‘Chicago P.D.’ is back with a closer look at reality, but still stacking the deck

“Chicago P.D.” returned for its fifth season this week, bearing out what new show runner Rick Eid had promised ahead of the premiere: A closer focus on real world storylines — “certainly as it relates to whats’ going on with the police department.”

The series still has a tendency to stack the deck in favor of its characters, though — what if the show had the courage of its convictions, I always wonder — and too much here feels disingenuous precisely because of that slippery-ness.

So, here we go: The meat of Wednesday’s episode (“Reform”) concerned a gun deal gone wrong and the police shootout that ensued. Innocent people were caught in the crossfire, including a little girl who later dies at the hospital. Making matters worse, the bullet that killed her came not from a bad guy’s gun, but that of an officer.

On the surface, “Chicago P.D.” is going all-in. An independent auditor will be reviewing the situation, the top brass informs Sgt. Voight (Jason Beghe, as the unit’s supervisor), a requirement of the new “reform package” (Translation: Guess the show is hinting at that damning report issued by the Department of Justice last year.)

About that independent auditor: He’s a cop — former? current? hard tell — which is extremely dubious. Back in the real world, the newly formed Civilian Office of Police Accountability is led by a former federal prosecutor. Imagine the outcry if she surrounded herself with current or former ranking officers with very non-independent ties to the police department. But hey, that’s TV.

Some more thoughts about the first episode of the season:

Racial bias: A search at a public housing project leads to a tense standoff between a pair of cops (one black, one white) and a young black man walking with his son.

“You shouldn’t mind if we ask you a few questions,” says the white cop. “I can and I do,” comes the response and he turns to leave. “Stop walking,” the white cop…

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