Welp. We knew we were going to witness Hank Voight journeying back to his dark side in the season 3 finale of Chicago P.D., but we didn’t expect him to take up such permanent residence therein … or to be so justified in doing so. Turns out, there are a few seminal triggers for the good-ish detective, one of which is putting a bullet in his only son’s head.
At first, it seems like the old “like father, like son” idiom might be coming true (again) when it comes to the Voight men because while young Justin had cleaned his act up — with hopes of breaking the cycle from perpetuating on with his own now-1-year-old son — his recent behavior makes it seem like he has again succumbed to the irresistible siren song of trouble.
The body of a 26-year-old single mother named Melissa Wilds turns up in her own trunk — bound with barbed wire, with a slit throat and her fingernails yanked off to remove any skin cell DNA she might have scratched off by fighting her attacker — and it’s not long before dots are connected between her and Justin. He’s already had Hank’s eyebrows raised by sneaking in and out of town without notice during a recent “visit to a friend.”
So, when Melissa is connected to him via phone records, the first impulse is to think that he’s reneging on his new above-the-line lifestyle. But then he’s found in the back of his own trunk, confined by the exact same bindings as Melissa, with a gunshot wound to the head, and barely alive. Now this investigation is personal, and there are no holds that will be barred when it comes to Hank’s fight to find out whoever’s done this to his boy.
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Commander Crowley has already given Hank an unrelated 48-hour window within which to accept a “meritorious” promotion to lieutenant — raising his crew to 50 and his salary to boot — but he knows that what’s really happening here. The department doesn’t trust his loose cannon “old school” modalities, especially not with all the heat the city is getting from Kim Burgess’ high-profile shooting case of Michael Ellis. And they’re right not to have faith in his commitment to the badge, clearly, because two days is plenty of time for Hank to land himself, and the entire Intelligence Unit, in very hot water. Or on a scalding hot stove top burner, as the case may be.
NEXT: There’s no turning back now …
To be fair, Voight does give every member of his squad a stolid “there’s the door” speech before anything happens — with eyes burning holes in Antonio Dawson’s forehead in particular — saying: “Let me be clear. I don’t need condolences. I need commitment from each of you. I’m going to do whatever it takes to find who did this. Anybody not comfortable with that should take the next couple of days off.” Erin reminds him that he’s got a grandbaby to consider now before he takes things too far, but he won’t be swayed.
All the questionable stops are pulled out right away — from putting a cash reward of $90k on the streets (happily accepted by Rev, who’s always good for finding clutch intel) to asking for the ultimate if-and-when favor from Mickey’s poker team to taking his interrogation tactics to a level Gitmo detainees would probably shudder to watch. Crowley might not like this approach to police work, but nobody can deny it’s completely effective.
As the news gets worse on Justin — Dr. Goodwin at Med has now determined he’s brain dead, and Olive’s already ready to pull the plug — Hank’s fury escalates to the point of no return. He pays one last visit to his now-lifeless son, who was simply trying to help Melissa escape the thieving ring she’d gotten herself roped into, and he assures him he “did good.” Justin didn’t waver from his newfound strength of self; he was doing what he thought was right for someone he cared about, so his moral compass was still definitely due north. Hank’s final farewell to the goodness that was his son’s life, though, is a double entendre, as he’s knowingly kissing all his own hard-earned rectitude goodbye, too.
When he finally gets the fateful call from Rev with details on the location of Keith, the man responsible for what’s happened to Justin and Melissa, we already know how this thing is going to end. In the back of her mind, so does Erin, who’s not the least bit surprised to hear that Antonio, Ruzek, Hallstead, Olinsky, and Atwater have been sent to some randomly abandoned house to do their smoke bomb-and-search routine while Hank’s off-site getting his hands dirty in both the metaphorical and literal senses.
This Keith guy runs through the Kübler-Ross model of grappling with his obvious fate, as his end looms large in this dark, rainy, and perfectly isolated location he’s been delivered to: At first he tries denying it was he who shot Justin and assuring Voight that he’s angry at the same guy; then, he moves onto offering half a million dollars to make it right because that’s what Justin would’ve wanted, right?
All Hank wants him to do is dig. Dig, dig, dig. It’s the only word he’s got to offer in response to any of it, in fact. And dig Keith does, with his mouth and his hands. Not that there’s anything he really could say to delay the inevitable, but telling Hank Voight that “go [bleep] yourself” is the last thing you said to his dying/possibly dead son is not going to help this moment get any easier.
Also not helpful? Pleading with Erin, who arrives just before the deed is done but has no interest in playing savior to the guy who has maybe killed her semi-adoptive brother. She’s here to save Hank, and it takes her, oh, five to 10 seconds to figure out that it’s already a lost cause, so now she’s practically family-less again.
She takes off, and the last image we’re left with for the season is of Hank stomping his boot into a mud mound that can only mean one thing: Sergeant Hank Voight is back to bad, for good.
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