“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…