Chicago PD has over-delivered with every single episode this season, but there’s something particularly special about the Atwater-centric episodes, including Chicago PD Season 10 Episode 6.
Atwater episodes may be few and far in between, but the writers go the extra mile for LaRoyce Hawkins… and he never drops the ball, always giving a performance filled with so much heart, soul, integrity, and most importantly, empathy.
Anytime the storyline focuses on Hawkins’ character, I know we’re in for an exceptional ride from start to finish.
I don’t even care that the series pushed aside Upton’s takedown of the chief’s son for trafficking underage girls because this episode was so solid.
It all started when Atwater and Torres responded to a carjacking. You would think it’s a run-of-the-mill case, particularly in Chicago these days, but that couldn’t be further from the truth as the man was dragged by the carjackers for miles and ended up dying in Atwater’s arms.
Remember Atwater’s powerful speech about empathy he gave at the kickstart of the episode? This is where it comes into play.
While Intelligence didn’t know much about the offenders, they were able to pinpoint the car that they drove to a wealthy man’s home in Lakeview, where, upon arrival, they witnessed a tussle between three men.
One of the men got away, while the other two ran into an alley with a dead end, which is where Atwater cornered them. And here’s where it got really problematic—Atwater tried to de-escalate the situation but neither one of the men was receptive, with the older Black male whipping out a camera to document the cop who was willing to shoot and use the “fearing for his life defense. Eventually, the white teen, visibly shaken, lunged at Atwater as a shot was fired off. The teen was hit in the stomach as the Black male fled.
It was clear that the teen, who we later find out was Johnny Chaffey, the son of a prominent and wealthy man in Chicago, was innocent and manipulated by the other male, who remained unknown for a good chunk of the episode.
Unfortunately, Johnny wasn’t able to fill in the blanks for CPD or corroborate Atwater’s story because he died after being rushed to the ER. And it was a death Kevin did not take lightly.
Atwater is a good cop, so being there while two men took their final breaths and not being able to do anything about it was devastating to him. Moreso, he was even more upset by how quickly the situation escalated, for absolutely no reason, when all he wanted to do was hear their side of the story. Atwater did his best to avoid this outcome, later informing IRT that he kept his finger off the trigger, which Johnny pressed when he lunged at him.
It may have been his gun, but it wasn’t his fault. He even tried to point it away from Johnny.
Of course, none of that mattered because it was his word against a rich, notable, white man, so it didn’t look good for the “crooked cop.”
One of my issues with Atwater storylines, no matter how solid they are, is that they always revolve around the same race issue, but this time, it was reversed as a white teen was slain by a Black cop, which put Atwater in a new headspace where he was confident in himself and not shaken by the public scrutiny or perception of a situation they knew nothing about.
Johnny’s father, who couldn’t fathom that his son could do any wrong, asked the public to support him now in holding a Black cop accountable the way they do white cops, but honestly, it would’ve been nice if he tried to get the facts or even showed any remorse for losing his son; it all seemed to be this huge publicity stunt and takedown that, quite frankly, was racially motivated. He wanted to play the card so badly, but Atwater wasn’t interested in going down that road because he knew what happened.
There was one point where I considered Andrew to be the man who was responsible for manipulating these kids/teens into carjackings. Johnny’s poor mother was the only one who actually looked heartbroken and simply wanted to know what her son’s last words were.
Naturally, CPD wanted to avoid the legal circus that Andrew was threatening, so the chief advised Atwater to simply say that it was a synthetic reflex—he accidentally shot Johnny, but honestly, the nerve of them to even ask him to lie.
Atwater trusted the process, and most importantly, he trusted the police work. He’s not a sellout, so he definitely wasn’t going to go down for something he didn’t do, no matter how much everyone around him wanted that version of the story to be true. Truth is, he wanted the version where Johnny survived to be true, but that wasn’t the reality. And god, I love that Atwater stood his ground and maintained his innocence as he rightfully should. He doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk.
Instead of allowing the situation to throw him off his game, Atwater was more motivated than ever to find the unidentified Black male who instigated and captured the video because that was the actual person responsible for his death.
Obtaining the information required a lot of patience. When they tried to get answers from Cam, he escaped in the stolen BMW and eventually drove his car off of a bridge. He didn’t survive. And it was likely the guilt of killing a man and not being able to free himself from Oscar’s grasp that sent him over the edge.
Eventually, Torress went undercover—some of his best work to date—to subtly coax Oscar into talking while they were in lockup. It was a masterfully played operation as they knew Oscar wouldn’t resist talking about his big “get,” entrusting Torres with the location of the phone—the key to Atwater’s freedom.
I actually don’t buy that Oscar would fall for that plan. He was smart and knew how to evade police and stay off the radar, so I don’t think he’d ever trust a dude in lockup that easily, but it is what it is.
The juicy twist was that Carlita, the unenthusiastic gas station worker, was Oscar’s “girl” and had the phone in her possession the whole time. She seemed remorseful, but only after Atwater made it clear that Oscar did not care if she went to jail so there was no point in protecting him anymore.
Once they had the footage, there was no denying that Atwater’s recollection of the incident matched up to the video play-by-play.
It cleared him in the eyes of CPD, but it didn’t make him feel better.
The truth is that Atwater was deeply affected by Johnny’s death as he would’ve done anything to prevent it.
Though he didn’t have to, he felt a personal obligation to pay his parents a visit, and while the father pretty much told him the video doesn’t change anything and slammed the door in his face (kind of to be expected based on his previous behavior), the mother was much more receptive as all she wanted was some closure. She never once blamed Atwater or tried to bring up the issue of race—she simply wanted him to connect on a human level and “fill in the blanks,” as Atwater put it.
It was that final scene that brought the whole episode together in a beautiful way as Atwater informed her of her son’s last words, emphasizing that she raised a good boy who was just trying to help and got caught up in a mess that cost him his life.
It’s all a reminder that just because something seems like one thing on the surface doesn’t always mean that’s the case. We could all use a little more empathy when it comes to each other.
And I hope the chief remembers all of this when Intelligence ropes him in on his creep of a son!
When Does the ‘Chicago PD’ Fall Finale Air?
It’s hard to believe that we’re already coming up to the halfway mark for Chicago PD.
Time flies by when you’re having fun, right?
The series is taking a two-week break, including this Wednesday, Nov 23, for Thanksgiving, and Nov 30, so there’s a bit of a gap in action before NBC airs the fall finale on Dec 7.
However, the action in the finale is expected to be top-notch as it will likely bring some closure to a long-running case.
While the season has explored some individual cases involving members of Intelligence, the finale will delve deeper into, and hopefully, resolve, the overarching case involving Hailey Upton’s (Tracy Spiridakos) investigation into the new chief’s son, Sean O’Neal (played by Jefferson White), which has been building up over several episodes in a seemingly new—and promising—format for the crime procedural.
In the penultimate episode, Chicago PD Season 10 Episode 8, Burgess (Marina Squerciati) and Upton discovered something disturbing in their case against Sean. Not only is Sean believed to be involved in human trafficking, but new evidence unearthed indicates that he’s also responsible for murdering his victims.
In the promo for the finale, Chicago PD Season 10 Episode 9, Voight informs the Chief that his son led them “right to it,” but Patrick O’Neal (Micheal Gaston) seems to be in denial about his son’s crimes and determined to protect him at any cost.
Here’s the official synopsis and the promo teaser for “Proof of Burden”:
After a shocking discovery, the team begins closing in on Sean O’Neal with every shred of evidence they can find. Determined to keep his son out of prison, Chief O’Neal hires a lawyer.
Patrick Flueger, who plays Adam Ruzek on the series, told NBC that nailing Sean and proving he’s guilty speaks to Upton’s incredible instincts as a detective, even in light of her personal battle with losing her husband and partner, Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer).
“I think it reinforced that both Hailey and the team as a whole—their instincts are often right,” he said, adding, “It’ll come to a climactic and dramatic conclusion in the mid-season finale. I think it definitely tees up a heartbreaker of a mid-season finale.”
Chicago PD Review – Kim Burgess Tracks Down a Serial Killer (1008)
I’m not going to lie, Chicago PD Season 10 Episode 8 was probably the creepiest and most disturbing installment to date.
Overall, this season of Chicago PD has been especially dark. Good… but dark and twisted. And maybe that’s because the characters are dealing with such heavy subject matters with every single episode, including the Sean O’Neal plot spanning multiple episodes.
Burgess did not expect to stumble upon a serial killer when she responded to what seemed like a run-of-the-mill call to ID a body possibly connected to Los Temidos. Nor did she expect to have her PTSD from her near-death bubble up to the surface the way it did, though, I am glad that the writers are acknowledging what happened to her and showing that even though she worked through it in her own way, these things can come back to haunt you at any time.
The line of work that she does has the power to take a toll on people. Makayla and her BFF may have been playing monsters, but Burgess deals with them in real life.
Quinn, the suspect that was found brutally stabbed six times in the abdomen, turned out to be the latest victim of a serial killer.
I’m glad Ruzek was also totally spooked by the shrine that they found—and I would never enter an abandoned sewer the way they did without knowing what I was going to find down there— but it was crucial in unearthing the other victims.
The killer seemed to be targeting the elite—very wealthy people who commuted to the city for a job in finance or investment banking. But why? The investigation led Intelligence to question the families of the victims, who all recalled that the killer stalked their loved ones prior to their disappearance while breaking into the house and leaving a window open to alert them of the break-in. At one house, they found a glove, which brought them to Tyler Jerome Hansen.
Voight and Burgess pressed him as hard as they could, but it was clear that Tyler was telling the truth: he was innocent. Plus, he didn’t fit the profile as he had a family, a wife and kids, and a stable job. There was nothing tying him to the victims.
By luck, the killer struck again, and though Intelligence was unable to stop him in the act, they were on his tail and eventually managed to nab facial recognition, which revealed that Tyler’s brother, Mark, was the man responsible for the murders.
Without Tyler, Intelligence would’ve struggled to make their case and likely wouldn’t have arrived at the house in time to save Linda, which would have been Mark’s final victim. And though Tyler didn’t know anything about what Mark was doing and refused to believe that his brother could be responsible for something so deranged, he clued them in as to the “why.” Mark was targeting the one percenters as revenge for the deaths of his parents, who were killed by a CEO drunk driver after a business meeting. Mark’s mother was stabbed in the abdomen, which explained the injuries he’d inflict on his victims, while the number 6 represented the number of drinks the CEO—who used his wealth and power to get off easily with a two-year prison sentence in a cushy prison—had before the accident.
As for the symbols on the shrines, they connected back to the Greek King Lantos, who also targeted the wealthy and built shrines to ask for forgiveness. The whole thing was messed up, but you have to admit that it was one of the more unique cases that Intelligence has ever taken on.
Once they finally got an address for Mark, Burgess realized that while dealing with the trauma of her shooting, she misplaced her service weapon, which only added even more tension to the whole situation. Because her judgment was clouded, she was now naked with no protection leaving her with no choice but to send her partner into danger without backup.
When she heard a gunshot coming from the house, she bolted in without any weapons and was relieved to find Ruzek safe and with Linda, who was, thankfully, still alive. They got there in time. And since Burgess has been in this very situation before, she knew exactly what would be helpful to get Linda to hang in there. The thing that kept Burgess going was the thought of her child and the knowledge that someone was coming for her, so she wanted to be a source of comfort and support for Linda.
It was very clear that she was traumatized by her shooting because the moment she heard another gunshot go off upstairs, she was in fight-or-flight mode. I love that Ruzek picked up on the situation and called out to her immediately to let her know that he was fine.
What I find to be a bummer is that Burgess still doesn’t feel like she can open up to him and simply be. Ruzek clearly saw how affected Burgess was, considering the case hit so close to home, but when he confronted her about it, she put on a brave face and dismissed his concerns. I know this is just Burgess just trying to be ok for her own sake, but it wouldn’t hurt her to break down the barrier and let him in from time to time. It’s ok not to be ok. And honestly, while I love the strong female leads, I wish the series just allowed them to feel the pain occasionally.
Burgess, especially, could benefit from simply being transparent with Ruzek. He’s never going to judge her or think less of her.
Instead, Burgess went to hang with Hailey, who was also ignoring her very real problems and spending time in the safe house, desperately trying to find any dirt on Sean. The Chief obviously gave Intelligence the homicide case as punishment for investigating his son. There are a lot of people in denial here, and the Chief is one of them. I know it’s a parent’s instinct to protect their son, but honestly, you can’t turn a blind eye to human trafficking.
Of course, he was justifying his behavior by the fact that Intelligence didn’t find anything new on Sean since the failed bust nor could they connect him to any crimes as all of the kids they questioned simply called him a saint and raved about how he helped through addiction.
However, the serial killer case gave Burgess some new perspective, as the “why” behind Mark’s actions was crucial. It was deranged, but it made sense considering what he went through in the past. What was Sean’s “why”? That’s when Burgess connected Ruzek’s interview with a kid, who said that Sean took him to Wisconsin on a fishing trip, to Sean’s four stints in rehab that were also in Wisconsin.
Upon arriving at the abandoned house that Sean previously owned, they made their way to the back where they found a shed filled with mushrooms, which inspired them to start digging. And that’s where they unearthed a woman’s skeleton (she was still wearing her bracelet!).
This is what I would call a smoking gun… and going into the fall finale, it’s time that Upton and Burgess burn it all to the ground, the Chief and his son be damned.
A few stray thoughts to lighten up the mood a bit—I love seeing Burgess and Ruzek co-parent. He needed a lot of luck after she left him with two little girls hopped up on ice cream and a bedtime of 9 pm. Torres is also such a fun addition, particularly the fact that his mother drops him off at work where he basically solves the city’s most violent crimes. It’s so wholesome.
What did you think of the episode? Did you like that the storyline connected back to Burgess’s past?
And will they manage to bring down Sean? We’ll meet back here on Dec 7, Cravers!
Chicago PD Review – Into the Deep (1007)
Chicago PD delivered part 2 of Upton versus Sean O’Neal, and boy, I was not expecting half of the twists that they threw our way. Chicago PD Season 10 Episode 7 was an excellent installment, and an excellent follow-up to Chicago PD Season 10 Episode 5 titled “Pink Cloud.”
The one thing we knew is that it wasn’t going to be easy taking down the Chief’s son, who Upton suspected of sex trafficking young women and children. The case had to be airtight with irrefutable proof, which meant that the members of Intelligence were going to have to go to great lengths to get it done.
First, Voight wanted to make sure they had a case, which is why Upton staked out Sean all by herself for what seemed like weeks on end. She didn’t have a problem with any of it because, as we all know, she’s using this case as a scapegoat for dealing with her personal feelings about Halstead’s abrupt exit. She doesn’t want to face the music or go back home, so she’s pouring herself into this case. She couldn’t save her relationship, but she’s hoping she can save these young and innocent girls that have largely been forgotten but the rest of the world. It’s not ideal for her mental health, but there are worse ways for her to cope so at least she’s doing something productive.
While it seemed as though Sean largely stuck to his routine, Upton proved that she had something when she spotted him meeting with Victor Helms, a slippery man who was arrested numerous times—but never convicted—on trafficking cases.
From there, Voight was able to clue in the rest of the team, but again, they had to be very careful considering the Chief couldn’t get wind of anything. They were working a fake case while following every lead on Sean in hopes of bringing down this whole operation.
The unfortunate thing about the case is that it had legs, but they kept hitting dead end after dead end. When they finally got Helms, he resisted arrest and tried to shoot Hailey, which forced Torress to shoot and kill him. As he bled out, Upton begged him to give her something tying it all back to Sean, but she never got it. The setbacks only encouraged Hailey to push harder to find the missing pieces.
They brought in Birdie, the juvenile that Helms tried to pimp out to Ruzek when he was posing as a buyer before he had to announce himself as CPD because Helms threatened to kill her. Even as all the women—Upton, Burgess, and Platt (and it was so fun seeing her interrogate someone for a change)—begged her to give Helms and Sean up in order to help the other women, she refused to budge.
When Hailey realized they were running out of time, she kind of went for a Hail Mary, or, as Voight said, she tickled the wire by seeking out advice from Sean about the “pain” she felt from losing her husband and the death of Abby, the young woman she couldn’t save in the previous episode. While I definitely had a lot of anxiety about the scene considering Hailey was beyond tired and overworked, she played the part perfectly and got Sean to do exactly what she needed him to do: call Helms’ burner phone so that they could have a new lead.
To be quite honest, this episode was so intense that there were a handful of moments where I actually had to press pause and brace myself for what was coming next. One of those moments was when Birdie approached Ruzek and got super handsy with him. I didn’t know what his call would be, but I also knew he wouldn’t want to blow their cover, plus the whole situation was just beyond awkward. And when he blew their cover in order to save Birdie, I had to pause and just contemplate how this was going to change the plan knowing that Upton was so desperate for a win. She inadvertently blamed Ruzek for the call since it lost them the advantage, but truly, Voight was right when he said she was too hot about the case—there are some lines that can’t be crossed. Ruzek exerted great judgment in that situation knowing everything that was on the line, and he also felt bad about it as he tried to find any other way to bring down Sean.
The burner phone gave them a huge leg up as they were able to triangulate the area where they thought the girls and children were being kept. But unfortunately, there’s still a process that needs to be followed for any of this to stick, and before they could raid the place, they needed the DA to sign off on it. Voight promised Nina that he was good for it, and he would have been if Sean and his co-conspirators weren’t tipped off that they were coming.
During that time, the abandoned factory, which was used for sex and not as a place to hold the girls, was cleared out completely, including all tech ripped off the walls and every single piece of DNA wiped clean with bleach.
Hailey knew she wasn’t made by Sean, which only meant one thing—Chief Patrick O’Neal blew their cover.
And this is where the episode got a whole lot more heartbreaking. When Voight confronted “Patty,” the high-ranking and decorated officer was clearly frustrated that Intelligence was going after his son. In fact, he didn’t even deny that he told Sean, telling Voight “he’s my son.” Unfortunately, he had no idea the extent of the damage he had done. Patty thought the whole case revolved around Sean’s drug addiction as he swore he knew his son wasn’t using right now, but his whole world was flipped upside down when Voight told him that the operation involved the sex trafficking of minors… sons and daughters.
At this point, it was clear that Patty realized just how much he had messed everything up, and though it’s frustrating since they were *this close* to figuring it out, I feel for the man who simply wanted to help his child and thought that he was doing the right thing.
Is it possible that if Voight looped in Patty from the beginning, he would have helped them because it was the right thing to do despite the love he had for his kid?
The episode ended with Upton staking out Sean’s house, only this time, she didn’t have to hide. They were made, which meant that Sean was aware that they knew his business. Upton’s presence was a simple reminder that she was not going anywhere and she was not going to stop pursuing this case.
She’s putting the heat on him, but in a good way that’s necessary this time.
But what now? Will Patty help Intelligence take his son down? Or will he continue protecting him and make it harder for everyone else to get anywhere?
How will Sean continue his business with Intelligence watching his every move? Will it force him to relapse?
The promo for the upcoming episode teased a new Burgess-centric case involving a serial killer, so the series will once again focus on another case before likely looping back to this one, but I can’t wait to see the resolution. One of the best things that PD has ever done is create a case that spans multiple episodes and keeps audiences hooked. The standalone cases of the week are compelling in their own right, but I’m invested to see how this is all going to turn out. And to see how Hailey copes once she no longer has a case to distract her from the reality of losing her husband.
What did you think of the episode? Did you expect all those twists and turns? And did you anticipate that it would be the Chief to ruin it all?
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