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Chicago PD - Reform - Review: "Life After Lindsay"

“Reform” picks up several months after “Fork in the Road” where it seemed Lindsay’s future in Intelligence was uncertain. With the announcement of Sophia Bush leaving the show, many, myself included, were left to wonder what would happen next. So what does Chicago P.D. look like without its female lead and how are the characters adjusting to her absence?

Halstead, understandably, is having a hard time. The season premiere opens with Halstead looking around a barren apartment, reminiscing about the life and person he has lost. The image of him picking up the forgotten photo of them together nearly broke me, and it was only like a minute in. Jesse Lee Soffer does an incredible job this episode though. From his grief over losing Lindsay to the uncertainty about his future and guilt over accidentally shooting the girl, Soffer hits all the right notes. The ending scene with Halstead giving the mother the little girl's necklace is such a hard one to watch because his guilt is palpable. We all know Halstead is a good guy and would never intentionally hurt anybody, so to see him in so much pain is heartbreaking. Many in the #OneChicago fandom believed Linstead would end up together, but Bush’s departure throws a wrench into that happily ever after. However, the silver lining may be that it gives Soffer a chance to shine and come to the forefront of the series. The character has pretty much played second fiddle to Lindsay throughout four seasons, so while I can't really imagine the series without Lindsay, I am excited to see what Soffer will do this season. Her absence isn't felt too greatly throughout the premiere as the focus swiftly shifts to the big case of the week.

As if he wasn’t going through enough with Lindsay's departure, Halstead also faces a witch hunt after accidentally shooting a little girl while in pursuit of two suspects. Things go from bad to worse when the girl doesn’t make it. To some, like Alderman Price and the police brass, it doesn’t matter that it was an accident and the bullet went through the suspect before hitting the girl. All that seems to matter is making Halstead out as the scapegoat and fixing the department’s public relations problem. Under normal circumstances, Halstead should maybe be stressing over whether disciplinary action would be taken, but he has to deal with accusations of racism on social media and whether or not he could be fired for this. Price literally said he dug through Halstead’s background with a fine tooth comb and could only find the fistfight with a black police officer. Pinning the girl’s death solely on Halstead may appease the public and the police brass, but it’s not the truth. Yes, there is a problem of white police officers shooting black people in this country, but unfairly persecuting one white cop for an accident and holding him entirely responsible for the problem of police brutality is not fair.

Thankfully, Voight continues to be in Halstead’s corner. Whether to defending Halstead to the police brass or striking a deal with Price, Voight has Halstead’s back. What most surprised me this episode was how “OK” Voight seems to be with everything. I sort of expected him to go off the rails in wake of Lindsay’s departure like he did after Justin’s death, but we see a calm and collected man, who’s in therapy. Yes, you read that correctly, Hank Voight is in therapy. Those are certainly words I never thought I’d write. So while he may be able to better deal with his feelings surrounding Lindsay’s departure, he’s still the same sergeant we love. Despite the presence of cameras in the interrogation room and a new independent auditor, we still get to see the firecracker in action from “befriending” Marcus, one of the involved parties, and coming to an understanding with Price about not revealing certain information regarding campaign funds. The most interesting dynamic to watch is him spar with the newly appointed auditor.

One of the other changes we will be seeing this season is the crackdown on the Chicago Police Department, which means new oversight of said department. Reenter Denny Woods, also known as Voight’s former partner who sent an innocent man to prison for 17 years for a crime he didn’t commit from “Grasping for Salvation.” Woods initially comes to Voight wanting to bury the hatchet, but Woods sets things into high gear with his declaration that Voight should more aware of the neighborhood his officers are policing. While I do think it’s important for people with authority to know the area they serve and protect, can Voight really be expected to factor in the possibility of an illegal daycare center when pursuing two suspects in a shootout? It will definitely be worthwhile to watch Voight spar with Woods for a few episodes, and I’m looking forward to how that dynamic will progress and impact how Voight handles his cases.

The other thing that needs to be touched upon is Ruzek drawing his weapon on the father when searching for the suspect. The scene was a brutally honest depiction of what happens in similar scenarios, and I’m assuming there will be backlash on Ruzek in subsequent episodes as someone did record the exchange. It was somewhat tough to watch, especially when the perceived suspect had to announce his every move. Ruzek’s defense was that he was just doing his job, and the murder suspect was non-compliant, going to the extreme of what if the suspect was one of the shooters and he or Atwater got shot. Atwater, on the other hand, acknowledges Ruzek was being belligerent and it is hard for a black man to get on his knees for a white cop. It raises an interesting point of where does political correctness exist as a police officer? I don’t have an answer to this question, but Chicago P.D. seems to be diving in headfirst to address this and other issues surrounding race and police brutality in today’s society. Regardless of political preference, I want to commend Chicago P.D. for tackling this controversial issues. Many shows tend to shy away from the more contentious topics, but it’s so important for them to be addressed due to today’s imperfect world we live in. I’m not saying it will be easy, or even possible, but I do hope this can lead to meaningful conversations about what’s happening in society and how we fix that moving forward.

So what else happened this episode? Well, Antonio is officially back with Intelligence. Apparently, he’s been frustrated working at the State’s Attorney’s office because the cases take too long (also known as Chicago Justice got cancelled). So Voight being the “good” boss he is, offers Antonio his old job back, despite Antonio’s spot having been filled by Burgess. Speaking of Burgess, we also learn she “met” someone during her time off, but I’m not entirely convinced this fictitious boyfriend actually exists. I’ll believe it when I see her alleged significant other in corporeal form, but until then I have not given up on a Burzek reunion. With Linstead is officially sunk, so I have to believe in a better future where at least one ship gets a happy ending. Elsewhere, Upton had a pretty quiet episode for her first one as a series regular. I think the hope is to slowly sneak her in, and viewers will warm up to her in time as we learn more about her. It’s been teased that she’s getting a love interest, but if it’s either Halstead or Ruzek, the fans will have the new EP Rick Eid’s head. With Antonio and Sylvie Brett from Chicago Fire expected to rekindle their cross-showmance, the only character left is really Atwater that won’t end with hate mail for Eid.

So hit the comments below to let me know what you think. What were your thoughts on the season premiere? How heavily was Lindsay’s absence felt? What do you think about the return of Woods? How do you feel about the show tackling such controversial issues? Is Burzek still endgame?