Wednesday, January 20, 2016

REVIEW: 'Chicago P.D.' - Things Get Complicated When Voight's Cellmate Becomes an Informant in 'Looking Out for Stateville'

NBC's Chicago P.D. - Episode 3.12 "Looking Out for Stateville"

Voight convinces Deputy Crowley to bring in his former cellmate as a CI in order to help bring down a big-time cocaine supplier and his local dealers. Antonio is skeptical of this decision. Voight opens up about his time in prison. Burgess makes a difficult decision about her relationship.

Chicago P.D. hasn't always fared well whenever it brings a ton of attention to Voight's stint in prison. It serves as a remainder of just how corrupt and bad Voight was as a character back when he was first introduced in the franchise. "Looking Out for Stateville" even remembers that Antonio was the one to haul Voight away in handcuffs for the crimes he committed. This story with Eddie has forced the show to talk extensively about Voight's time behind bars. It definitely approaches things with a different mentality considering he's the star of this show. But it's also a more nuanced take on the subject as well. The show makes the experience more personal to the character Voight is now. The relationships he formed in prison are starting to affect him on the job. That creates a main story that really is interesting and compelling to watch.

This episode properly explains why the connection between Voight and Eddie is so strong. They were cellmates. That was enough of an explanation for their previous interactions this season. Voight went to Eddie for intel on criminal activities when he was still behind bars but also tried to help him out and support his family once Eddie made parole. But now, Eddie has agreed to be a confidential information for the police department. It's all in the pursuit of money so that he can actually live the life he wants to be living on the outside. However, this hour needed to properly explain just how deep this connection goes between the former cellmates because Eddie is now affecting Voight on the job. By trying to help his friend out, Voight is putting the rest of his unit in danger simply by going after a really dangerous crime lord.

It was tough for Voight when he first arrived in prison. He chose to be a part of the general population. He thought he deserved it given everything that he had done. He wasn't afraid to die. He was just worried about how his son would remember him. Eddie was there for him. He protected Voight when no one else would. Eddie didn't have to do that. Killing a cop would have gotten him so much respect and admiration on the inside. Voight had helped put away a number of people in there as well. But Eddie showed up in the right place at the right time to save Voight's life. So, that's why Voight feels so indebted to Eddie now that Eddie is in the real world again. It forces him to compromise his values and leadership a little bit. It's all in the hope that Eddie will be a better person now that he is free and has a family again.

Of course, that doesn't go according to plan. The unit is willing to follow Voight's orders in the beginning because their target - an infamous cocaine dealer who has been hard to capture - is an alluring prospect. Everything works out in the beginning as well. They make a couple of serious busts that disrupt his operation. They take out the places where the drugs actually are. They seize thousands of dollars in both money and drugs. They also recover a bunch of stolen goods which Burgess and Roman later have to sort through in the hopes of returning them to their rightful owners. But it's not enough for Eddie. He is so focused on the money. That makes him aggressive and more untrustworthy. Voight promised Crowley that he would have no problem turning on Eddie should things turn sideways. That's exactly what happens too.

Eddie becomes so fixated on the money that he's willing to leave everything behind just so he can get a huge payday. He does help the unit take down this big drug lord. It's a pretty simple capture in the end too. But it's more critical that Eddie decides to kidnap the money in an attempt to get away with all of it. He betrays Voight's trust. Fortunately, Voight thought Eddie might be up to something. It's a tad suspicious how Antonio was able to get from the race track to Eddie's stashed truck before Eddie and Voight did. However, it's still a thrilling moment that showcases Voight and Antonio's willingness to work as a team now. It's also very devastating for the family that had gotten so close to Eddie. They weren't related to him at all. Plus, Erin saw just how destructive this family unit actually was for the daughter because the mother refused to see things the way that they were. But things still had a relative happy ending for them. It was a tad expected. But they did get the money that Eddie would have gotten as a CI. So now, they can actually start over. That was a nice gesture on Erin and Voight's part. It also brought a nice beat of closure to this story that was simple but effective.

Elsewhere, Burgess makes a very big decision about her engagement to Ruzek. All season long, she has been worried about him not being as committed to a wedding as she has. He seemed to be much more focused on enjoying the love of the moment instead of actually planning for the future. It showed that maybe he wasn't as serious as he was when he first proposed to her. Burgess choosing to give Ruzek the ring back at the end of the episode always felt like where this story was heading. The two of them just felt like they were in completely different places with this engagement for this entire season. Perhaps this will force both of them to do some serious soul searching in regards to their coupling. It was hot and fun in the beginning. But it wasn't as serious as an engagement needs to be. Burgess gets the strength to end things now because she continues to feel that Ruzek isn't taking this seriously. However, this story has also been somewhat problematic because it has focused so heavily on Burgess. There has been how she sees this engagement and how she perceives that Ruzek sees it. Not a lot of time has actually been spent on Ruzek and how he really feels about this story. Her ending things may force those feelings to come up. But it's still unclear if this is a pairing that the show actually wants to work out in the end or not. 

Some more thoughts:
  • "Looking Out for Stateville" was written by Craig Gore & Tim Walsh and directed by Fred Berner.
  • Platt isn't handling her recent money troubles regarding her wedding to Mouch all that well. She's trying to get her deposit on a ballroom back and it doesn't sound like it's going well. She takes some of that frustration out on Burgess and Roman.
  • When Burgess and Roman return the stolen necklace to the man who talks about the great life he had with his late wife, it's intriguing that Burgess can connect with the man so easily while Roman tries so hard and fails spectacularly.
  • How did Eddie even know that Erin was concerned about what his presence was doing to his "family"? The daughter confided in Erin but it's not as if she would tell Eddie about that. It was largely just to create tension before the unit went out for the big bust.
  • The playful banter between Jay and Erin at the race track was wonderful. Is their dynamic starting to heat up again?
  • It was a bit odd that the episode didn't end with that Voight and Antonio handshake. It instead opted for the Burgess-Ruzek breakup. That worked fine too. But the other moment was more relevant to the hour as a whole.