If there’s one thing you can expect from Chicago P.D. it’s that its storylines are much more than they appear to be. When you think you’ve got it all figured out, you soon learn that you weren’t even close. The writers are so damn good at weaving a story together and planting seeds – realistic seeds that’ll make you bite – and then flipping the script completely. It’s what makes watching the episode a second time so cool because you see it coming from the other side.
In “Sanctuary,” Chicago’s Intelligence Unit tackled a case that was ripe with controversy and media attention. It was also a case that ended up being nothing like they expected. As the case unfolded, we got to see some progress with Burgess and Olinksy’s partnership, which started rough and ended in a place that left us reeling from feels. We also got the terrifying suspicion and fear that perhaps Rixton’s stay is more permanent than they’re letting on. (I also realized that I miss Ruzek more than I realized after I came to that realization.)
Nothing But the Truth, So Help You God
Not that we’re the least bit surprised by how this case unraveled, but there’s something so incredibly compelling about how Chicago P.D. can attack multiple controversial issues within a matter of 43 minutes. It’s something that it manages to do often, but that doesn’t mean that we ever take it for granted. Because damn, this show is good.
As the name implies, in “Sanctuary,” Intelligence finds themselves investigating a brutal murder that soon leads them into a media mess of controversy. Atwater and Rixton chase a couple of suspects – two young black men – to a church, where the two seek sanctuary. And given the support from Father McSorley and his churchgoers, there’s no way that they’re giving up these two men – even knowing that they’re murder suspects. This led to an intense standoff between the police and the churchgoers, which shone a light on something we don’t necessarily see very often.
From the start I suspected that there was more to this murder than we saw. There always is with this show. It would’ve been too predictable and too easy for it to have been the two young black men. But then at the same time we’re not at all surprised with the direction that this episode went. Turns out the murder – the sick, twisted animal responsible for raping a woman, killing her, and on top of that murdering a man in a wheel chair and chopping his body into pieces (two of which he kept) – was a demented while male who thought that he could get away with this sick crime by blaming it on the “black boys.” It’s something that’s reminiscent of the world we live in today where certain people perceive certain people a certain way. But then this episode also goes to show what happens when you don’t jump to conclusions or let prejudice guide you. If you do your job – in Intelligence’s case, investigate this murder – you’ll eventually find your way to the truth. How fitting that the bulk of this episode took place in a church. A place that demands truth. A place that is a sanctuary for those that need it.
While Chicago P.D. might be a procedural show on the surface, there’s no denying that it thrives on the heart of the characters and their relationships with each other. It’s what makes this show different than your typical procedural. It takes the time to let the audience form an attachment to these characters that makes the situations and the cases they investigate have more impact. It also allows these actors to let these natural bonds flourish.
One of the main dynamics that this second half of season four promises to focus on is the new partnership between Burgess and Olinksy. You’d think that it’d be a smooth transition for Burgess. But not so. And who would’ve wanted that? It would’ve been super boring. Instead we got one of my favorite dynamics so far in a relationship that I never really knew that I needed to see develop.
Olinksy has made it no secret that he doesn’t agree with Burgess being in Intelligence. It’s not that he thinks she’s bad police, but he wasn’t personally convinced that she could handle the pressures of this unit. More than that, he saw her goodhearted nature and didn’t want a front row seat to her unraveling. Only Olinsky doesn’t really know Burgess. Not really. If he had known her, like we do, he’d have seen the badass and vulnerable, tough yet sweet, kickoff person who knows exactly when to hit the gas when the situation calls for it.
We’ve watched in these last couple of episodes as Olinksy has not only criticized her but done so right in front of her. While it bothered Burgess at first – and probably still does to a degree – she chose to focus on herself and not pleasing her new partner. The beginning of this episode wasn’t pretty for the two. Once again Olinsky was criticizing and shining a microscope on every mistake Burgess made. But near the end of the episode – when Olinksy’s life was on the line – Burgess tackled the guy with the shotgun aimed at Olinsky and saved his life. Now that’s good police.
At the end of the episode when Olinsky is headed home, he pauses near Burgess’ desk and just stands there for a moment. Obviously we all knew what he wanted to do, was going to do. Well, to some degree. So as he kept standing there, I began shouting at my television, “Do it! Thank her! Just do it!” So when he finally spoke the words: “Thanks, partner.” My heart melted. This is a friendship in the making that I never knew I wanted, but I want it so bad. I have this dream that it’ll be like they’re a father-daughter kicking ass and taking names. Okay, I know I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m just hoping for more progress at this point.
Ruzek’s absence is beginning to weigh on me. Partly because I missed him (and I’m now realizing how much I miss him), but partly because I’m slowly becoming more and more terrified that they’re easing us into a permanent Ruzek departure. I know, I know. It’s crazy. But I’m a glass half empty kind of girl when it comes to speculation of television shows. I always expect the worst just in case the worst comes to light. But there’s no way they’d do that. Especially with some unfinished business between him and Burgess?
There was a real emphasis on the new guy Rixton this week, which made me wonder if they’re setting him up to be a more permanent replacement for Ruzek. Maybe it’s just because they’re trying to give him some things to work with before Ruzek eventually returns, maybe they’re trying to mix things up, or maybe they’re trying to help make his transition a smooth one. But I’m sorry to break it to you, Rixton isn’t Ruzek.
We know that Ruzek volunteered to go deep undercover on a mission, but just how long will this mission last? Is it long, long term? Or can we expect him to return by season’s end? I feel like this shouldn’t be the last time we see Ruzek on this show because we were offered no sense of closure. We didn’t even know he was gone until a couple of episodes ago when they told us. That’s not how a character makes an exit. So Ruzek has got to be coming back. I think. I hope.
- “Thanks, partner.” The FEELS are real, and I am so happy for this partnership between Olinsky and Burgess. We can’t blame Olinksy for finally coming around. Burgess has that effect on everyone.
- No, seriously. Ruzek’s break isn’t permanent, right? I can’t help but be terrified about it as there seems to be a heavy focus on the new guy Rixton. Not that Rixton is a bad guy, but he just makes me miss Ruzek. Maybe I just need some more time to grow used to him. Or maybe I just need Ruzek’s return to be confirmed.
- Give me more character focus. It might’ve been the significant nature of the case this week, but there wasn’t as much individual focus on the characters as usual. Thankfully we got some evolution with Burgess and Olinksy – and we got Atwater being a standup comedian at the end – but if there’s one thing I missed this week it was that.
- There was a Chicago Med joke that went unsaid. At the end of the episode when Voight and Halstead are interrogating the sick, twisted man that murdered that woman, the guy kept complaining about his arm, which Burgess had near broken. At one point, he looks to Halstead who says, “Don’t look at me.” And I basically said the unsaid line for him: “Don’t look at me. But I’ve got a brother over at Med.” Not that this guy deserved immediate medical attention.
- Burgess tackling the guilty man prompted several Chicago Bears tweets. Yes, Chicago P.D. and the whole One Chicago franchise takes place in Chicago, but sometimes I forget that these actors live there and really get into the sports teams. So I loved it when after Burgess took that prick down that it prompted Jesse and Royce to tweet that Marina should join the Bears. And to be honest – with tackling like that – damn right she should!
Chicago P.D. airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on NBC.