One of the most beautiful aspects of each and every One Chicago series is the essence of family at its core. Family isn’t this singular term used to describe blood relatives. It’s so much more than that. It’s about a group of people that love each other, care for each other, and would kick the living snot out of anyone that threatened them harm.
One Chicago is family.
And Chicago P.D. reminded us in “Grasping For Salvation” that, while the cases are the main attraction, that this show is so much more than its typical procedural makeup. Chicago P.D. is about the characters that breathe life into this show. It’s about what they feel, how they react, and ultimately what they contribute to solve a case and/or address personal matters in their individual lives.
It’s personal. Just like family.
Hank Voight has been a character that always stood on his own. He’s never someone that’s really needed protecting — he’s usually the one doing the protecting. And while his methods may be questionable and extreme, he’s always looking out for the victims and his team. And who can argue with his methods when he’s had the results that he has?
Voight is someone that you can feel his rage radiate off the screen. He’s got a temper, that’s for sure. But when he’s livid, it’s like you can feel the spit on your face when he gets in the face of the guilty ready to scare them into a confession. We got to see that terrifying Voight in this episode.
But we also got to see Voight in a way we aren’t used to seeing him — worried. This entire case that he was revisiting (more on that below) had him thrown out of whack. He was uneasy and feeling guilty, but he didn’t stop looking for the truth.
While we’ve always viewed Voight as this indestructible force — seeing all the shit he’s gotten away with — this episode reminded us that he isn’t untouchable. Lieutenant Woods, Voight’s old detective buddy, proved just that.
In a way, Voight and Woods were parallels of each other. Not only do both have a history, seeing as they used to work together. But there was an obvious parallel between the individuals that they are at present.
While both have their questionable methods, Voight has proven to be motivated by his desire to justice, in whatever form that may come. But then you have Woods, who is motivated by his desire to be in control and manipulate and blackmail his way to getting what he wants. Both were at a questionable time in their lives at the time of this case 17 years ago. But Voight managed to turn his life around. Woods did not. Even though he attempted to hide it behind the title of Lieutenant.
Woods threatened — and essentially dared — Voight to come after him; to try to define him. Knowing Voight, there was no way that Voight was going to let Woods and whoever else was involved go unpunished and let Valentine rot in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Voight pushed. And Woods pushed back. Hard.
Voight was taken to the review board for “insubordination” and failing to follow a Lieutenant’s instructions — the instructions here being to stop pursuing the case that would ultimately out Woods as guilty and unfit to wear the badge. And we’re left wondering: Who the hell is Voight going to get himself out of this one?
He wasn’t. But his team would.
Something that you really can’t appreciate until a show has been going for at least 2-3 seasons is the family dynamic that develops between the cast of characters. It’s not something that’s immediate. It develops over time, through many experiences — both good and bad. It’s a matter of trust. It’s a matter of respect. It’s a matter of how far you’re willing to go for someone.
While Voight hasn’t been the easiest person to work for, this Intelligence unit has become a family — and he’s the dad that sits at the head of the dinner table. Lindsay, Halstead, Olinsky, Ruzek, Atwater, Burgess, Platt, they are care so deeply for Voight and respect him like no other.
So when Voight was in trouble, his family risked their jobs and reputations to save him.
Despite being given orders to abandon the case, Lindsay, Halstead, Olinsky, Ruzek, and Atwater continued to push until they managed to locate the current killer and make the older killer (the guilty’s father) confess to the murder that Valentine was serving life in prison for. It was a beautiful sequence of events that showed the power of teamwork, but more importantly the power of family.
For as Woods was about to deliver the final blow to Voight, Lindsay rode in on her white horse with the documents to save the day. Voight was spared and Woods was stripped of his powers. Justice is grand. Nice to see that the folks at Chicago P.D. can serve a little justice of their own without having to call on Chicago Justice for assistance.
There’s something so powerful about this family dynamic that has been cultivated on Chicago P.D. for four seasons. It’s something that’s easy to take for granted. But when you see it in action, you realize just how important this show is — how it’s about more than the cases. We, the audience, care so damn much about these characters. We cling to their relationships. And at the heart of this show is that fundamental family core that has and will continue to define what makes Chicago P.D. the show I know and love.
A Time for Redemption
An important lesson that everyone can learn in their life is that there’s always an opportunity to redeem yourself after a mistake. Mistakes come in all shapes and sizes, but they exist. And how you choose to respond to them says a lot.
For Voight, “Grasping for Salvation” was an episode that tested his character and reminded us that, while Voight isn’t a saint or a teddy bear, that he has good intentions at heart. He’s seeking justice for the victims and seeking vengeance against the guilty.
But sometimes, you get things wrong. Even when the evidence tells you otherwise, as Voight learned. This episode was about a new murder essentially revealing the lies about a murder 17 years ago that Voight and then detective partner Woods closed. They imprisoned a man named Valentine only for Voight to learn that he might not be the guilty party seeing as the wrong gun was put in evidence.
Voight fought for the truth throughout this episode — even put his reputation and job on the line in order to do so. Voight is an avenging angel, he seeks justice for the wrongs in the world. And when one of those wrongs involves his doing, you know damn well he’s not going to give in.
Honestly, Voight did one of the most difficult things to do in life: Admit you were wrong. More than that, he did something about it.
He didn’t ignore it. He didn’t let Valentine continue to sit in jail. Voight fought to expose the truth and put the right man behind bars — and also took out a crooked lieutenant that nearly cost Voight his shield.
Voight knew that this wouldn’t play out like a fairy tale. But he had to make it right. He couldn’t let a man rot in prison any longer when he was sitting on the truth — that someone else was responsible for the murder that happened 17 years before. So when Voight shows up at Valentine’s daughter’s house to check in, and when Valentine closes the door in his face, it doesn’t diminish the importance or value of what Voight did. Voight saved a man’s life. Sure, it took a little longer than he would’ve liked. But when he learned that something was wrong, he acted on it. And while Valentine can’t show the thanks most of us would’ve liked, seeing Valentine free and living his life now was what Voight needed to see.
A Time For Longing
Because I’m someone who notices the little things, I needed to rant about Linstead in this episode — but more specifically moving forward. It’s no secret that these past three episodes (which has amounted to nearly a month) have been hell for us Linstead shippers as we ride out the wave of misery known as shipper torture, a popular tactic in the hands of producers.
I still see a lot of debate as to what Chicago P.D. was doing with breaking Halstead and Lindsay up. While I didn’t and still don’t agree that it needed to happen, I can respect the reason why they’re letting it play out. This isn’t about another girl or another guy. This is about personal, individual issue that has been suppressed by Jay for so long that ultimately it needed to be touched upon before he moves forward with Erin.
Though I will say that given this excuse for the temporary breakup — Halstead’s PTSD — I would actually like to see this issue addressed. We’ve already seen a scene that was cut from an episode that alluded to Jay seeking help for his PTSD. But where is Jay actually handling this issue? In my opinion, this show can’t justify reuniting Jay and Erin until we see Jay handle this issue.
But just because Jay can’t be with Erin right now doesn’t mean that he doesn’t think about being with her, which brings me to this episode and tying this rant together. This entire episode we saw Jay basically longing after Erin, which broke my heart on a number of occasions. He wants to be with her. But he can’t. Not yet. Not until he fixes himself. But seeing that pain and that longing made my heart break. And it has me clamoring for resolution, which teasers have said will come in the season finale.
- There aren’t many times where I’m worried about Voight — but this was one. Hank is someone that can typically handle himself, but this Lieutenant Woods — Voight’s former detective partner — nearly had him stripped of his powers. You could see the uncertainty in Voight’s face. Not many people are capable of that. It was terrifying.
- Watching the Intelligence family fight to save Voight brought me to tears. Sure, this family isn’t perfect. But they always have each other’s backs. We’ve seen Voight do a lot for all of them, and it was nice to see them return the favor. I only wish we’d gotten that moment at the end where he thanks them. (Please tell me that’s a deleted scene!)
- Is Atwater really going out for his detective clearance? Because I was way too excited about that only to find out that it might’ve just been a ploy to distract the coroner while Ruzek used the dead boy’s fingerprint to unlock his phone. Like, awesome distraction — work it, Kev — but I really, really want Atwater to pursue that. And I want to see it.
- Halstead was basically pining after Lindsay this entire episode to the point where it made my heart hurt. I know that they’re saving the juicy Linstead stuff for the season finale (two episodes to go until that one!). But it still breaks my heart watching this noticeable distance between them. It’s gotten better, but it’s still there. I need them to work their issues out. Now.
- I miss Burgess so damn much already. She’s like a ray of sunshine, and her absence is definitely noticed. But I keep reminding myself that it’s only temporary, and that she’ll return next season. (Which would be nice to have a renewal confirmation even though this is like 99% guaranteed.)
Chicago P.D. airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on NBC.