Chicago Justice 1×05 Review: Friendly Fire

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Some cases are open and shut. Others are more …let’s say grey. There are two sides to every story, and we very often get to hear the other side, or at least the other side’s attempts at defense in Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D or even Chicago Med. That’s why Dick Wolfe and co introduced Chicago Justice in the first place.

For the nuances.

This episode had a lot of nuances, there was the military angle, the respect that Jefferies and really, anyone else who has ever served, has for the institution, and then there was Stone and his team, trying to put a killer behind bars, both sides trying to do what, in their minds, was the right thing, and yet their perceptions clearly at odds.

Lawyers are boring – some people on Twitter were saying before this show even aired. I beg to differ, of course, and so does TV. Suits has, after all, been on the air for six seasons and people don’t seem to be tired of that. But Chicago Justice is not Suits, and it’s not even JAG, though it’s more like the later than the former. Chicago Justice is just another piece in an already huge puzzle. A piece that fits perfectly.

A piece that was needed.

So let’s examine “Friendly Fire,” our characters and the case of the week.

THE CASE

I will never understand what it means to serve. I know this. I will not even attempt to delve into the mind of people who are willing to risk their lives in the service of something bigger than them. I do, however, want to examine the role of the government and the transparency that the people in charge owe the ones who are risking life and limb in complicated situations.

Jefferies was acting from his heart – and what is more, he knew it. That’s why, at the end of the day, he couldn’t, in good conscience, accept Stone’s resignation. Stone did the right thing by making sure he presented the jury with enough information to come back with a guilty verdict.

But national security, some people will say. But as the Federal Judge so wonderfully explained, this was not about national security, it was about saving face. I understand keeping information about active operations classified, I even understand the role morale plays for those who serve. But that should never be more important than the life of one person, someone who also served his country with the best he could.

As the episode shows, however, there’s no clear cut answer to this. There is no right or wrong. There’s just your experiences and your likes and dislikes and what the combination of all that leads you to decide.

Pretty much like in life.

THE TEAM

Peter Stone: By far our favorite character, because he’s the one that’s gotten more development in the first five episodes. We can’t yet say why he does things, what he wants, or who he truly cares about, but we can say he’s fair, he believes in justice and he’ll do just about anything to get it.

Anna Valdez: Light episode for her, but after last week’s hour, we’re more inclined to think the show is ready to turn her into a dynamic, layered character. Also, there’s chemistry there with Stone, though I kind of hope that, if that’s where they’re going with it, they take their sweet time getting there.

Antonio Dawson: I can warm up to him in the same way I warmed up to him on Chicago P.D – he’s never going to be my favorite, he’s too judgmental and sanctimonious for that, but the more time passes and the more he’s around the less I dislike him. I don’t love him, but I don’t hate him either. He’s firmly in the middle of it all.

Laura Nagel: I still need all the backstory on her, but I’ve also warmed up to the character. Like Anna, she’s not just a pretty face, and I get the sense that, with some time, I might really enjoy the dynamic between her and Antonio. Just, for the love of all that’s holy, don’t make THAT romantic.

Mark Jefferies: No character on this show brings me so many emotions – all negative. That’s probably a good thing, as at least I’m feeling something. He plays the politics game more than the justice game, and I hate that, but I understand someone has to do it. Better him than Stone.

WHAT’S NEXT

I could, of course, put a link to the next episode promo here. Or I could just elaborate a little into what I want from the characters. The show has gotten off to a solid start, but this was not its most entertaining episode, and the best way to hook us remains the characters – not the cases. That’s, after all, been the staple of all other Chicago shows.

What we need right now is cases that engage the team personally. We need more of episode 4 and less of episode 5. We need Antonio and Laura to have to really go out of their way for an investigation. We need someone other than Peter to have a brilliant idea and we need a real exploration into what it means to be a woman in Anna’s shoes. Also, we need Jefferies to have an episode where we like him, just to spice things up.

Basically, we need these people to be real, three-dimensional characters and not just stereotypes for something. And that’ll only come with time. That, and good writing.

Here’s to more.

Other things to note:

  • 400K as an advance for a book the publisher has seen NOTHING off and which the Navy signed off? Sounds hinky.
  • And by hinky I mean impossible. If the Navy signed off on it then there’s no scoop.
  • Except, we know there was. So, contradiction.
  • Is there ever not cold in Chicago? I’ve watched all these shows and I hardly ever see them in anything other than heavy coats. I’m starting to believe Chicago summers are a myth.

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

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