Chicago P.D. 9×18 “New Guard” is setup for the future, and a look at what this show, this unit, could one day be. It starts with Jay Halstead, with the kind of leader he is when he’s allowed to, you know, make his own decisions, and it ends with a possibility of another much-needed point of view being part of the team.
Of course, the future isn’t here yet. We still have some (a lot) of storylines to tie up before we have to figure out what this show can be in the future. But this episode is a very good look at an idea that the show hasn’t truly been able to articulate as clearly before, and it works even better than I expected it to.
Because of Jay. Because of Dante. Because of the moments with the team around them. And because this episode is proof of what I’ve been saying all along, that Chicago P.D. isn’t, and will never be, just Hank Voight. It wasn’t in Season 1, and it certainly isn’t going into Season 10. And that’s a good thing.
So let’s go into the setup, and the parallels, as we discuss Chicago P.D. 9×18 “New Guard”:
IT’S YOUR CALL
Procedurals aren’t exactly subtle, and this show has been setting up Jay Halstead as Hank Voight’s successor for a while. Of course, that doesn’t exactly mean that Voight is going anywhere just yet (to my immense disappointment), but the setup is still there. And it’s clear: Jay is the person that’s going to head this unit one day. And he’s got our — and Voight’s — seal of approval for it.
So when Voight places the decision regarding whether to use Torres or not on Jay, it’s no longer a test. Not for Voight, at least. He already trusts Jay. But it is a test of how Jay will handle leadership, a test of his instincts, so to speak. And the thing is, despite the fact that Jay repeats multiple times this episode that he doesn’t have a read on Dante, the truth is that …he’s got a hunch. He’s had it from the beginning. He wants to trust Dante.
And he does. He’s right, too. Even if it’s not black and white. Because it rarely is for kids like Dante. And that’s a perspective Chicago P.D. desperately needs and a perspective Jay Halstead could benefit from. The kind Hank Voight never had — not till now, when it’s already way too late for him to truly change.
The Voight/Jay and Jay/Dante parallels are very obvious, but so are the the parallels between the two relationships. We’ve followed Jay for a while, so we’re a little more used to him using his words these days, but he’s still not exactly a chatterbox. Never will be. That’s just not who he is. And yet, he’s learned. To communicate. To trust. To open up.
Romantically, yes, but with his team before that. With Voight. And that’s made him a better person, and a better cop.
Dante Torres just …isn’t there. And that doesn’t make him a bad person, and it certainly doesn’t make him wrong for Intelligence. In fact, it makes him pretty interesting, because there’s somewhere to go. And there’s an established relationship with Jay that could truly grow, particularly if we get to keep him. Which, at this point …I’m not holding my breath over. This show has promised and promised and promised in that regard (See Rojas, see Cooper), and still not delivered. But the dynamics established in this episode, and the parallels …well, they bode well for a possible future.
I’d prefer that future were sans Voight — I’ve been very clear about that — but hey, at this point, I will just take the addition. Small steps and all.
Things I think I think:
- A guy who doesn’t follow the rules does seem like he’ll fit in with Intelligence, right?
- Hailey calling Jay out was perfection. He is STILL not an open book, and if anyone can point it out, it’s wifey.
- This whole Voight as a super trustworthy guy shtick is getting old.
- Look at me, agreeing with Voight, but putting Jay in danger by not telling him that the rookie could have been dirty is LOW.
- But Jay not just assuming says a lot about him.
- Jay is really, really good at this mentoring thing. It can’t be easy to think about the job WHILE explaining the job.
- Too much Anna, okay? Too much.
- As much as I kinda dig the new Voight/Halstead dynamics, I’m still not very keen on how we got here.
- Jay having a blind side isn’t inherently a bad thing, and Jay standing in front of Dante trying to process that blind side certainly isn’t. It’s the kind of growth Voight was never allowed.
- I wanted to like Torres, and the last scene clinched it, but they were playing to the stereotype a little too much before that moment. This is one of the things that happens when you add diversity. If you’re gonna make it real …it cannot just be bringing in an actor and a backstory no one on the writing team understands. Food for thought for if (hopefully when) Dante Torres comes back.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Chicago P.D. 9×18 “New Guard”? Share with us in the comments below!