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TV REVIEW: Chicago PD’s “At Least It’s Justice” aka A Torso in the Trunk

By on April 3, 2014
Pictured: Jason Beghe as Hank Voight -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC)

Pictured: Jason Beghe as Hank Voight -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC)

Chicago PD’s latest offering drives home the fact that this ain’t your mom’s procedural drama. I always think of procedural as a show that the viewer needs no back-story to understand. It’s plot driven and not so heavy in character development.  CPD is all character.

Yes, it has the prerequisite case of the week. This one was the mystery of a dead doctor.  More on that in a moment.  Bigger than that case was what happened with our cops, their relationships, the expected and the unexpected.  The show is so good at revealing a little at a time, giving us just enough to keep us somewhat satisfied, but not quite enough to satisfy that need for a little more.

We learned that complete trust exists in the land of unicorns and rainbows but not with all members of the CPD.  Not yet.

Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) shows up all cheery, like he just plopped in from that land of unicorns and rainbows.  He’s about to be polar vortexed back to the cold reality of the city he calls home. His happy demeanor takes a plunge when he finds out Lonnie Rodiger is dead and he’s suspect número uno.

He denies having anything to do with duct tape loving Lonnie’s death, claiming he was in all night watching hockey and pining away for Erin Lindsay (Sophia Bush).  Sergeant Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) puts a snafu on Jay’s little dream sequence by showing pictures of Halstead tailing Lonnie. He unceremoniously pulls Jay’s badge.

Pictured: (l-r) Jason Beghe as Hank Voight, Jon Seda as Antonio Dawson, Sydney Tamiia Poitier as Mia Sumner, Patrick Flueger as Adam Ruzek -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC)

Pictured: (l-r) Jason Beghe as Hank Voight, Jon Seda as Antonio Dawson, Sydney Tamiia Poitier as Mia Sumner, Patrick Flueger as Adam Ruzek — (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC)

Halstead storms off looking like a twelve-year-old about to have a six-year-old fit. The only thing missing was the foot stomp.  Erin stops him briefly to give him the name of the best union rep.  Not exactly the support he was hoping for.  Back rub, partner?  Don’t go looking for anyone to cry you a river, Jay.  How unexpected. The predictable route would’ve been to have the team get behind him with everyone working to clear his name. Instead, he’s left to prove his own innocence.  At one point, Voight wants him to twist in the wind, telling Antonio (Jon Seda) that Halstead needs to figure his own way out of this.

In a little crossover action, Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) from Chicago Fire shows up at an accident scene to discover a torso in a trunk.  The gross out moment of the night was that lump of flesh we’re told is the remains of a doctor whose testimony helped put away a bunch of bad guys. How can these cops ID the midsection so quickly?  Turns out the torso had an artificial hip and each one comes with a special GPS tracking, identification feature.  Bingo!

In reality, it’s all just a ruse to get Severide to show up at PD to hook up with Erin … I mean to look at some mugshots to identify the driver of the torso trunk car who took off.  He IDs one and practically solves the case on his own.  Ok, there may have been a little more to it than that.

In a bit of a convoluted storyline that I will completely forgive because that is just what you do in a relationship, the doctor’s killer turns out to be a soccer mom-looking lawyer who’d lost a string of cases because of torso doc’s testimony.  Well, we don’t discover that tidbit before first finding another body, this one disgustingly dissolving in an HCL filled barrel (that stuff from high school chemistry class), walking in on a fifty shades reenactment by a prime suspect, and watching a shoot out at a gun show (the irony) and then another at a trucking yard. Lots of hold your breath action sequences, one showing Olinsky (Elias Koteas) in the badass move of the night crawling like a crab, shooting up into some trailers.

Pictured: (l-r) Jason Beghe as Hank Voight, Jon Seda as Antonio Dawson -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC)

Pictured: (l-r) Jason Beghe as Hank Voight, Jon Seda as Antonio Dawson — (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC)

In a slightly less badass move,  Ruzek (Patrick Flueger) gets shot but not really. He takes it in the vest and will thankfully live to kiss Burgess (Marina Squerciati) again. In a shocking twist to no one, that face smoosh went down tonight. Post kiss, she awkwardly says she’s no home wrecker, and they need to forget it.  Does anyone think that’s going to happen?

The case of the night we really care about is the #DidHalsteadDoIt mystery.  Jay uses police tactics I think he learned from Scooby Doo. He first questions the parents of the kid Lonnie’s suspected of killing years ago with the dad saying he didn’t do it, but he’ll confess if Jay needs him to.  Next up, question the elder Rodiger who tearfully admits to the killing pretty quickly. He says, “I never wanted to believe my son could do it.”  After he finds pictures of young boys on his son’s computer, he realizes the truth and chokes Lonnie to death, later dumping his body in the park.

This was not unexpected, but a great scene nonetheless.  See my last review of CPD, filed under “I told you so.”

In the highly promoted and anticipated Linseride moment of the episode, Kelly Severide finally shows up at Erin’s doorstep.  Those cute looks and smiles exchanged between the two, with Erin flashing dimples of epic proportions, were enough to melt the most frozen of hearts. Aw, anyone wanna see these two build a snowman?

He’s got THE line of the century when he says he’s returning her grenade paperweight (yes, you read that right).  “It fell into my pocket … so here I am.”  She laughs saying, “That’s one of the worst excuses a guy has ever used to get into my apartment.”  They kiss passionately, and I think there’s hope Kelly will actually have one good thing happen to him this season.  But NO, Erin says she has to get up early.  What?  Uh, you can’t call in?  For the week?  She says, “You did come all this way” and pulls him in for some more lip locking.  Hope springs eternal, or for two more seconds. He must’ve forgotten protection because he says, “Aw, damn” and leaves.  Double wh-what?

The scene is adorable and heavily promoted as leading to new possibilities, so I’ll let this one go as well.  It was unexpected that they didn’t just jump in the sack, and that is one of the things I love about the show. It’s old fashioned in a way, but doesn’t always go where we think it will.  As I mentioned earlier, CPD leaves us wanting more. Much more.

Pictured: Sophia Bush as Erin Lindsay -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC)

Pictured: Sophia Bush as Erin Lindsay — (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC)

The entire episode did point to its “non-procedural” slant.  To fully appreciate it, you needed to see all the previous Rodiger/Halstead interactions and the the Kelly crying on Erin’s shoulder scene when his sister was missing.  True, the show does have a case of the week that will probably be solved, but it also has continuing threads of story creating a fabric of character development found in no other show with this shortened season.  My love for CPD runs deep, almost as deep as the character development, making it a can’t miss, set the DVR just in case, show of the week.

It will be interesting to see where it’s taking us with only five more episodes left. Let’s take it to new heights in the ratings before summer hits. Join me next week, same time same place. 

Random Notes

One thing I learned tonight? A frozen trampoline breaks no one’s fall.  Let’s hope they don’t use one on the next episode of Chicago Fire (if you’ve seen the promo, you know what I’m talking about).

Is it just me, or did that warehouse where they found dissolving dead guy look like the warehouse where they have all the shoot outs?  Let’s build a new set, CPD.

In a scene that had me shivering even though I’m in 80 degree Texas weather, the cops are in a shoot out slip-sliding around like that bizarre ice dancing couple from the Olympics.

Line of the night goes to Erin when she tells Voight to “kiss my ass” after he protests her teaming up with Sumner, saying he prefers females to partner up with males. Wait,  I thought you reprimanded Jay for trying to “partner up” with Lindsay.

A close second is when Platt asks Burgess,”What’s up with you and rebel without a cause?”  She also encourages the young cop to have fun while she’s young.

A close third is when Olinsky asks, “Were you raised in a trailer park?” when he sees what Jay’s drinking.

Jin has the weasel line of the night when he says, “Never doubted you for a second, Bro.”

Funniest moment is when Voight tells a suspect, “Stay down! Stay down!”  The guy gets up and old gravel voice shoots him in the leg. Sumner (guest star Sydney Tamiia Poitier) asks if she should leave that out of her report.  I think we’re keeping you, girl. You really won over Voight tonight.

Voted cheesiest of the episode is Jay visiting the grave of the boy Lonnie Rodiger killed. Cutting room floor, people (I know there’s no cutting room anymore, but you get me).