Even though this week features an incidental doubleheader from Chicago P.D. that was probably only caused by the World Series-centric schedule, there is a common thread between the back-to-back midseason closer episodes and what happens on Fire. All three installments revolve around the brutal consequences that can arise when things go south for our heroes…for both the public and themselves.
Here’s what went down on One Chicago this week.
Chicago Fire Season 5, Episode 5: “I Held Her Hand”
Lt. Matt Casey has always had something of a hero complex about him — that’s why he’s taken on the second job as an alderman, why he essentially ran recon on the nightclub kingpin he did construction work for, and probably why he stepped up to get Dawson first-consideration privileges during Louie’s foster-care arrangement, even when he wasn’t exactly in favor of the situation. Sometimes, it works out for him, like when he saved the father and daughter (not to mention, himself) from certain death by sulphuric acid a couple episodes back. This week, it does not…and those few losses are so much more excruciating for him than any high he might experience from the many wins.
Is his campaign for justice for the victim of the day a sign he’s unwilling to accept that sometimes he can’t save everyone, or is there really something more to what happened during that terrible fire than anyone, even arson investigators, may believe?
This week we’re asked to pick a side between him and Kelly Severide — as far as whose instincts we trust more — and it’s a truly tough call. On the one hand, Casey’s conviction is completely convincing, and Kelly’s judgment hasn’t always been on-point this season (see also: the Travis Brenner character). On the other hand, the evidence is stacking up to suggest the woman who died such a gruesome death was not murdered by her husband and the fire resulting in her unthinkable end was, indeed, an accident and not arson.
It’s a total “to be continued” situation, of course, as we near the midseason finale for this show, but for now we’re left with little else but Casey’s gut feeling — based on a char line at the scene, the woman’s sister’s concern that the husband may have been responsible for her death due to their crumbling marriage, and the husband’s tearlessness at her funeral. Is it enough to prove anything, when Severide’s scooped out surveillance footage proving the husband wasn’t on scene when the fire started and had to literally fight the guy to keep him away from the blaze? Hard to say. But Casey seems pretty sure he’s right on this one, and when it comes to things like this, he usually is.
Meanwhile, Mouch and Sylvie have hit a snag in their plans for authorial significance. Trudy’s old roommate just loves what they’ve written with their book (tentatively titled Sheets on Fire, but also possibly called Flames of Desire) and wants to give them $25,000 to publish. Great news, right? Well, it would be if Sylvie hadn’t accidentally left the manuscript in the copy machine and flagged the CFD’s public relations chief on their misuse of city resources — and the bad rep their stories about sexy time in the squad house would earn the department. The ultimatum he issues them is an iron fist: Publish this and your day jobs are done. What to do, what to do?
Mouch seems like he’s giving up on the penthouse dream of being a bestseller, for now, but Trudy does offer him a consolation prize by having her book club — which includes Otis, of all people — lap their praise on his work. That’s something at least, right?
Sylvie distracts herself by taking on the mantle of a high-school dream girl for a poor kid whose “promposal” for the homecoming dance went terribly awry. Not only has he gone viral for all the wrong reasons — his fall and GI bleed-upchuck routine has gotten a million hits and counting — but he didn’t even get the date! Poor kid. Sylvie knows she’s something of a siren and accompanies him to the dance instead, making all the guys at school (and the girl he originally asked) quite green with envy.
Speaking of teenagers, Herrmann and Boden are both dealing with some youth-revolt issues themselves. House 51 has been repeatedly hit by a graffiti tagger whose calling card, SLVR, doesn’t bear any gang affiliation (or, it seems, purpose). Herrmann’s especially ticked about the insult and vows to get revenge…until he finds out the artist is just some kid trying to impress his friends. Despite his frustration over the repeat vandalism, Herrmann goes full-on dad status with the smart-mouthed kiddo and kills him with some kindness. As a token of solidarity, he gives him a station T-shirt and says he can wear it to earn some cool points instead of running around and ruining city property. Yep, all bark and no bite, that one.
Same goes for Boden, who’s resistant to 21st century-style communication and wants to speak to his stepson, James, via an old-fashioned telephone call. Eventually, he caves and sends him a text (complete with a smiley-face emoji, no less), and James returns the favor by paying him a visit in person, which is as old school a communication device as they come. As James joins the chief, his wife Donna, and their son Terrence for the impromptu visit, Boden seems to ooze a sense of completion he’s been missing in his stepson’s absence all this time. Yay for positive family feels!
Episode grade: B+
NEXT: Antonio’s out…
Chicago P.D. Season 4, Episodes 7 and 8: “300,000 Likes” / “A Shot Heard Round the World”
Although these are two distinguishable episodes, they also blend together as equal reflections on two real-life recent events that shocked the nation. So, let’s talk about them as a single unit, shall we?
In the first installment, Intelligence grapples with a case that takes the Brock Turner fiasco and somehow makes it even worse. A snooty rich boy who’s floated above all consequence for most of his life, thanks to the powerful connections of his hotelier father and family, is accused of raping and murdering a woman. And wouldn’t you know, the only eyewitness in his trial has turned up dead, too.
The witness was a young immigrant from Sudan named Tariq, who crossed every “T” and dotted every “I” when it came to making his new life in the United States an accomplished one. He worked hard, made a family, was liked by many, and put it all in harm’s way for the sake of aiding the justice system in nailing a little snot named Oliver Tuxhorn to the wall for his crimes.
Oliver has the usual array of excuses — “It was consensual,” “Someone else murdered her,” yadda yadda yadda — but his creepy, cocky, and callous demeanor says otherwise. Intelligence first looks to Tariq’s oldest friend Amir, who’d immigrated alongside him but has had much less success acclimating during his stay in the states. When they find a gun in his apartment matching the exact bullet that killed Tariq, the case seems like a lock…until they find proof Amir was on a bus and on his way home, far away from the crime scene at the estimated time of Tariq’s death.
Olinsky, who last week revealed he’s not above taking down former associates when justice is at stake, approaches one of Oliver’s security personnel who just so happens to be a disgraced former police officer. The man, named Runovic, sends Olinsky on a wild goose chase by blaming Oliver’s brother Leo, who just so happens to be a supposedly recovering addict who’s easily pinched during a drug score. Leo swears he had nothing to do with finding out Tariq’s identity and location — the details of which were under investigatory lock and key, by the way, since he was a protected witness. Oliver wanted him to get those details for him, of course, but Leo says he didn’t do it.
So the search continues, and Intelligence is able to recover financial records indicating a major withdrawal was made from an offshore account by Oliver’s sister, Sloane, in the amount of $300,000. That’s enough to put a bounty on someone’s head, they figure, and guess what else? Oliver wrote on his sister’s Facebook page something to the effect of, “Wouldn’t it be great if this post got 300,000 likes?” Easily translated, that’s a code for conspiracy, and they bring her in. Facing the choice between a class 4 felony for obstruction of justice and a class 2 (meaning some serious prison time) for bribery, tampering, and the works, she sings like a bird and admits she paid their hired henchman (Runovic!) to convince the witness to recant his statement…but not to kill him.
That’s when Olinsky does his soft-talk “I got you sucker” routine and gets Runovic to admit he killed poor Tariq, robbing his wife of a husband and his future child of a father. He tries to say it wasn’t murder because he didn’t have intent to kill — he mistook a cell-phone retrieval for a gun grab and overreacted — but Olinsky’s not sympathetic to that defense one bit, especially since Runovic clearly tried to frame poor Amir for the deathly deed.
With suitable evidence to connect him to Tariq’s murder, the State’s Attorney’s Office, spearheaded by Peter Stone, has enough to use Tariq’s grand jury testimony in the trial against Oliver. And this time, his daddy ain’t gonna get him out of that jumpsuit any time soon. It may not be a happy ending, seeing as two people are dead and four other rapes (those were just the ones that got reported) went unpunished, all while this guy kicked up his heels at strip clubs and such. But at least he’s behind bars for the foreseeable future now.
NEXT: “A Shot Heard Round the World”
The second matter of the day hits a little closer to home. Summoning up a bitter memory of the sniper attacks on police officers this summer in Dallas, Texas, P.D. has to resort to a citywide manhunt to find out who’s responsible for methodically targeting their own — two of whom are killed in separate execution-style setups.
Hank Voight and his crew run through the usual investigatory devices to track down those who’ve been running their mouths on social media about slaughtering officers. While the two suspects they pop are both openly aggravated by law enforcement, neither claim responsibility for the incident and they both have confirmable alibis.
Once the second shooting occurs — an incident which includes tampering with the police’s communications devices, baiting them into a closed-off alleyway, and repelling off a building to escape — the team realizes they’re dealing with someone who’s had an inside look into the department itself.
That’s when they narrow it down to Carl Dougherty, a kid who suffers from delusions and whose father was killed in the line of duty while serving alongside Hank and several of his officers. They find out his former home address from his grief-stricken mother — after a search of his apartment reveals a dead roommate and a room full of freakishly intricate police-surveillance details — and corner him to that location. He has taken its current residents (a woman and her young daughter) hostage and has a house full of explosives, just waiting for a bigger police presence to arrive so his impact can be even more devastating than it’s already been. He blames the police for his father’s death and has himself convinced they’ll kill everyone they can, including the hostages he’s about to murder himself.
Hank tries to talk him down, but when that fails, he makes the call for Olinsky to take the sniper shot once he sees him at the house’s window. It’s a grim conclusion to an even bleaker case, but the resolution gives the squad time to grieve their fallen, those recent and long-gone. Tough times for everyone this week.
There are two beacons of positivity arising from the two hours of feels-punching: Antonio Dawson has been recommended for a gig as lead investigator for the State’s Attorney’s Office, which means that yes, he’ll be a regular on Chicago Justice next year. And since Burgess’ new partner, Sorenson, is such an idiot he illegally recorded a tactless video of a traffic stop (because it included a man wearing a skirt and a chastity belt) and shared it on his social media feeds, we’re not sad to see him take his leave of the department once the going gets tough for all in uniform. These two events combined make it an easy-peasy decision for Burgess to go ahead as promised and ascend to Intelligence, and voila: She’s finally, finally where she wants (no, DESERVES) to be. So, there’s that.
On the other hand, something’s brewing in Erin Lindsay’s life now. That mean old dad she never talks about — you know, the biological one who abused her? — is back in town and wants to talk to her for some reason, which cannot be good news.
And with that, P.D. is done ’til next year. We’ve got a couple more bound-to-be-hot episodes of Fire left to close out 2016, but the season is flying by, folks.
Episode grade: B+
- Since Chicago Med is already on a midseason hiatus, it’s nice to see Dr. Halstead and Sharon Goodwin make a quick cameo on the P.D. scene, even if it is for such a somber occasion as this one.
- Also, Trudy on Chicago Fire is always a darn delight, especially when she’s doing the ridiculously sage/supportive/snappy-wife thing with Mouch like the book-club cheer session she set up. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Trudy. is. the. best.
- Dawson encouraging Antonio to join the justice league is a throwaway scene, but what she says is true enough: This is an opportunity for him to get his personal ducks in a row, and what better time than the present?
Chicago MVP of the week: Since there were so few winners in any of this week’s episodes, let’s give this one to Hank. He did lead the unit in making sure scummy Oliver landed where he belongs, and he kept a wise-enough head to rescue Carl’s hostages from grave peril. Props to Erin for her snappy resolve in dealing with Oliver’s disgusting overtures, though.
Steamiest Chicago couple of the week: Given the attention on Antonio’s career transition, it would have been the perfect time for him and Sylvie to accomplish something, but alas. Meanwhile, Dawson and Casey were as cold as ice, despite their blazing occupations, and nothing was going on the Severide/Stella front either. Linstead’s still solid and all, but there was way too much going on for them to show us any of their heat, so we’ll give this week’s honor to Trudy and Mouch. Who else but Trudy would so eagerly engage with their husband writing pervy prose with another woman? Love.