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Spoilers ahead for the Season 7 premiere of Chicago P.D., fittingly called "Doubt."
Although Chicago P.D.'s premiere was the least deadly of the three Chicago series on NBC, "Doubt" set the stage for some big ongoing changes in the Intelligence Unit. This was the first episode since Jon Seda made his departure from the Chicago universe, as he only moved over to Chicago Justice during his brief break from P.D., and his absence combined with an intense argument between Halstead and Voight could mean trouble for the team moving forward. There's a void left in Intelligence without Antonio; can Halstead fill it?
Chicago P.D. showrunner Rick Eid spoke with CinemaBlend about the season premiere, and when asked how the dynamic of Intelligence will change with Antonio absent, he said this:
With Antonio gone, I think there's a little bit of a power void or seniority void, and the question is will Halstead be able to step into that role of being a worthy #2 to Voight? Can he stand up to Voight, can he present the opposite point of view to Voight? Can he convince Voight to do things a certain way? That's the question that's posed at the beginning of the season.
In the Season 7 premiere, Voight kept some big secrets from his team, including what happened to Antonio and what his plan was for Brennan after they discovered she had killed Kelton. This, combined with Halstead's frustration at being kept in the dark at the end of Season 6, led to tension between Halstead and Voight, which culminated in a confrontation after Halstead went rogue to bring in Brennan because Voight hadn't told Halstead his plan.
All in all, not the greatest start to a new status quo in which Halstead has to be Voight's #2 and fill Antonio's role within Intelligence. That said, Antonio isn't coming back, and there's no saying if/when Ruzek will be back with the CPD. The new character coming in is just one more change, and Intelligence may need all the stability it can get. When I asked Rick Eid if Voight can forgive and forget that Halstead went against him in Season 7 premiere, Rick Eid explained:
I think he forgives; he probably doesn't forget. Voight deals with things that are in front of him in the moment, and I think he's willing to move past it and he hopes that they can coexist, and I think Halstead feels the same way. I think just underneath the surface there's definitely some tension and friction between these two.
As long as Halstead and Voight are on the same page in cases moving forward, their conflict in the Season 7 premiere may not upset the post-Antonio balance in the Intelligence Unit. When they disagree -- which is bound to happen on Chicago P.D. -- it's entirely possible that the "tension and friction" beneath the surface will rise to the top. The status quo in P.D. Season 7 has to be more than new romances, epic crossovers with Med and Fire, and new characters, after all!
Now, "Doubt" saw the Intelligence Unit -- including Halstead -- rallying around Voight even when the evidence pointed toward him as Kelton's killer and Voight refused to give an alibi, although Halstead privately shared his doubts with Upton, who joined him (albeit only after he charged ahead of her) in taking down Brennan against Voight's orders.
Based on this aspect of "Doubt," I asked Rick Eid if Halstead would have allies in Intelligence if they had to choose sides:
If it came down to taking sides, I think he would have. Yeah. He would have. What makes it interesting is that I think everybody on the team would be his ally and at the same time I think everybody on the team would be Voight's ally. I guess it would all depend on the specific issue that they were taking sides.
Basically, we'll have to wait and see what happens if and when the rest of Intelligence is asked to choose between Voight and Halstead. That's not to say we can't speculate, though!
I'd say Upton is most likely to stand by Halstead due to their close partnership, but she's also arguably the most by-the-book cop in Intelligence, and she may have a more objective point-of-view than the rest. Voight did what he could to help Ruzek and take the heat off him in Season 6, so Ruzek may be inclined to side with Voight.
Fortunately, Chicago P.D. is back and as intense as ever, so fans will get plenty out of new episodes when they air Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC, following Chicago Fire at 9 p.m. ET and Chicago Med at 8 p.m. ET. The characters from the three shows will join forces for the upcoming crossover that will require all hands on deck.