TV Recap: Chicago P.D., “Wrong Side of the Bars”

Written by Allison Lips


Chicago P.D. can be summed up as a show that centers on a rogue cop, Sergeant Hank Voight (Jason Beghe), who supervises the intelligence unit and is intent on corrupting his subordinates. He does it in the name of getting the job down with little regard to whether or not his actions are legal. Either this appeals to you or it doesn’t.

Photo Credit: Matt Dinerstein/NBC
Photo Credit: Matt Dinerstein/NBC

The “Wrong Side of the Bars” is much better than the premiere because the actors have a better command of their characters, but also makes the characters less sympathetic. It’s perfectly understandable that Detective Antonio Dawson (Jon Seda) would be willing to do anything to get his kidnapped son back. However, Sergeant Voight shouldn’t be advising Detective Dawson to stab criminals in the eye, so that they will reveal information about his son’s whereabouts.

The first time Sergeant Voight tells Detective Dawson to disregard the law; Detective Dawson plays it by the book anyway. As they approach the midnight deadline to swap El Pulpo for Diego Dawson, Detective Dawson listens to Sergeant Voight and flagrantly ignores their suspects’ rights. Requests for lawyers are ignored. Chaining up and punching a suspect in custody is considered an acceptable way to get information.

Photo Credit: Matt Dinerstein/NBC
Photo Credit: Matt Dinerstein/NBC

Jail doesn’t scare Sergeant Voight. It’s his way, which admittedly seems to work, or he’d rather be locked up. If this were real life, Sergeant Voight and several members of the intelligence unit would be put on trial for police brutality.

I’m not expecting realism for a TV cop show, but I spent the hour yelling at the TV for Sergeant Voight and Detective Dawson to stop abusing suspects and get a lawyer in the room. They weren’t playing good cop-bad cop. They were playing fist to the face, fist to the face, fist wrapped in chain to the gut, now would you like to provide me with information?

When Sergeant Voight and Detective Dawson aren’t illegally taking out their feelings on people who actually do deserve it- many were wanted for multiple murders anyway, the rest of the Chicago PD are either playing supporting roles in the rescue Diego storyline, dealing with pranks, or coping with their fallen comrade’s death. Outside of the main plot and showing Julia Willhite’s funeral, which showed that not everyone gets to go home safe at the end of the day, the minor storylines were forgettable.

Chicago P.D. may not be the best show ever created, but it’s worth watching one episode just to get a taste. Even if you don’t enjoy it, at least, Law & Order junkies have something new to watch.

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