Chicago Justice 1×06 Review: ‘Dead Meat’

While all of the One Chicago shows share the central purpose of saving lives, each of these shows serves a specific purpose. Chicago Fire and Chicago Med protect lives and assist those at Chicago P.D. to help ascertain the guilty. But Chicago Justice is the only show where you get to see the justice be served.

And there’s a gratifying feeling that comes with that.

Nothing is perfect in our justice system. Sometimes the guilty walk free; sometimes the wrong are/are nearly convicted for a crime they didn’t commit. So when the opportunity presents itself – for a second shot at bringing down the guilty – you damn well know that they’re going to take it.

In “Dead Meat,” an old face resurfaces in a new murder charge. John Beckett, who was acquitted by a jury for the murder of a farmer after the evidence pointed to him, was once again at the center of another murder that rocked Peter Stone and Antonio Dawson to the core.

Second chances aren’t always afforded. But when one comes your way you have to approach it as a shot for redemption; another chance to bring justice to the innocent that were affected by a terrible crime. You can’t focus on what happened then. You need to push forward.

Chicago Justice, like its predecessors, thrives in these emotional cases that have a personal connection. “Dead Meat” was another one of those episodes given the connection to Stone and Dawson. These two had already played this game before. They knew Beckett was guilty, and yet they were forced to watch him walk free.

“Dead Meat” allowed for us to explore the emotions of these two characters when confronted by their past. A past that was anything but good. It was also a reminder that – while we usually see our Team Justice come out on top – that it’s not always the case. Sometimes they lose.

But this episode also proved that the truth will eventually come out. You’ll eventually get caught in your own lie. And justice will be served.

Let’s break this down:

Justice Is Finally Served

When you’re a procedural show that focuses on a singular craft – such as Chicago P.D. and arrests or Chicago Justice in trials – you’d think it’d be easy to get pigeon-holed into the same old thing. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Chicago Justice manages to deliver unique case after case that manages to both dazzle and impose the audience. Whether it’s a trial involving a police officer and a murder or a case involving the classified information from a Navy operation, this show never fails to deliver the cases that entrance us.

“Dead Meat” directly addressed the issue of “Double Jeopardy” that found the return of a guilty man who had been acquitted years prior to the murder of a farmer in an arson case.

“Double Jeopardy” states that an individual cannot be prosecuted for the same offense after being acquitted, conviction, or multiple punishments for the same offense.

In his first trial, Beckett was acquitted despite all of the evidence that pointed to him being guilty in an arson that killed a farmer and continued to haunt Peter Stone and Antonio Dawson.

Honestly, it was that connection and continued disgust of this man – as well as the way they were determined to lock him up – that made this episode as impactful as it was. It was personal. You could see it in Stone and Dawson’s faces when they talked about it.

We got to see just how person this was to Stone, who clearly remains shaken by the outcome. Stone was the attorney working against Beckett the first go around. He had to stand there in front of a judge, jury, and Beckett and watch Beckett walk free. He had to confront the farmer’s wife, who also lost her son when he left, knowing that he didn’t do justice by her.

Stone is someone, who while very stoic, is someone who is damn serious about his job. It’s more than a job. It’s a responsibility. It’s a promise. And this episode provided an opportunity for him to fight to get that justice for the innocent.

This is personal for him. You can see it in his face when he confronts Beckett. You can see it in his face when he’s comforting the dead farmer’s wife. You can see it in him.

John Beckett is a snake. He’s cocky. He knows he’s going to get out of this like he got out of the first murder he committed. It’s disgusting. But there was something within me that believed that Stone and the team were not going to let this man walk free again. No way in hell.

Stone managed to reopen the case against Beckett involving the arson on his farm after a juror confessed that she had taken money from Beckett in order to fix the outcome of that trial. So while double jeopardy was at play here, it really wasn’t. Because the second that the woman confessed to that, the trial became fixed. Beckett was never in danger of jeopardy in the first place. Not with the outcome already determined.

It was a bold move on Stone’s part, but it paid off. They were able to go after Beckett for the arson a second time. And they got him.

One of the reasons that I admire Chicago Justice is because it’s realistic in its approach. It goes into this show with this air of “life isn’t fair.” Just because they work in the justice system, it doesn’t mean that everything always works out the way it should. If that were the case, Beckett would’ve been convicted the first time around and that officer wouldn’t have died.

But Chicago Justice is also a reminder that, in the end, justice will prevail. And you want to be on the right side.

Just Let Me Talk Staldez

While we’ve seen no immediate suggestion that Peter Stone and Anna Valdez are headed in a romantic direction, that hasn’t stopped me from dissecting their every move. What can I say, the ship chose me.

There’s been an evident and natural chemistry between the two since the pilot. I’ve really just enjoyed their scenes together. They just bring out something in each other that’s really exciting as a viewer to watch.

While Chicago Justice hasn’t teased any romance yet, that doesn’t mean that it’s not in the future. And given what we’ve seen from these two partners so far – how there’s a question about their history, like how’d they meet? When did they start working together? What do they know about each other? – this could be the romance that Chicago Justice is looking for.

I love the moments when we get to see Stone and Valdez sitting down and talking, whether it’s during or after a trial. But you get to really see that natural rapport that they exude. There’s an easiness there that isn’t entirely obvious but is there if you look close enough. The ease with which Peter can open up to her. The stolen glances. The sweet smiles. This has every making of an OTP.

Look, romance tends to get a bad rap in all mediums, particularly television. It’s either, “There’s too much romance!” or “There’s not enough romance!” Well, which one is it? Make up your damn mind.

But the reason that these One Chicago shows have focused on specific romances is because that’s what makes these shows relatable; that’s what makes these shows human. It’s what we’re drawn to. It’s what gets us talking. It’s what makes us care.

Honestly, I feel like that’s the only thing that Chicago Justice is missing right now. Not that it needs romance to be an amazing show (because it doesn’t.) But I want to get overly emotionally invested in Justice the way I have in Chicago P.D., Chicago Med, and Chicago Fire. That’s what makes this world so realistic are the relationships.

Granted, I know we’re only six episodes into the first season, which means that’s likely to change. But honestly I want that for Chicago Justice. Every One Chicago show needs a power couple *wink*

Five Things

  1. Peter Stone talking about sports is everything. Every time Peter talks about playing baseball in his past – and watching that smile he gets on his face – I just swoon.
  1. I don’t care what you say, but there’s a definite connection between Peter and Anna. I don’t anticipate for there to be this huge romance at this point in the story, but there’s an obvious chemistry between the two that is hard to miss. Philip and Monica have a great chemistry and dynamic.
  1. The guilty are always cocky as hell, aren’t they? Beckett was scary calm during this entire ordeal because he knew – just like the last time – that he was going to escape this unscathed. Lucky for us, we have Peter Stone, who brought his ass down.
  1. You know what, Peter is actually funny when he wants to be. Peter Stone isn’t someone you envision telling a joke. But he’s funny in his own, unique way. Like when he thanked Beckett for the steaks and said his neighbor’s dogs would enjoy them. And that smug smirk. God I love him.
  1. A+ to the Hermann cameo at episode’s end. Also, shots! Shots! Shots!

Chicago Justice airs Sundays at 9/8c on NBC.

Teacher by day, writer by every other free moment | Obsessed with sports, TV, books, movies, and superheroes | Proud shipper and supporter of strong female characters | Co-executive Editor for Fangirlish | Contributor for Bears Wire at USA Today SMG | Producer/Co-Host of Buffone 55 for Bears Barroom Radio Network | Contact: