Thursday, April 13, 2017

REVIEW: NBC's 'Chicago Justice' and 'Chicago Med' (April 9-13)

Reviews for NBC's Chicago franchise from April 9-13:

NBC's Chicago Justice - Episode 1.08 "Lily's Law"
NBC's Chicago Med - Episode 2.20 "Generation Gap"

Due to the demands of Peak TV, it is becoming more and more difficult for this website to devote the time to full length episodic reviews. And yet, there are still thoughts to be had about the ongoing adventures on a number of series. So I thought it would be good to still write down a couple of brief thoughts about each episode on a weekly basis. Of course, you can still expect full reviews for premieres and finales. If NBC should make screeners available, those episodes would get detailed analysis as well. But for now, this will be the way to continue to provide content for these shows while also being a lighter workload for me.

Chicago Justice - "Lily's Law"
When a female juror on Stone's case against a gangbanger winds up dead, the team believes she was murdered because of her guilty vote. They later learn that she committed suicide - driven to it by the cyber harassment of her former boyfriend. Stone goes after him for murder. Written by Allison Intrieri and directed by Donald Petrie

This season has now done two episodes in a row that focus on the difficulties of the parent-child relationship. Last week it was about killer tendencies. This week it's about emotional abuse. It's largely just a way to keep providing the audience with updates about how bad Nagle's custody situation is at the moment. That's really the only element of serialization this season. It's good but a little repetitive this week. Similarly, it's weird that Stone always has a personal connection to the themes of the episode's stories. He always goes off to have a chat with someone he knows about the issue addressed in each episode. It shows that he's compassionate and caring. He strives to do better when he can't win in the courtroom. It's just starting to become a familiar plot device. Of course, it's also important to see him be passionate about this case after the judge overrules the jury's verdict. That's an interesting moment that is ultimately shortchanged a little bit by time constraints. Overall, it feels like this episode has a number of good and interesting ideas but not enough time to tell them. B-

Chicago Med - "Generation Gap"
Things get personal for Dr. Halstead when his unsupportive father is admitted to the hospital against his wishes. When treating Will's father, Dr. Rhodes reflects on his relationship with his dad. Dr. Charles gets involves when his daughter Robin's strange behavior continues to intensify and Dr. Choi struggles to help a teenage boy who is desperate to control his sexual urges. Dr. Manning feels the impact of being a working mother when a young boy is brought in for neglect. Sarah teaches a group of high school students about the responsibilities of having a child by using fake baby dolls. Written by Shelley Meals & Darin Goldberg and directed by Stephen Cragg

I've complained a lot about Will Halstead across these two seasons. He can often be an annoying and self-righteous character. Plus, the show frequently sees him as a hero when he's doing awful things. All of that still continues in this episode. The love triangle between him, Nina and Natalie is just so frustrating. His dad is in the hospital and he doesn't tell his girlfriend about it! That's bad and very manipulative. And yet, it's also surprising how easy it is to get sucked into the emotion of this main story. It's really a strong story about a parent and child discovering a newfound appreciation for each other. All it took was heart surgery to do so. It's a little weird that Jay is such a minor part of it though. He has no patience for it whatsoever. But the core emotion of Will and his father is strong. The other stories are weird. It's good that Robin will be getting professional help with whatever is wrong with her. However, the show has done such a bland, nonexistent job in showing Dr. Charles' own problems. So, I don't know how well the ultimate reveal will land. Meanwhile, Choi's story plays for seriousness but isn't all that successful with it. And finally, Natalie's story was too predictable about working mom guilt to be all that effective. B