Review of "Chicago PD" on NBC From The TV MegaSite

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"Chicago PD" review by Sundi 1/2/13
Premieres January 8, Wednesday 10/9c on NBC

Fans of the NBC sleeper hit, Chicago Fire will recognize a lot of the players in the spin off, Chicago PD, premiering Wednesday, January 8th. Fans of Fire (I count myself in this group) will also like this show right off the bat because of the familiar fast-paced action and heavy sentimentality, but it may take a few episodes to get new viewers on board. Because it feels like the show picked up where Fire left off, folks new to the show may feel like the new kid at the party. But my advice is to stick around, get to know these characters, because this show is an good way to spend sixty minutes.


At first, I was skeptical about adding a spin-off to my list of regular shows, but once I got a look at the cast, I was sold. Crossing over from Fire is Det. Voight (now Sergeant) played by Jason Beghe, the gravelly-voiced anti-hero which we hated in Fire, but now love because we think he may have good reasons to be bad. He has recently been released from prison and reinstated as head of a special Intelligent Unit investigating major crimes in Chicago. Jesse Lee Soffer plays Det. Jay Halstead who first appeared on Fire as Gabby’s mob-informant-under-cover-boyfriend, who, on the surface seems like the boy-next-store, but has a dark and sordid past and a quick temper. Also from Fire is Gabby’s cop-brother, Antonio Dawson, played by Jon Seda who is a reliable, family man with integrity and sincerity. This makes the kidnapping of his son an even harder storyline to watch as he agonizes over the best ways to get him back. New to viewers is Detective Erin Lindsey, played by Sophia Bush (full disclosure: I would watch this lady wash windows -- I love her so much, so I may have some bias) who was rescued as a teenager by Voight. Also on the team is the completely dreamy Officer Kyle Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger), the mysterious and Mandy Patinkinish Elias Koteas playing Det. Alvin Olinsky and a couple of uniformed officers that I could do without. The characters are what is going to elevate this cop-drama from being a run-of-the-mill procedural and make it worth a standout among the many cop dramas.


In the three episodes I watched, I became pretty invested in the characters and the show has built-in buy-in for the fans of the original Fire, but it doesn’t rely on the relationship too heavily, and I respect that. The cameos from Chicago Fire are obvious, but they don’t carry much significance to the storyline, so this show can, and will, exist in its own universe. The PD universe ups the ante on shocking scenes of violence and suspense. It might take some getting used to, seeing severed heads and exploding brains on network, primetime TV (and that was just in the pilot), but such is the world we live in, and PD has to compete with the likes of shows like Revolution and The Following.


Even though I am giving this show a stellar review, it does have its problems. There are some unnecessary storylines that drag down the pacing and distract from the core group of characters. Voight is involved in activities that play him against both sides of the law, and the show works way too hard at making his intentions ambiguous. It should happen in a more organic way and allow us time to judge for ourselves. Also, the relationship that exists between him and Det. Lindsey is intriguing but they are really taking their sweet time in doling out the background information on the  major characters. Lastly, some of the extras are a little silly. The show should play to its strengths and trust the audience will pick up on what they want us to, instead of using heavy-handed monologues and menacing sneers.


All in all, I hope this show does well. It took its progenitor its entire freshman season to find its footing and grab a reliable viewership, and I suspect PD will have to fight the same fight. I liked it quite a bit and hope you will too.

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