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Chicago PD - Protect and Serve - Review

I'm catching us up PD fans! Season 8 has been an intense ride full of opportunities for growth within Intelligence and this episode did not hold back.

Protect and Serve was powerful and thought-provoking. An episode that was as much about the audience's introspection as it was about the characters involved. PD didn't set out to answer the questions they raised, but chose instead to allow their storytelling to elicit those discussions. So let's discuss.

The Case

Atwater and Ruzek were assigned by Voight and Miller to arrest Officer Dave Wheelan for murdering Jeff Duncan, a young Black man, while on duty. The evidence against Wheelan was irrefutable. But that didn't stop him from trying to convince Adam and Kevin that he was innocent. He also demanded several accomodations during and after his arrest and then accused Atwater of manipulating footage. The racism on top of the lack of accountability and self-awareness was maddening. And when he offered himself up to T.J. in the end, it was upsetting that he even had the privilege of that choice over facing the consequences for what he did.

Uncompromising Loyalty & Lack of Trust

Two partners with two very different perspectives. Atwater is a Black man in a job that notoriously protects a culture of prejudice which is taken into the field and results in the murder of innocent Black lives every day. Not to mention, he's been harassed and retaliated against by fellow officers for reporting a racist white cop not that long ago. A lack of trust is valid and warranted. Ruzek's entire identity has been built around his job. He was raised by a cop. Most of the people close to him are cops. He lives and breathes this life, even to his own detriment. So an uncompromising loyalty to the police force also feels like a fair assessment.

All of that being said, points were made when Kevin called Adam out for trying to keep him calm and insisted that he ignore Wheelan's tirade. While I don't believe that Adam holds all of the answers, he can still make the choice to speak up. To talk about it with his friend. He can be angry that this reflects poorly on him. He can take a moment to realize that this goes beyond his perception of what a good cop or bad cop looks like on paper. I'm aware that these issues are complicated and they can take time to fix, but it can start with some self-reflection. Adam has had a lot of conflict this season where his stance remains rigid. I can't help but feel like he's heading for some kind of wake-up call.

Some Extra Thoughts

*It's always refreshing for me to see Miller & Voight's professional relationship continue to develop on screen. Even more now that they're reciprocating this trust in one another. And I think Hank recognizing that Sam is affected by the weight of these issues in a tangible way will only reinforce a stronger alliance between them.

*Cleveland Berto made his debut as Officer Andre Cooper this episode. Although we were only given a glimpse of him as Wheelan's trainee, we know he's going to be sticking around for a while. I'm excited to see what he's going to bring to the back half of the season and how his personal experiences will shape his character and path moving forward.

*Sadly, this was Eriq La Salle's final episode as directing producer. But wow, did he certainly leave us with one incredible farewell! The opening scene was brilliantly shot and orchestrated. The crane work during Wheelan's arrest, as well as everything shot in the warehouse really gave a unique perspective to the narrative being told. The entire episode had me on the edge of my seat and a major reason for that was how Eriq chose to tell this story.

What were your thoughts on Protect and Serve? Let me know in the comments below!

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