bullet killed Laura and how everyone was involved. 

There wasn’t any mention or explanation of Rojas’ departure, which was a little strange. 

The least they could have done was included a one-liner about her getting a new job or getting transferred to a new unit. 

However, that was a minor issue that didn’t take away from what was an otherwise powerful episode. 

If the premiere was any indication, we’re strapping in for an intense and promising season! 

What did you think, TV Fanatics? 

Let us know in the comments and be sure to watch Chicago PD online

Lizzy Buczak is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and read her personal blog at CraveYouTV.

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