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Chicago PD - The Thing About Heroes - Review: "It's Not Good Enough" + POLL

And I thought last week’s premiere was intense. Chicago P.D. shows no signs of slowing down in “The Thing About Heroes.” After tackling racism and police brutality, the series takes a stab at terrorism in tonight’s episode. I’m actually really excited about the show’s new direction. While I’ve always enjoyed the #OneChicago universe, it’s such a treat to see issues plaguing the world on television. It adds a sense of realism to the show to see controversial issues being addressed rather than avoided due to the potential ramifications. I again want to applaud the series for not shying away but continuing to enlighten viewers and present both sides of the issues.

If the premiere was Jesse Lee Soffer’s time to shine, the torch was passed this week to Marina Squerciati. From Burgess’s steadfast belief there must be another explanation for the piling evidence against Toma to her emotion to her pleading with Toma not to end his life and her telling his parents their son was a hero, Squerciati absolutely killed it. Her outburst after Toma’s suicide was my favorite scene of hers, just due to the emotional depth Squerciati was able to convey. In past seasons, Burgess usually got an episode or two where she was heavily featured, but with Lindsay’s departure, it looks like Burgess may be at the forefront more often. From what I can tell, it seems like the show is slightly changing its approach to how the characters are featured. The series seems to be moving in the direction of a more fairly balanced ensemble as opposed to just Voight and Lindsay always being front and center. I hope this trend continues because I’ve been wanting the writers to further develop Atwater for the longest time. He’s been with the show since the beginning, but viewers hardly know anything about him. I would also like to see Ruzek get some more screen time as well, beyond all of his relationship woes with Burgess. Speaking of which, we also learn this episode the name Burgess’s “boyfriend.” She is supposedly dating an Assistant U.S. Attorney named Matt Miller. So while my theory of Burgess’s boyfriend being imaginary goes out the window, I’m still not entirely convinced she and Matt Miller are actually together; I still think it’s some sort of ploy to either make Ruzek jealous or get him to take a hint and back off.

The case of the week is extremely timely, especially given everything that happened Sunday in Las Vegas. I was actually expecting NBC to pull the episode as networks have done in the past in the wake of mass shootings. After a van explodes at a Chicago street festival, Frank Toma, a patrol officer, quickly becomes a suspect in the deadly terrorist attack. Why is Toma a suspect, you rhetorically ask? Well, he goes missing after the attack, and nobody can reach him, and he was acting strange at the festival, and oh yeah, he’s Muslim. Granted, the jihadist websites found on his computer and his attendance at a radical mosque using a different name don’t exactly scream innocent, but everyone in Intelligence except Burgess is pretty quick to believe Toma was somehow involved in the attack. Burgess is the only one who attempts to see beyond Toma’s religion and come up with another explanation. Just because he’s Muslim, doesn’t automatically make him a terrorist. Stephen Paddock, the shooter responsible for killing 59 people and injuring over 500 in Las Vegas, had no ties to Islam, yet he is now responsible for the deadliest mass shooting in the United States. Terrorists can come in all shapes and sizes, races and religions, but some of us are quick to persecute an entire religion for the crimes of a few. I’m not saying the evidence doesn’t make him look guilty, but no one in Intelligence except Burgess really seems willing to give Toma the benefit of the doubt.

That just makes it all the more heartbreaking when Toma commits suicide in front of Burgess. He was running his own undercover operation, trying to stop the terrorists, but ended up blaming himself for the deaths of the people at the festival when he wasn’t able to prevent the attack. All Toma wanted to do was make a difference and save lives, but instead he ends up being labeled a terrorist. Woods, under the guise of transparency, issues a statement, announcing Toma’s involvement in the bombing despite the police not having all the facts. Even after the truth about Toma comes to light, Woods refuses to issue a retraction; no one besides the Intelligence Unit will really know that Toma died trying to do the right thing. It’s really sad that the world, despite it being fictional, will still believe the worst about Toma. Despite him helping to stop the second attack from beyond the grave, he will still be the radical Muslim who blew up a van at a Chicago street festival to the city’s residents. This really says something about the society that we live in, where we jump to conclusions based on generalized stereotypes of race, religion, and ethnicity. We have to do better moving forward. I’m not blind to the bad things that are happening all around us, but we have to at least try.

Some other stray thoughts:
- I really liked that we got to see Ruzek, Atwater, and Burgess working the Chicago street festival. It was a nice reminder that even though they’re part of the Intelligence Unit, they still have to do uniform details.
- Although I was initially resistant to like Upton, she’s starting to grow on me. I like that the writers are introducing viewers to her slowly as opposed to trying to shove her down our throats.
- I loved how protective Voight was of Burgess. We know Voight would have gone to hell and back for Lindsay, so it’s great seeing him go to bat for the other people in the unit who aren’t his surrogate daughter.
- Burgess confronting Rose was everything. I loved the line about her saying how he basically handed Toma the gun and pulled the trigger. In all the craziness of the episode, it was nice to see that Toma’s suicide wasn’t just brushed aside, but that the writers tried to give the viewers an idea of his state of mind. I’m really glad we got that scene because it definitely could have ended up on the cutting room floor, but it was so important to see the toll constant bullying can take on a person.

So hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. What's your opinion about the controversial topics being covered? Are you pleased with the new direction the show seems to be taking? What character do you want to see more thoroughly developed?