Sergeant Hank Voight is a man embedded in two worlds: good cop and bad cop (as the promotions like to point out).
The initial impressions he gave off were those of the latter, as he did whatever he possibly could to Casey in Chicago Fire to get his son out from under his drunk driving accident.
Chicago PD Season 1 Episode 1 attempted to change this, albeit slowly, as there are still very clear indications that Voight could still be using his status to advantage, but there are times where it's clear that Voight is looking out for his city.
Voight’s dealing with D’Anthony are proof enough that he wants to clean up his city, to help the people who want to help themselves. He’s willing to bring D’Anthony out of scary situation, feed him and make sure he gets the help he needs to better his life.
Aside from the opening scene - when Voight forcibly made a man drive himself out of the city and threatened him with the bottom of a river - there was very little reference aside from exchanges of money and small verbal cues about Voight’s darker areas, so his “bad cop” persona was mostly left to his dealings with police bureaucracy.
Voight’s greater moments of darkness are when his people are put in the line of fire for his past.
The moment when petty rivalry and bureaucracy were the reason Willhite is gunned down right next to Antonio was the the moment when everything begins clicking for the show.
It that scene, the series found its heart and soul in much the same way Chicago Fire did: it’s not necessarily about the job or making the arrest, but the people you’re surrounding yourself with. Voight’s team, they all want to be there, and all of them are ready and willing to stand side by side with each other.
What they’ve chosen for themselves is not easy - and it’s incredibly dangerous. The losses are paid in blood and death and the greatest victims of those paid debts are the families that are left behind.
Voight, for all of past mistakes and transgressions, understands these debts innately. He understands the type of job they’re doing and he wants his team completely focused on the job. Anything that requires shades of grey begins and ends with him. It protects their unit and it protects them personally. When that trust is broken is when everything breaks apart and losses are paid.
Now with Antonio’s son in the hands of El Pulpo’s hitmen, things are really going to heat up.
With the Chicago brand, NBC and Dick Wolf have managed to place a new spin on the standard procedural. It’s not about the process of capturing the bad guys or putting out the fires. It’s about the people in these jobs, how they do them and the effects it places on them.
There’s potential here to be one of the season’s best crime dramas if done properly, and Chicago PD is off to a remarkably strong start.
What did you think of Chicago PD’s premiere? Grade it!