HomeTelevisionChicago PD Season 9 Episode 9 Review: A Way Out

Chicago PD Season 9 Episode 9 Review: A Way Out


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And Hailey, Halstead, and yes, Voight, live to see another day!

With Chicago PD Season 9 Episode 9, we can assume that they put (most of) the Roy storyline to bed.

And all those fans of Upstead are probably over the moon right now because the couple fell into bed after a shocking elopement.

Anwering North  - Chicago PD Season 9 Episode 9

The hour was objectively a midseason finale that kept in line with wrapping up the most significant arc of the first half of the season.

And yet, with half the season under our belts, and the events of this installment, I’m compelled to split the review in half and save the more critical components for the second half.

After they devoted so much to this arc and had us wondering how Jay, Hailey, and Voight could fight their way out of the corner the writers wrote them in, the solution to their North problem was surprisingly anticlimactic and straightforward.

However, it did lead to some standout scenes for Jay, whether it was with Voight, Hailey, or North.

Forming a Strategy - Chicago PD

Throughout this, Halstead’s level of fury with Voight reached a height we’ve never seen before, so it made him a wildcard when facing an ultimatum.

We know that Halstead’s love for Hailey can and does often outweigh anything else.

Voight was a pain in his side, and he loathed the man for what he did. He has all but called the man a cancer, so there was a genuine question of whether or not he’d jump at a chance to get rid of Voight for good.

North gave Halstead 24 hours to decide before he made his moves. With that much advance notice along with the secret meetings, if anything, it felt like North was showing his hand and asking anyone to call his bluff.

Voight's Last Hurrah?  - Chicago PD Season 9 Episode 9

It’s fascinating when law enforcement uses the same tactics, such as Prisoner’s Dilemma, among other things against their own of whom they’re investigating.

Halstead could barely mull over the pressure cooker he was in with North before he caught a case on his way to one.

Did we ever find out what happened to the case that Voight texting him about before Halstead heard those gunshots?

The cases where one of them responds on the scene to something while off duty are among the most exciting ones because of how high the stakes are. They are virtual unknowns, and the danger is palpable.

A Future in the Balance  - Chicago PD Season 9 Episode 9

It was intense as Halstead approached the bus with others fleeing and had to clear it as best as he could while outnumbered, with no backup and no command of the situation.

Buses are so boxed in that any number of things could’ve transpired. And with everyone, including the perpetrators, fleeing, Halstead was more exposed than usual.

It was heartbreaking when the bus driver, Joy, damn near died in his arms. Joy died following protocol and trying to help a young woman she thought was a victim of sex trafficking.

The shift to Willa as an active participant in drug trafficking was an unexpected but cool turn of events.

Her devotion to Nicky to her detriment almost cost her life. It also seemed like another case to fit the personal arc.

Willa thought Nicky was her family, but if he cared about her at all, he never would’ve recruited her into something that jeopardized her in that way.

And there was evidence that he and Mateo had done the same thing to another young woman they gutted like a fish for the drugs.

It seemed to fall in line with what Halstead faced as he had to figure out if protecting his “family” meant only Hailey or Voight for the sake of the squad.

I was impressed that Halstead informed Voight rather quickly than sitting on it. And he demanded that they find a solution together that would save them all while keeping Hailey out of it.

Strutting to a Scene  - Chicago PD Season 9 Episode 9

His intentions were as plain as day. He’s protective of the woman he loves, and he’s taken it upon himself to protect Hailey (and, to a degree Voight) from themselves.

But as inexplicably burdened as Hailey was by her actions, it wasn’t right for him to speak on behalf of Hailey and suggest that Voight keep her out of it.

Voight: OK, what’s going on?
Halstead: The FBI found Roy’s body. North drove me out there last night, and he made me an offer. He said either he’s going to arrest Hailey and me, or I give him you. In about 24 hours. I’m not wearing a wire, look, here you want to see?
Voight: OK, I’ll take care of it.
Halstead: No, you won’t.
Voight: I’ll handle it, Jay.
Halstead: No.
Voight: No?
Halstead: Yeah, I’m done with that. I’m here right now because of you handling it. I’m done with it. I’m done with being in the dark, and you taking care of things solo. Anything that’s done from here on out we’re doing together.
Voight: I don’t think you actually want that.
Halstead: No, I do want that, and I’m going to trust that since I brought you into this, that you’re going to give me that. And we’re not bringing Hailey into this. She doesn’t need another thing to eat, so in in the next 24 hours, you and me are going to handle this together.

He loves her and wants to protect her, and that’s fair, but it’s the secrecy that messed things up in the first place. It was unusual that Voight didn’t have much of a solution or plan even though he expected Halstead and Hailey to trust him.

Much like the other team members haven’t had much of a presence in this storyline despite how it affects them, in some ways, we haven’t seen where Voight’s head has been with this either. At best, he’s been vague, and at worse, there was simply nothing explored.

Meeting Under the Bridge  - Chicago PD Season 9 Episode 9

Voight had Trudy dig up information on North and words cannot describe how much Trudy’s integration into this series is as underrated as it is missed.

It turns out that everyone has dirt, and despite North’s ambitions and plans to use nabbing Voight for clout, he was disappointingly shady too. North would also do anything for his family, and his corrupt attempts to protect his drug-addicted brother were the solution to shutting him down.

North: This really how you want to do it? You sure? This is who you really want to be?
Halstead: I don’t know. You want to protect your family, this city, so do I. So what’s it going to be, North?

Halstead and Voight getting Vice a collar for their benefit gave us a classic but gritty undercover scene. Jay’s 8 Mile Eminem-esque hoodie-wearing undercover alter is appreciated. But Halstead struggled with exploiting Joe, who needed and deserved help, to save their asses.

Voight knew it too.

Run with a Gun -tall  - Chicago PD Season 9 Episode 9

They intended to show how fed up Halstead is with the dark path they’ve all gone down, and he’s desperate for change. And if not now, when?

In that sense, it was a stellar hour for Soffer and felt like a Jay-centric.

One of the best scenes of the hour was Halstead and Voight’s conversation before Halstead met up with North.

We’ve noted before how they’re pushing the narrative of Halstead operating a similar space as Antonio did before, challenging Voight and serving as a foil and balance to keep Voight in line.

Soffer and Beghe were great in that scene together.

Setting Things Straight -tall  - Chicago PD Season 9 Episode 9

Voight knows Halstead and how he feels and operates, so he was willing to go down.

And as critical as some can get about Voight, it’s consistent that he’s self-aware. Voight has always understood the cost of his actions, and he’s always been prepared to pay it when he runs out of options.

He knows that he’s on borrowed time and that one day something will finally take him down for good. And if it was him taking out a bad guy who brought harm to many, including one of his own, he was okay with that.

And despite the tension between Halstead and Voight, you sensed that Voight was okay partly because he has expressed before that Halstead is his successor.

(Self) Righteous -tall - Chicago PD Season 9 Episode 8

To Halstead’s point, he was right about how they all pay the price because of Voight. It was such a gut-wrenching indirect reference to Olinsky, and Al’s death still haunts Voight.

In a season where Voight, albeit subtly and briefly shown, has been thinking about his son and losses, he exuded a resignation we haven’t witnessed before, and it would be fascinating if the series delves into that further when it returns.

It’s over, but it’s going to be different now between you and me. You always say tell me the truth so I can lie for you. From here on out, you tell me the truth, you bring me in, so we don’t have to lie anymore. So I can protect you from yourself. You understand me?

Halstead [to Voight]

I wouldn’t go as far as saying that Voight was giving up, but he was giving in to the sacrifice he’d be okay making because it would be the culmination of all of his actions and choices catching up to him.

As a leader with compelling ownership who does questionable things knowing the risks, it distinguishes him from some of the other characters. In the end, for better and worse, there’s only one Voight.

Squad Coming through -tall  - Chicago PD Season 9 Episode 9

Halstead begrudgingly acknowledged that; this hour firmly cemented him in a more prominent and active role. You can tell they intended it to be Halstead’s hero hour — a significant turning point for his character going forward with the series.

He knows the city needs Voight and the unit does too. Hell, he recognizes that he does. And it was Halstead’s big moment to save his boss, a maneuver that would put him on equal footing.

Voight: Jay! Give me up, and your conscience is clean.
Halstead: No.
Voight: .. I’ve always known that some case would get me in the end. If this is that case–
Halstead: What, you’ll be all good?
Voight: I’ll be fine. Believe me. I will be just fine.
Halstead: It is not that easy.
Voight: It can be.
Halstead: No, it can’t be. You are no good to anybody sitting in a jail cell. You don’t think I know that you’re good for the city? I wouldn’t be here working for you for 10 years if I didn’t think it was all worth it. That you’re worth it, and I don’t want to give you up.
Voight: But you shouldn’t have to pay for this.
Halstead: I will. One way or the other, I will. Because we always pay the cost for you, Hank. I’m already paying it.
Voight: I know that. I know, so give me up. I’m telling you,  Jay, this is the best option. Give me up.

North thought he had Halstead figured out, but even as he espoused on why he thought Halstead would flip on Voight, much of what he said contradicted itself.

A guy with a rough upbringing like Halstead would know the importance of finding family and fighting for it. A guy who served in the military would understand the concept of brotherhood and loyalty.

Car Lean -tall  - Chicago PD Season 9 Episode 9

And a man who has an honor code would know how to follow it. Halstead’s line about how everyone changes everyone was a favorite.

It speaks to how Voight has influenced them and whatever darkness comes with that, but it also stays true to Halstead, who believes that he can change things within the unit and how they operate with his influence.

And that was a sticking point when he confronted Voight and asserted himself. It feels like a new era where Halstead rose in the ranks, and it’s the official assertion of Halstead as Voight’s right hand and partner.

For Jay fans, it was a gratifying hour for him, and Soffer delivered. And for fans of Upstead, the ushering in of a new era also came with Halstead asking Hailey to marry him right then.

Beauty from the Side -tall  - Chicago PD Season 9 Episode 9

An elopement at the courthouse suits this couple. Maybe Jay would’ve wanted a traditional wedding before, but Hailey isn’t a traditional woman.

It was a celebratory moment for a couple who escaped a dreadful fate and are leveling up now.

And the intercut of their wedding with the hottest, sexiest, and most primal lovemaking scene on Chicago P.D, let alone network TV, was a sight to behold.

By the time Hailey was clawing his back, I felt like I was imposing.

Together Always - Chicago PD Season 8 Episode 16

Chicago PD Season 8 Episode 16 ended with Hailey’s proposal, and after things that would’ve broken up other couples, this winter finale’s closing scenes were an Upstead wedding and hot sex. It definitely was a nod at and fan service to the shippers.

But now we need to discuss the more critical points.

If this is the end of the Roy arc, then it’s welcomed. Not only have they dragged this storyline on too long, but it’s puzzling that they reduced Burgess to a wounded dog to kick this entire storyline into place then benched her.

Hailey and Voight were only a fraction of what this arc was about, but the series spent half the season putting Hailey, Halstead, and Voight at the forefront of an arc that should’ve involved the entire team and centered Burgess more.

In the Rearview -tall - Chicago PD Season 9 Episode 7

As Roy’s victim, it’s an odd narrative choice to put Burgess on the backburner and not at least have her portion of the aftermath of the events running alongside the tension with Upton, Halstead, and Voight. The storyline would’ve felt more complete and richer that way.

The entire situation affected the whole squad to the last second, yet none of the others had standing in this arc or even know what’s happening, which immediately sidelines them.

North: You know, I looked into your unit for months. Looked at every member, looked at you. I was so sure that you were the one. Kid from a rough home, mother he had to take care of who died a brutal death from cancer Decade in an army, multiple commendations for this job. I thought you’d be the one person, the one who knew exactly who he was, the one Voight wouldn’t be able to corrupt. I honestly didn’t think he could change you.
Halstead: Everyone changes everyone.
North: No, not if you don’t let them.
Halstead: So your brother didn’t change you?

If Halstead was so angry at Hailey and Voight leaving him in the dark, and he ended the finale ensuring that he’s in on everything moving forward, then why is he okay leaving everyone else out?

If protecting or avenging Kim was what started all of this, why was she excluded for the entirety of it? Not using this to explore a deeper, conflicting friendship between Hailey and Kim is simply a missed opportunity.

Tense Paramours  - Chicago PD Season 9 Episode 8

One of the biggest problems with this storyline is the lack of continuity with the show’s canon and characterizations.

Soffer’s performance was excellent, but it was difficult to buy into how guilt-ridden he was and him grappling with exploiting Joey to protect all of them when we’ve seen and known that Halstead has done worse.

He’s accidentally killed a child. He’s committed unethical acts of misconduct a plethora of times to protect people he’s cared about well before all of this, from the drug dealer he dated undercover to Mouse to this moment. We learned that he sadly was part of a war crime cover-up.

His approach and self-righteousness never match his background where he’s been objectively unethical, too.

Halstead Keeps and Eye Out -tall - Chicago PD Season 9 Episode 8

But they insist on putting him in this rigid Boy Scout, White Knight slot that’s incongruent with what we’ve seen during his entire journey.

To buy into this notion that this specific incident is a turning point in how Voight has corrupted Halstead in some capacity would mean we’d have to ignore all of Halstead’s questionable actions for similar reasons he’s done of his own free will.

Halstead: It worked.
Hailey: I love you.
Halstead: I love you, too. Marry me, now.

And now it feels like they played it up that Halstead saved Voight and thus earned this space as an equal or the man who holds Voight’s leash and keeps him in line.

The implication is that Halstead proved how much he could protect his family, but if this is Halstead’s position, then why did we need him getting angry about who Voight is when he’s spent ten years accepting this?

Setting Things Straight -tall  - Chicago PD Season 9 Episode 9

Halstead emerges as a savior, but we’re supposed to ignore all the times Voight has covered for and saved Halstead from bureaucracy and himself. Isn’t it simply returning the favor?

It felt like a needlessly convoluted way of getting the series to this point where power has shifted, and dynamics have changed.

For Hailey’s role in all of this, the storyline ended with Halstead as the White Knight again.

Cutting her out to save her felt insulting. It’s already been frustrating enough that Halstead has treated Hailey as if she’s too fragile to own up to her actions, stand up to Voight, or make choices without someone else influencing her.

A Future in the Balance  - Chicago PD Season 9 Episode 9

The pair is in a solid place in their relationship. Most of the two working through how it affected their relationship seemed to take place offscreen, though, which feels like a cheat to accelerate them to this moment of them being in a good place now.

But hopefully, now that they’ve tied the knot, that means we can round things off better.

I’m begging the series to remember that it’s an ensemble cast. Chicago P.D. is the most compelling of all the Chicago franchises, but unlike the others, they have an issue with balance despite the smallest core cast of the three. They fail to evenly distribute arcs and screentime for everyone in each installment.

The personal arcs and ship-focus are appealing to many fans, and there’s nothing wrong with those elements at all, but it has consumed the series for a few seasons now. It’s also increasingly disappointing that there isn’t as much team camaraderie and different dynamics explored.

I’d happily trade in a fraction of entire segments or nstallments devoted to Upstead or Burzek angst for more group interaction or switching up the teams. Hailey and Kim would’ve been great this season. Voight and Atwater or Atwater and Halstead are underused. What if Ruzek spent time with Platt?

The series has a heavy slant toward Hailey and Halstead with either personal arcs and their relationship or screentime during cases. Some other characters can go whole installments with a single line or minimal screen time.

It’s good for them, and it’s evident that the characters are popular among fans, but hopefully, the second half of the season can level things out for all the characters.

Chicago PD’s strength is in case-focused storylines and a vital team element. It’s a balancing act when exploring characters and relationships, and the series is tipped too far over.

It’s over, but it’s going to be different now between you and me. You always say tell me the truth so I can lie for you. From here on out, you tell me the truth, you bring me in, so we don’t have to lie anymore. So I can protect you from yourself. You understand me?

It makes you wonder where the fans who have watched for more than that stand on this issue. And with the latest development with Jay, I wonder if it’ll continue to shift in the direction of focusing so prominently and consistently on the same three or so characters or dare to expand.

If they limited some of the character-centric installments, many of which overlap when a Hailey or Halstead one inevitably includes the other or Ruzek and Burgess one’s volley off each other, or Ruzek and Atwater — and they spent more time peppering personal arcs and screentime for everyone in each installment, it would flow better and even out.

Strutting to a Scene  - Chicago PD Season 9 Episode 9

We still don’t have any follow-up on Atwater’s possible relationship with Celeste and her not knowing about his status as a cop. Trudy is criminally underutilized, and it’s a waste of someone as incredible as Morton.

And it was a bizarre realization that they didn’t use the midseason finale to bring the rest of the team into the fold. Nothing is wrong with the insular storytelling if they spread it out better like their sister shows, but they haven’t managed to do that yet.

Hopefully, they will address that in the future. The team as a family message that we got during this hour would ring true if we saw it more.

Over to you, Chicago PD Fanatics. Sound off below with all of your thoughts.

You can watch Chicago PD online here via TV Fanatic.

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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