The angst is real, and it's going to be an interesting season.
Essentially, what we got from Chicago PD Season 10 Episode 1 was a bit of insight into where Voight's head is after losing Anna, the trio of Voight, Halstead, and Hailey possibly settling some of the issues that loom over them, and the unit rising in the ranks.
The addition of Chief O'Neil and his willingness to give Voight a long leash feels like another turning point in this series and the start of a new era, which is timely for kicking off the series' momentous tenth season.
One of the biggest questions that fans have as we head into this new season, is how the series will address Jesse Lee Soffer's impending departure.
By the end of the hour, there's a sinking, ominous tone that feels nervewracking, particularly for Halstead fans.
The series positioned Halstead as Voight's second, and the hour showed him giving Voight a great deal of leeway and covering his tracks, falling back on his typical role of questioning Voight at every turn.
And because of that, Halstead and Hailey's conversations often felt like foreshadowing, especially when she warned Halstead about getting dragged into the dark with Voight and changing.
It's as if the hour is trying to tease the possibility of Halstead changing too much, letting his guard down with Voight in a way that conflicts with how he usually operates. Perhaps it is leading him over a cliff, possibly costing him his professional life in some capacity or maybe even his actual life.
One can't even fathom the response if they head in that direction, yet it's still something hard to shake, isn't it?
But one moment between the married couple also sparks the possibility of a beginning to an end. It felt like a weird distance between the two when they asked each other if they were good -- it gave off the notion that maybe they weren't and something had changed between them.
We have all this space to speculate about what could happen between now and presumably the midseason finale that sets up Halstead's abrupt exit. And it's a tough one because everything feels potentially out of left field. But who knows?
Halstead: We're good, right?
Hailey: Yeah, of course, right?
Halstead: Yeah, of course.
At the root of it all is Halstead's dynamics with Voight and with Hailey. Everything about Halstead inevitably goes back to or revolves around those relationships, so however he leaves feels as if it'll connect to them too.
But the hour set up some things in that regard, namely, Hailey further stepping into Halstead's place regarding who she is and what she represents for Voight and the unit. It felt like she and Halstead switched places.
Hailey spent the entire hour second-guessing Voight at every conceivable turn and bucking against every order he gave. Despite her attempts to prevent issues, she inadvertently caused the sting with Enzo to go pear-shaped.
It was challenging to watch Voight steadfast in taking the risks he was taking while clearly battling his own issues regarding Anna's death, and Hailey micromanaging and questioning everything along the way.
They were quite a tumultuous pair in the field, and it's a wonder the rest of the unit wasn't irked by the constant power battle that was taking place the entire time. Perhaps they're used to it by now because it's been a constant thing.
It was hard enough that Voight switched things up on them with the heroin case when they were supposed to be working on a carjacking.
Both Hailey and Voight were bringing their baggage into the job, and it loomed over every move made throughout the hour.
The opening moments were rough. We often don't have access to Voight's mind or feelings within the series. But via the montage and the voiceovers, both his and Anna's, it was easy to see that Voight was in quite a state.
We probably haven't seen him this torn up since Olinsky's death.
It reminded him how close he had gotten to Anna and what she represented to him. He's a man who doesn't have anything or anyone left, only the job. But he let Anna in, something he didn't anticipate, and like everyone else that he allowed past all of his barriers and into his heart, she died brutally.
And he knows that he's at the center of her death, which only adds to the guilt and pain eating away at him. His drinking habits were concerning, but his dogged patrol of Escano's neighborhood to keep the area drug-free was relentless and unsustainable.
Yet, it was understandable. After everything that transpired, Voight couldn't let Anna's death be in vain, so his fixation on Los Temidos' territory made sense. In his mind, it was the least he could do to honor her, especially when Anna would otherwise be a footnote in a file while the unit got all the glory and recognition for their historical bust.
Understandably, people were concerned about Voight. However, Voight's feelings and position were more sympathetic once we learned that it had only been two weeks since Anna's death.
If it were two months, then maybe Hailey's extreme feelings on the issue, Trudy's concern about Voight's fixation and dodging the new chief, or even the team's frustration that Voight kept switching up their cases would feel more grounded.
But two weeks? Voight was still popping stitches from his injury. Hell, if the concerns were that great, he arguably shouldn't have still been on the job and took some time. I couldn't fault the man for still stewing in his feelings and grief.
Not everyone compartmentalizes in the same way or timeframe or can put things behind them.
Of course, the rest of the world, or the crime in the city, doesn't stop so that Voight can fixate and mourn. We don't know what previous cases Voight ignored or put on the back burner in that time frame, but there was nothing strange about him picking up the Enzo case.
He was there and tried to save a tender-aged victim who overdosed. They would've taken that case on instead of kicking it to Narcotics. It would've become personal even if it had no connection to that neighborhood.
Luca mistaking heroin for sugar and dying such a dreadful death was heartbreaking, and his parents were too strung out to be of any use. Maybe it didn't fit the criteria of their usual cases because of the small number of drugs that Enzo was dealing, but it would've been a hard case to pass up.
Voight had that in with Davey, who was easy fodder for Voight to use. The Enzo angle was tough; the man was off his rocker. Every move he made was stressful because someone that far gone in the head can be unpredictable.
It's been two weeks. Voight won't even look at me. I don't think he's okay.Hailey
Part of Enzo's paranoid, crazy shtick was used to justify reintroducing Torres, and that was relatively weak. Apparently, Enzo was suspicious of all white people because he thought they were cops.
Other than the pesky reminder of the lack of racial diversity in the unit, it still didn't make any sense why they didn't use Atwater. Sparing you all the casual, all-in-good-fun jokes about our boy's (former) status as the "token minority" of the team, he still was on the basketball court as backup, so why didn't they use him in the first place?
Nevertheless, it brought Dante Torres back into our lives, so a girl isn't going to complain too much about the logistics of how he got there. Halstead's fond smile when he walked into that gym and saw Torres sparring was a total mood.
The two of them paired together have endless potential, and it's something worth looking forward to, even if it'll be short-lived when Halstead is gone.
Torres' undercover gig as Marco felt eerily similar to the first time he had to go under. Instead of Halstead leading the charge in wanting to pull him out before he was made or injured, Hailey was at the forefront of that.
Hailey's laundry list of concerns throughout the hour came from a genuine place but felt so erratic.
As much as she was giving off the calm, collected vibe of someone who had moved on from shooting Anna and wanted everyone else to get in gear, she was on the opposite end of the spectrum of Voight.
Her attempts to rein Voight in and be overly cautious jeopardized the risky operation. Honestly, Voight and Hailey were both hot messes and doing the most in their own ways, but only one of them lacked self-awareness.
If Voight put them at risk with his off-the-wall method of handling Enzo and this case, Hailey matched him by defying and questioning everything while in the field and disregarding orders. You can't have that in the field; otherwise, it's too confusing and results in chaos.
And it got pretty chaotic after the gate squeaking resulted in Enzo flipping out, shooting wildly, and going on the run. But it was the type of adrenaline-fueled drama that this series does well.
The intensity was on as Enzo shot wildly, and the unit had to figure out if he was holding people hostage or not. Voight putting himself at risk was on brand for Voight since he's operating as if he has nothing to lose, including his life.
But it's Voight. Even when he seems at his most erratic or unhinged, there's a controlled element to it. And while it was evident that he had not been okay despite what he claimed, it also didn't feel like he had lost complete control. Voight was doing Voight sh*t; it's not out of the norm.
The hour set Voight and Hailey up as foils, and it's something that will likely progress as the season unfolds.
But it also feels like a potential ending of a part of the trio's relationship that bogged down Chicago P.D Season 9.
Regardless of how you feel about any of these characters, Voight's speech about all of them being accountable for their actions and not being each other's keeper was something that needed to be addressed. It was a long overdue acknowledgment of a part of their dynamic that needed to be course-corrected.
For as much as Hailey had reason to be worried about Voight taking them off the deep end, most of her actions were rooted in projection and her own guilt about Anna's death.
She was fixated on Voight supposedly not looking at her in two weeks almost as much as Voight was fixated on keeping drugs out of one neighborhood.
Hailey has always had some interesting dynamics with men in this series, but with Voight specifically, there's the apparent paternal element. The idea that Voight couldn't even look at her struck something in her, and she couldn't let it go. And nothing Halstead could say could compensate for that.
So, they needed to have it out. Hailey got her issues off her chest. As their leader, Voight does have the power to drag them into anything, and it affects all of them. But Voight got to put his foot down about how their current dynamic on the team wasn't working.
It's one thing to talk about Voight losing the unit because of his actions, but it's telling when Hailey separated Jay from the team when expressing herself to Voight. It signifies the personal element spilling into their job too much.
Voight: Look, we're going to talk, and we're only going to do this once. We're not going to talk about it again. I'm okay. I'm fine. No, I am okay. I'm always going to be okay. But Hailey, I can look you in the eye. Anna's death was my fault, mine alone. Hailey: You don't believe that.
Voight: You are not my keeper. And you're not each other's. Look, I'm making choices you don't like, that is on me. He's making choices you don't like, that is on him, him alone. Now we gotta be done with all of this, and now. It ever shows up on the job again, the three of us, we're not working together anymore, understood? It's that simple.
Voight shouldn't be at the center of Hailey and Halstead's relationship all of the time, and they shouldn't be this separate faction he constantly has to deal with or answer to in the field. Enough!
They're all adults, responsible for their own actions. The shifting blame and so much personal stuff have to ease up. Otherwise, they can't function or work properly. It has interfered with the job.
It's neither Hailey nor Halstead's job to micromanage their boss, for better and worse. And Hailey and Halstead's focus on one another can often consume them.
Whether or not they can maintain all of this and move forward remains to be seen. But that overdue conversation is a start.
It also feels like the series addresses some criticism about Voight having his hands tied. And that's a choice, especially when one considers why some aspects of the series shifted regarding Voight and what he represented in modern-day policing.
He got physical with Davey a bit, not stepping so far over the line that it raised flags like he may have done in the earlier years, but he was manipulative and likely paid Davey off-book.
And now, we have this new chief added to the mix. Voight and O'Neil have a history, and it sounds like O'Neil wasn't that far off from Voight and was an unexpected choice for this position.
He wasted no time telling Voight he'd give him a long leash, more money, the Ruzek-Special with Torres promotion to the unit, and free reign over whatever cases he wanted.
Voight: This the part where you tell me you're different than the rest?
O'Neil: Yeah. I'll give you a long leash. More cash. Get that kid Torres that you like signed up here permanent. You can handpick your cases.
O'Neil: But you have to give up the block now. Los Temidos, that case, Avalos, you gotta let that go now. I gave you two weeks. I can't give you more.
Voight: I didn't realize you were being so generous.
O'Niel: I got Anna Avalos' payment pushed through the red tape. Over half a million is going to her son, Rafa, in Iowa, I know you were trying to do that, it's done now. This whole city is going to hell. Let's get back to saving it.
Not only does it sound too good to be true, and O'Neil feels shady because of all of this, but it's a bit of a reset for the series and Voight.
He has all this power again to do what he desires, and it's at a critical time when the job is the only thing he feels he has left. Voight got the green light to be Voight with little consequence.
The question is, what does he do with that now? Does he fully revert to the Voight we first knew, or can we anticipate some new and improved version of that person? Is Voight 3.0 a combination of OG Voight and Voight 2.0?
And how will that affect how the rest of the unit operates now? They got the recognition and accolades from that bust, putting them in a new, higher stratosphere. They're top dogs now, so what do they all do with this newfound power?
Hailey: Torres was going in blind and unarmed and it looked like he was going to be jacked.
Voight: And that's your call to make?
Hailey: No, it's not. But you haven't been making many calls in the last two weeks. You're on a one man mission to patrol one block in this city. I get it, I do, but Voight, you can barely look at me. I know you blame me for Anna's death, and I know that you're not okay. You're dragging this unit, and you're dragging Jay through the mud with you, and you're going to lose them both. So yeah, I made a call.
Voight: You're done? You feel better?
We have new blood, and he's unlike anyone they've had in the unit.
We have boundaries drawn among Voight, Halstead, and Hailey regarding their dynamic, with the threat of them no longer working together if crossed.
The unit's big win could open up doors for all of their careers (something that will hopefully get explored with Atwater, Ruzek, and Burgess), and the new chief has uncuffed Voight.
While the hour felt more understated than expected, it set up some new territory to explore. I'm unsure where the ride will take us.
- Everyone looked so good in their blues! I love it when they dress up. Also, Burgess was rocking the hell out of those shades!
- Ruzek was so proud of himself for not being the latest, which was amusing.
- The casual team moments and interactions are the quality content that we deserve. It almost made up for the limited Burgess, Ruzek, and Kevin. Hopefully, this isn't a sign of them sidelining Kevin and so forth again, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt for now.
- I will never tire of Benjamin Levy Aguilar in any kind of fight mode. Or busting down doors like a badass. I will never tire of him period. Unapologetic fangirl of the actor and character.
- Torres looked good in that white t-shirt, but our boy does need a more expansive wardrobe.
- As someone who once dealt with a squirrel infestation, I, too, have wondered if squirrels were fighting or screwing.
- It wouldn't have killed them to give us literally anhy followup on that Burzek home situation. Bloody hell!
- Tender-age cases will always get a person right in the feelings.
- I'm so glad that Anna's son got the money she earned from going undercover. There's some peace in that.
- I can't believe we got a Will appearance, but it wasn't with Jay. Do the Halstead brothers even talk anymore?
- Trudy Platt is the best.
Over to you, Chicago PD Fanatics.
What are your thoughts on the new chief? What do you make of Upstead and Voight's dynamics? Do you have any theories on how they're writing out Halstead? Hit the comments.
You can watch Chicago PD online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.