Chicago P.D. 10×03 “A Good Man” is the kind of episode you hope a TV show never gives you. Not because it’s badly written — even though it is. Or because it throws away nine years of character development for one of the show’s original characters — which it does. Not even because it takes a wrecking ball to one of the best ships on TV — though of course, it does that too for good measure. No, Chicago P.D. 10×03 “A Good Man” is the kind of episode you hope a TV show never gives you because it’s the kind of episode that feels like a goodbye.
It’s hard to recover from this. It’s hard to go back to a story that more or less makes sense. But, perhaps more importantly, it’s hard to trust Chicago P.D. to ever do right by anyone going forward.
Burzek? Well, they haven’t even gotten back together. But do I trust this show to not just put them through more unnecessary drama for the sake of it? I do not. Makayla? I don’t even trust the show to let her get to high school. Kevin? He’s never getting a love interest or any storyline that isn’t about the fact that he’s a POC. Hailey? The man who promised to be by her side already left her, so why not keep the hits coming? Even new guy Torres is likely to get the stereotypical short end of the stick, starting next week.
Voight, however, might get to shine now. If that isn’t our worst Chicago P.D. nightmare, then I don’t know what is.
where is common sense again?
A lot of things about Jay’s storyline are wrong, but the most egregious is the way this exit storyline went against nine years of character development. Jay Halstead leaving because he was afraid he’d turn into Voight? Because he always wanted to be like Voight and recognized that? What in the actual …did I just watch? Was it the wrong show? Did Chicago P.D. air on a different night? Am I in an alternate reality? Those are the only options that make sense. Either that, or these writers have never actually watched the show they’ve written.
Jay Halstead has been, for nine years, the moral compass of this show. Chicago P.D. cannot rewrite that in three episodes of making Jay act like a mini-Voight. Upstead has been a loving partnership of equals who respect each other. Chicago P.D. cannot ruin that with three episodes of making Jay keep secret after secret from his wife. Whatever happened to get us here doesn’t even matter. The way they chose to end it does. Because make no mistake about it, this is a choice. And it is a really, really bad one.
For Jesse Lee Soffer, who delivered a brilliant performance even while uttering words his character, the one he’s played for almost a decade, never would. And for Tracy Spiridakos, who had to take Hailey to unimaginable places in response to the nonsensical writing. For the legacy of a show that has always had a questionable hero in Voight, but that always provided us, if not a counterbalance, at least a ray of hope. And of course, for the fans who have been here 10 years, who have carried this show, who have invested. Who had hope that this show was really about “strength in family.”
Here we are. And no, it made no sense. In fact, it made so little sense, I’d wager most fanfic writers could have done better. Hopefully, some will. Because as it stands, this isn’t a real exit storyline. This is a slap in the face.
and to do this to Upstead?
Nothing about the Upstead part of this made any sense either. But I guess when you decide you’re going to let a character crash and burn, you don’t care about the ship either? Because the writing made Jay Halstead, the one who wanted no more secrets, lie to his wife again and again and again. Then, he made a decision that affected both of them — without consulting her. Not content with that, he had the nerve to emotionally manipulate her by telling her that she had to let him go. All while throwing the “love of my life” thing at her.
There was no romance in that — just nonsensical writing. He wasn’t asking her to wait — though I guess that’s what the show was trying to give us, something to hold onto? — he was telling her that he’d made the decision, and if she truly loved him, she was just gonna have to find a way to be okay with the fact that he’d quit his job and was moving to Bolivia that very same day. Period. You get one last kiss, and I’m out. You can’t even come with me to the airport.
And of course, the Jay Halstead we know and love would never act like this. He would never treat his wife like anything other than an equal partner in life. He would never use guilt and fear for what he could become to manipulate her. And he would never, ever, leave her in the hands of the man he’s so worried he might turn into. I mean, Voight is bad enough Jay has to put some distance so he doesn’t become like him? But Hailey, she’s fine staying. All good. She’s a big girl; she can take care of herself.
Make it make sense. Oh, wait, that’s impossible. Because this isn’t really Upstead. Not the one we know, not the one we love. And I refuse to remember them like this. Or to even consider a future where they’re not back together in eight months. That’s just the only possible scenario. Happy. Together. Where they belong. I’d say nothing else makes sense, but since this show doesn’t make much sense these days, I’d say this instead: Nothing else is acceptable.
how do we go on?
Do we? I mean, I have to (send alcohol, please), but how do fans? As I said before, even if Jay isn’t your favorite character, even if you don’t mind him leaving or didn’t like Upstead, this is a bad sign for absolutely everyone — other than, perhaps, Voight. So, how does this show go on? And will fans even care enough to find out?
I don’t have the answer, and of course, the answer might indeed be different depending on who your favorite is. But as someone who has, at different times, enjoyed absolutely every character sans Hank Voight, I promise, I’m having a hard time maintaining any kind of emotional investment. I’m just gonna get hurt again, aren’t I?
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Chicago P.D. 10×03 “A Good Man”? Share with us in the comments below.
Chicago P.D. airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on NBC.