Chicago P.D. 10×01 “Let it Bleed” is the beginning of the end for the show as we knew it, the show with Jay Halstead to counterbalance Hank Voight, and whatever you might think about the character of Jay Halstead – a Voight without a counterbalance sure looks like a really, really bad thing, particularly after an episode that shows him more unstable than ever.
But the way the show seems to be writing off Jay is suspect at best, too. Jay Halstead, the same one we saw punch Voight in the face last year, is now …covering for him. Following his lead. Barely pushing back on a Voight that is very much off the rails. The whole thing is so out of character that even Hailey, Jay’s wife and partner, spends the entirety of the episode being …well, us, and basically asking not just WTF is up with Voight, but WTF is up with Jay.
There is a good possibility to come out of this – perhaps the point is for Jay to finally realize that, as he and Hailey discuss at one point, it is truly not his responsibility to change Voight. It is not his responsibility to make him better, or keep him in line, out of jail or even …alive. Voight will self-destruct if he wants to, and Jay’s entire life cannot be about preventing that. If this is indeed where the show is going, then Jay might choose to move on and put himself first.
Of course, there’s still the matter of him choosing to put himself first and then leaving Hailey, his wife, the love of his life, in the lion’s den, but if that’s Hailey’s choice and something Jay wants to respect, this could still more or less work. The problem is, this show has failed on the follow-through again and again, so we aren’t exactly sure we can trust them.
So let us go into the Voight, the Upstead and the Jay as we discuss Chicago P.D. 10×01 “Let It Bleed”:
THIS JOB IS WHAT I HAVE
The whole “tortured hero” reframing the show is trying to do with Voight doesn’t really work for anyone who knows him, and in Season 10, it’s much too late to attempt to paint him that way, no matter how tight his shirts have gotten. Voight is – has always been, really – an antihero at best, a straight-up villain at worst. The show could have made do with that, leaned into it …instead, it tried to balance him out with Jay. But now Jay is leaving and Voight, well, he’s not exactly changing.
So are we in the Voight as a villain era? It looks like it, and though this is exactly what I’ve been asking of the character, the real question now becomes …is the show interesting enough while focused on just him? I’m not sure what the answer is, as we haven’t seen it yet, but my gut answer is no.
No, Voight is not interesting enough by himself. And though the team will also still have Hailey, Kim, Adam and Kevin, plus a new addition in Dante, there’s nothing about the writing that makes me think they know what to do with those characters to bring a balance to the unit, develop the sense of family and make us invest in the relationships outside the precinct. Maybe they can surprise me, but I’m not too hopeful.
EACH OTHER’S KEEPERS
Voight tells Jay and Hailey at one point in this episode that they’re not his keepers (true) or each other’s, but he’s wrong on the last part of that, and not truly in the way he thinks. Of course, Jay is not responsible for Hailey’s choices or Hailey responsible for Jay, but marriage is, in many ways, about being each other’s keepers. About being each other’s port in a storm. The person we love, the one we choose, doesn’t have to make us better or give us perspective or help us navigate the world, but the good relationships, the ones that last, typically have two people that do just that for each other.
It’s no surprise that Voight doesn’t understand that, but in truth, that’s one of the biggest issues with writing Jay Halstead off. That they’re separating Upstead, and they’re doing it in a way that makes no sense – because no way would make sense considering what they’ve established. Hailey is Jay’s safe place. Jay is Hailey’s safe place. That’s that. So, why is Jay even leaving again? What reason would be bigger than his wife?
The show might come up with one, and it might make some sense, as I’ve laid out before. But there’s always going to be this thought in the back of fans’ minds that says no, this wasn’t the most in-character thing Jay Halstead could have done. This is just doing the best with what the show has, and that’s always a hard pill to swallow – particularly considering the did it really have to end this way elephant in the room.
YOU’RE GONNA LOSE THEM BOTH
Hailey’s warning to Voight about how he’s dragging Jay and the unit through the mud and that he’s going to lose them both will probably turn prophetic, but can we request it turns out to be 100% true? How many times should Voight have lost this unit? Can he actually lose it this time? We’re tired here.
But Jay is leaving, there’s no escaping that. And that knowledge makes this episode harder to stomach, even as a possible setup. Because we’re not just losing the balance of the show, we’re losing a possible mentor for Dante, Hailey’s husband, a ship we loved, and a friend to all. Strength in family sounds good, but how do you go on when part of that family is missing? Chicago P.D. is surely going to try to give us an answer, we just hope it’s one that in the end, stays true (as much as possible) to the man Jay Halstead has been for nine seasons.
A good man. A kind one. A loving husband. A good friend who will go out on a limb for those he cares about. And the moral compass of this show for nine seasons. How does Chicago P.D. move on from that?
Things I think I think:
- Was I like …supposed to feel bad for Voight at the beginning? Cause I gotta say, show, you FAILED.
- Oh joy, Jay lying for Voight.
- WILL HALSTEAD IS ON PD.
- And he’s not …talking to his brother.
- Makes sense (NOT). Call your brother, Will. Call your brother, Jay.
- The new Chief is suspect, period.
- You can like or dislike characters, I certainly dislike Voight, but a lot of the discourse surrounding Dante and why people don’t like him is very problematic. Do better, fandom.
- Man, what happened with Kim and Adam? WHAT? Are they living together? Are they a couple? What happened?!
- Hailey is the only one making sense this hour.
- Jay/Hailey/Torres is the trio we deserved.
- IF UPSTEAD IS ALWAYS GOOD THEN WHY ARE WE HERE?
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Chicago P.D. 10×01 “Let It Bleed”? Share with us in the comments below!
Chicago P.D. airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on NBC.
I think Voight is very interesting. I know we disagree on this point. I see an irony in Hailey’s conversation with Voight. I think both of them are in denial. I don’t think either of them are OK at the moment. Voight is dealing with a loss he feels responsible for by lashing out and by keeping the streets clean “so Anna’s death means something.” Hailey regrets killing Anna and unfortunately she is dealing with it as she always deals with her issues, she is burying the problem and not talking about it with anyone even Jay. My guess, and it is only a guess, is Hailey and Voight will end up coming together to work out their guilt over Anna’s death. It’s the only thing that makes sense if Hailey stays in Intelligence and Jay leaves for another unit. I am hoping Jay gets promoted and heads up another unit. Hailey, as his wife, could not work in that unit. Their marriage continues offscreen, it won’t feel the same, but at least Upstead would get a happy ending.
I was glad Dante was added to the cast. I love the fact that in comparison to Ruzek, the only other member of Intelligence pulled straight from the academy, he is his polar opposite personality wise. Ruzek never shut up, Dante rarely speaks. Ruzek was ready, shoot aim. Dante already seems to be calm cool and collected. This also gives the show a chance to slowly build his character over the course of the season.
Not sure what to think of the new chief. Crowley, Brennan and Kelton were adversarial towards Voight in different ways. Crawford was a push over. Miller was somewhere in between, but more of a friend than a foe. Is he going to be friend or foe? He clearly isn’t a “by the book commander.”
I hate Jesse is leaving the show and i hope he is moving on to bigger and better things,yes the show won’t be the same but it has to go on,they shouldn’t have killed Anna off,i think she would have settled Voight down,but i think she’s in hiding with her son and he knows it,but we’ll see.I’m glad the new guy is coming aboard and we need to give him a chance.I’ll watch no matter what.
I thought the show was great as usual
I agree with the writer about so many things mentioned. I hate to see Vought hurt people and break the law. Hallstead seems to be the only balanced, honest, and adult in the show. ( I realize the writers are responsible for this). I am sorry Jay is leaving, maybe bring back Antonio and have his addiction be under control.
It is up to the writers.
My comment won’t be a popular one I’m sure but here goes. The show was always one of my favorites, last season I stopped watching, I got tired of all the hooking up that went on. It’s gotten so predictable, Jay/Erin, Jay/Hailey, Kim with…. well everyone. I remember back when the show was worth watching, detective AL told Kim she was a “badge bunny” He of course was right. Really miss that character on the show. I decided to give it one more shot and watch this episode, with Jay leaving the show it has become somewhat interesting again. Having a married couple as police partners and Kim & Adam’s constant drama is all a bit to much! Let’s get back to the real police work.
Hayley was just awful this episode, I thought. I agree with the above poster that she is burying her fault (again!) this time with Anna’s death. But her completely breaking EVERY rule in the book AND screwing up in doing so almost got two people killed. That was 100% her fault. Most people would be kicked downstairs after such a disaster.