Chicago P.D. 9×03 “The One Next to Me” is about Jay Halstead, even if it isn’t. Because as much as it is about Jay Halstead, it’s also about the things we put behind, and the things we decide to keep. Life is growth, and though we are indeed made up of our experiences, often there are parts of ourselves we choose to shut away, for good.
This episode gives you a closer glimpse at the man Jay Halstead was before Chicago P.D., before the police. But that isn’t the only thing it does. Instead, the episode serves to re-establish something the show has leaned heavily on, particularly lately, as the clear lines between Hank Voight and Jay Halstead are drawn, Jay’s sense of morality.
When an episode is so heavy handed in the message as Chicago P.D. 9×03 “The One Next to Me,” it’s intentional. And this episode establishes Jay as someone who, at one point, made a wrong choice. We all make wrong choices, of course. Not all of us make wrong choices that cost people lives, but we all make wrong choices. And Jay’s response to that wrong choice was to become the man we know.
It’s important to point out that Jay’s wrong choice, like Hailey’s wrong choice, however, was the choice to keep quiet. Jay didn’t actively hurt someone, but he could have said something, done something, and didn’t. Hailey’s real mistake is pretty much the same as his – she’s kept Voight’s secret for way too long, and she shouldn’t have.
“God forbid someone can’t live up to your standards,” Knox tells Jay, and it feels like a pointed barb. It feels like foreshadowing for the big reveal we know is coming with the Hailey and Roy thing. And yet, this episode makes me certain it isn’t. It’s just a red herring. Because Jay Halstead is not the man he was, or the man Knox remembered. Jay Halstead has changed. He’s grown.
Into a man who can laugh with his team – and can we please get at least one team scene an episode? – a man who can confide in the love of his life, and yes, a man who is, indeed a good judge of character, even if, in some cases, he’s trained himself to look the other way even when he shouldn’t.
“Everything is so black and white with you,” Knox also tells Jay, and yet the truth is, it isn’t so. It never has been so. Jay’s a caring man, and he’s someone who will give you a second and a third chance …if you’re doing the wrong things for the right reasons. This is all set up to make us believe that Jay is going to turn on Hailey when he finds out the truth about Roy, but I’ve never been as sure this is the exact opposite of that.
If Jay’s gonna turn on anyone, it’s going to be Voight.
Of all the heavy-handed foreshadowing uttered by Knox in the episode, the most important one to mention might be: “the job puts you in these places where the right thing is wrong, and the wrong thing is right.” It’s a convenient way of letting himself off the hook, of course. If the right things are wrong, and the wrong things are right …then you aren’t ever in the wrong. But even though some things might not be black and white, what Knox did, what Hailey did …both things are wrong. Not the same level of wrong, but wrong.
But despite what this episode is trying to sell us, I don’t for a second think Jay Halstead cannot tell the difference between one or the other, or that he can’t tell the difference between Hailey and Voight. Especially as he’s been in Hailey’s position. Jay Halstead isn’t, has never been, just a man with a gun who doesn’t think. And we, the viewers, can clearly tell the difference between Knox and Hailey, too.
Hailey did something wrong – and I’m not even talking about killing Roy here (which hey, Voight manipulated her into that too!) I’m talking about going along with Voight’s scheme. But she did it out of loyalty, and out of respect for someone she cares about, someone who took advantage of her emotional state to convince her that his way was the only way that would work, the only way that could work.
Knox, on the other hand, was deliberate. His “revenge” for his fallen friend and how far he chose to take that, his behavior this episode …those were choices he made, not under duress. Just choices. Which, if we’re going to compare Knox to someone, we should be comparing him to Voight – not Hailey.
“I could have done something. I should have. And I didn’t …” Jay says, near the end of the episode. The easy conclusion is that this is meant to be about the secret the woman next to him is keeping, that this secret will tear them apart. But doesn’t it make more sense that he’s talking about Voight? You know, the one who has always, always toed the line. The one who Jay knows, from experience, believes it’s his way or the highway? The one Jay has trained himself to look away from?
To me, it does. And I’m absolutely here for this setup, just as I’m here for Jay getting to support Hailey in her moment of need. We had a similar storyline with Densi on NCIS: Los Angeles, and my fondest wish from the beginning of this mess was that Chicago P.D. would take a page out of that. I now feel confident they are – they have to be.
Voight has had many victims on his time in Chicago P.D., and he’s chosen those victims well. It’s hard to, narratively, feel bad for fictional characters you know have done wrong things. And he skated by on this, despite the fact that we knew he was wrong – we’ve always known he was wrong.
Last week I said it was time to cut him loose. To be fair, he should have been let go a long time ago, but if 2020’s events didn’t open our eyes – and the show’s eyes – to the issues with Voight, then how could we or the show pretend to stand against police brutality? They’ve taken way longer than I would have liked them to, but it feels like the time is now.
And this isn’t just about the real, moral issues, with Voight – which would be more than enough in real life – this is also about the fact that Voight has also emotionally manipulated absolutely everyone in this unit, including the people who aren’t even in the unit anymore. If the show continues to put up with it, if we continue to put up with it, what does that say about them?
What does it say about us?
Things I think I think:
- “Detective”/” Detective”
- Is this …a team scene? What in the world?!
- Not that I’m complaining, can I get more? One every week?
- Can’t Voight give Hailey like A SECOND to enjoy her happiness?
- I’m so happy to have Kim back.
- But the lack of consistency with her storyline is more than a tad annoying. So, she’s back to work. That’s good. Is she just …okay all the sudden? Is she only not okay when it serves the plot? That’s not how trauma works.
- That Kim and Hailey are both like “this true?” about Jay says a lot about how Jay keeps things very close to his vest.
- Also, fun how this show suddenly remembers those two can be paired up!
- Ricky Halstead?
- Hank’s whole “I care about everyone” shtick has been too old for ages.
- There was a moment in the middle of this episode where I think I stopped breathing for about 10 minutes.
- Am I even alive right now?
- The softness of the Upstead scenes in this episode, I swear to God.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Chicago P.D. 9×03 “The One Next to Me”? Share with us in the comments below!
Chicago P.D. airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on NBC.
We all know that Voight and Upton will not be held accountable for their actions. If Hailey had come clean to Jay and explained what happened and told him the whole story to begin with, I think he would have have felt for her and wanted to help. I’m sure he will blame Voight bc no one wants to put Hailey through more “trauma”. But I think it is sad to write her as such a “trauma ridden” character. She has been so quick to judge others for covering up and now it’s supposed to be ok? What message are they sending out? If Hailey is so fragile and phased by trauma, get her help! Kim has been beaten, shot, left for dead, yet no one things she is having “trauma”. And quite frankly, the Hailey fans would be calling for her to die if they felt Kim’s trauma was taking up screen time from their fav!
We’re Kim fans around here. *And* Hailey fans.
It’s clear that you don’t like Hailey, which is perfectly reasonable to dislike a character. I myself dislike Adam because I feel that his racial bias (that he never admits to having), colors his police work. Also because he has never treated Kim the way she should be treated. Even when she was missing he was doing cowboy stuff that Kim would have yelled at him for. It wasn’t till Hailey told him that Kim would want him to focus on Makayla that he did the right thing. As for Hailey and her trauma, internal wounds are worse that cuts, bruises, or even bullet wounds. They last longer and in fact can last a lifetime. I am not calling you out, in fact the opposite. I am glad you have never had such a wound, but it makes blind to the emotional wounds of other (we should all be lucky enough to be so blind). This situation just feeds on her abandonment issues stemming from her early family life. I disagree with Ms. Sáenz in one small respect. I think that the primary reason for her to go along with the coverup was her fear of loosing Jay, not her respect for Voight. The thought of Jay leaving her or looking at her in a different way would kill her. I also think that was her primary reason for asking him to marry her. Also, don’t think Kim is out of the woods, her trauma will resurface because that’s the way trauma works. Jay pointed that out to Knox, even though it was a lie when he said he was moving and the pictures he found brought his trauma back to the surface. Triggers like that happen all the time, I know from first hand experience as a veteran. Trauma never goes away, you do the work to learn to handle them so they don’t disable you. In essence, you learn how to use copping techniques so you can still have a life.
It’s always a pleasure to read your thoughts and your comments, truly. Thanks for sharing.
These fan pages crack me up. Im guessing you’re a failed screen writer. “Get rid of Voight”
Voight IS this show. Voight is the cop we’d all be if we had the chance.
Maybe that’s the problem with the police, then, Robert. You just articulated it better than I could by making yourself an example of everything that’s wrong with people *and* policing. Thank you for proving my point.
Individuals who say that they wish to be a dirty cop who takes the law into his own hands and is judge, jury, and executioner are deeply disturbed. They have psychological issues that need to be addressed. Anyone who thinks it would be fun, thrilling, or cathartic to be that way has pent up rage that should be addressed by a licensed professional therapist. It’s not a joke, or a criticism, and I am in no way trying to belittle the pain you have inside of you that compels you to feel this way. Please get help sir.