When it comes to being a police officer on television, it’s something that can sometimes feel over glamorized. Usually it’s all about being cool. Cool job, cool gun, cool ride, cool shades, and a cool attitude. But the truth is, working in law enforcement can be very difficult. And sometimes it can be very, very difficult.
That’s something that Chicago P.D. has always managed to portray in an honest light. Yes, it looks cool as hell. But the gravity of each week’s emotional implications is never lost on the characters or the viewer.
In Chicago P.D.’s latest hour, “Fagin,” Detective Erin Lindsay acted as our exhibit A as she dealt with one of those very, very difficult situations that looks as if it may affect her for several episodes as we wind down this season.
Much like life, being a cop is about acting in the moment. Especially when weapons are firing. Lindsay, like she is nearly every week, was confronted with one of these situations that was something that would affect her profoundly despite the fact that she knew she did what she had to do.
Much like the world, guilt isn’t fair. You can’t control when or why you feel guilt. Even when you know deep down that you did the right thing, just seeing the effect has the tendency to elicit those kind of emotions that leave you feeling wounded.
Especially in this dark world that Chicago P.D. presents us with where gang violence is a daily and sometimes hourly occurrence. We see these characters live in this world every day, as well as the emotional toll it can take. It leaves us asking: How do they do it every day?
Not all heroes wear capes.
Let’s break this episode down:
No one is perfect. Even when they’re making the right calls in a life or death situation. Despite knowing that you made the right decision, it doesn’t make you feel any better about the aftermath. Such was the case for Erin Lindsay in an episode that was quite emotional in its setup and execution.
When Lindsay and Halstead got called to look over surveillance at a credit union, they found themselves in the middle of a shootout that had the partners taking things to the streets in a chase where Halstead caught on kid and Lindsay neared the other. When she had him cornered, the man turned his gun toward Lindsay as if he were about to shoot and Lindsay shot him in the neck.
Chicago P.D. is at its best when it’s not only bringing cases ripped from the headlines, but also delivering storylines that are also focused on in the media. One of those includes police shooting young African American suspects, which we got a tease of in this episode regarding the ramifications.
You have to ask: Would the reaction from the State’s Attorney’s office have been any different if not for the age and race? Would Lindsay have to deal with that pressure on top of having to confront the 14-year-old’s mother and the internal conflict?
But it comes down to one simple matter: Lindsay acted in the moment.
“Do you know what it’s like to stare down the barrel of an automatic weapon?”
When she had her gun at the ready as she confronted this suspect, he made the move to reach for his weapon and aim it at her, which left her no choice to shoot him. It sucks because this was a boy who was only 14 with so much of life in front of him. And it had to end like this. But it wasn’t because of Lindsay. It was because of Fagin.
While there weren’t any immediate consequences on the surface as a result, Erin did have to deal with an even bigger conflict: the guilt that rages inside of her. She knows that she did what she should’ve done; what she’s always done when in that kind of situation. But that didn’t change the fact that this victim was 14 years old. It didn’t erase that guilt. It still hurt. If it didn’t hurt, I’d have been concerned.
But something that I do admire is how much more Erin has become with confiding in Jay when it comes to these difficult situations, which coincidentally is the area he needs to focus on in their relationship. When Jay ran after her to check on her, she could’ve pushed him away. She could’ve just walked out. But all it took was a single line – “He was only 14.” – for her to say all she needed to say. And all it took was her embracing Jay’s comforting hug to show that she was willing to accept help if she needed it. It shows just how far Erin has come throughout this series. God, I love her.
The Road to Rebuilding
As we wind down the final episodes of Chicago P.D.’s fourth season, I’m longing for resolution as we head into hiatus hell. The storyline that I’m craving resolution to is Jay and Erin’s relationship status, which was thrown for a loop several episodes back when Jay realized he had some unresolved issues involving his time in the military. Since then, Linstead have been tiptoeing around each other as they both take some time for themselves. But eventually they’re going to need to have that conversation.
One of the most important aspects of this temporary break (because, yes, it’s temporary) is that it wasn’t based on a lack of love or trust. It was based on individual issues that Halstead had been suppressing and he felt he needed to resolve before ruining his relationship with Lindsay. It’s what made this week’s events so important when it comes to this rebuild.
Despite the apparent glamour of being in law enforcement, it’s something that has profound emotional and psychological effects. Halstead continues to experience that from the suppressed emotions from his time in the military as they’re reemerged. Now, Lindsay is going through an issue of her own that’ll surely stick with her forever.
Lindsay is experiencing. But it’s now, more than ever, that Jay and Erin need to realize that they need to rely on others when they’re in too deep. Jay and Erin are pretty similar in that regard. Since childhood they’ve had to rely on themselves to get by. So, when these kind of issues come up, it’s instinctual for them to keep it locked inside or try to handle it by themselves. It’s why Jay pushed Erin away. It’s why Erin will try to push Jay away, no doubt. But as soon as they learn to lean on others for support – each other, most specifically – it’ll be an important step in their reconciliation.
Jay and Erin love each other. They trust each other. They’ve leaned on each other. But this is something different that they’re going to have to tackle together. And it’ll ultimately make them stronger.
The New Kid
The current trend when a series regular in Intelligence takes a leave (in this case Burgess) it’s custom to bring in a temp to fill the empty spot. Well, we met our temp, Detective Hailey Upton, who brings some more female power to Intelligence.
While this is surely nothing but temporary due to Burgess’ return next season (after Marina’s maternity leave), I have to admit that Upton has a certain spunk that made her endearing. Coming from the Robbery and Homicide division, Upton has a certain rigidness to her personality. She isn’t used to the laid-back atmosphere of Intelligence where it’s the unit’s rapport that contributes to a good portion of that 90 percent success rating.
Upton’s introduction came courtesy of a case that Halstead and Lindsay picked up involving a robbery and homicide at an area credit union, which prompted an emotional case where young boys no older than 15 were guided into robbing credit unions. Upton came ready to take her case, but what’ll you know she was going up against Hank Voight, who once his unit catches a case they stick with it. And that’s what he did. It originally brought some tension between the two, but then Voight brought her aboard to help with the case, which ended up being crucial.
But can we talk about Upton’s connection to Intelligence long before she became a cop? Because it was that final scene between her and Platt that gave me all the feels. When Hailey was a little girl, her father’s store was robbed and she was held at gunpoint. It was Platt who took care of her – let her stay at her desk until she caught the asshole that did it. And in the most beautiful confession, Upton admitted that Platt is the reason why she became a cop. And wouldn’t you know it, in the same Robbery and Homicide division as Platt once was. How’s that for tear-inducing?
- I still have to ask myself, “Is that Halstead driving?” when I see him behind the steering wheel. Because it’s still so new to me and so odd to see. I’ll never be over the fact that Lindsay actually let him drive once yet alone multiple times in this new WI-fi supported rig.
- Lindsay’s guilt might actually serve as a catalyst for bringing her and Halstead back together. I’ve been wondering what it’ll take to start the rebuild with Lindsay and Halstead’s relationship. And Lindsay’s hardship in this episode might be the catalyst. This is a time when she needs someone. And Halstead, who has been dealing with PTSD of his own, should be the one to step up and help guide her through it.
- Happy Birthday, Jay! It’s always nice when Chicago P.D. acknowledges life events like birthdays. Not to mention it brought us the opportunity to see Erin give Jay a birthday present that she knew he’d love. Because she knows him better than anyone. Not to mention those glances. Endgame is spelled L-I-N-S-T-E-A-D.
- Voight’s really having a rough two weeks with people trying to overstep his authority. First his old boss last week and now this new crime and homicide detective Hailey Upton. Nothing that Hank Voight can’t handle, but it must be piss off Hank Voight month on Chicago P.D.
- This was one of those cases that really makes you stop and think. These boys were 14 and 15 years old. Robbing banks, shooting guns, and even killing people. It showcased the vulnerability of youth, as well as the darkness of this world within Chicago.
- When Platt cries, I cry. Trudy Platt might put on this tough b***h façade, but we all know that she’s a big softie. Esepcially at the end of this episode when Upton told her that she was the reason she became a cop. Platt let out an audible sob that I’m still recovering from.
Chicago P.D. airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on NBC.