Warning: spoilers ahead for the 2020-2021 season finales of Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., and Chicago Med lie ahead.
Another season of One Chicago action has come to an end with the Season 9 finale of Chicago Fire, the Season 8 finale of Chicago P.D., and the Season 6 finale of Chicago Med. All three shows have been renewed for the 2021-2022 TV season, and all three ended their seasons with some game-changing episodes, so fans have a lot to be excited and/or apprehensive about after the various cliffhangers. But not all finales are created equal.
So, as fans are facing months of no new episodes over hiatus, let's take a look at the 2021 season finales and which stand out more than the others. I've ranked the Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., and Chicago Med finales by how well they worked as actual finales, how they set up next season, and just plain how entertaining they were. With these factors in mind looking at how One Chicago ended the season, check out the ranking below!
3. Chicago Med - "I Will Come To Save You"
"I Will Come To Save You" was actually a pretty great episode of Chicago Med. The stakes were raised surprisingly early on when a confrontation between Ethan and Dean ended with Ethan being shot by a former patient of Dean's, and although he did ultimately survive, his fate was uncertain long enough to guarantee the episode delivered some serious suspense. Carol got her heart transplant, and the writing was on the wall for either Will or Natalie at Med for crossing lines with the Kender meds, and April was accepted into a nurse practitioner program.
So, why does Chicago Med come in third out of three if the Season 6 finale was such a solid episode? Precisely because "I Will Come To Save You" felt more like a regular (if more thrilling than usual) episode of Chicago Med, and not so much a finale. The cliffhangers pale in comparison to what Fire and P.D. delivered, and the details about Natalie and April's fates were fuzzy despite the news that Torrey DeVitto and Yaya DaCosta are leaving the series. It was a great episode, but not the greatest finale of the night.
2. Chicago Fire - "No Survivors"
With "No Survivors," Chicago Fire proved that it hasn't lost its touch when it comes to delivering painful cliffhangers that will keep viewers dying for answers while waiting for the next new season. The long-awaited return of scuba Severide wasn't ultimately for a fun reason, as he and the rest of Squad went down into the belly of an overturned boat to try and rescue somebody. The men ran out of air just as the boat began to sink, leaving the fates of Severide, Cruz, Capp, and Tony very much in question as they failed to make their way to the surface.
Chicago Fire honestly delivered what I consider to be the best/most painful cliffhanger of the night of One Chicago finales, even if I don't believe that Fire is going to kill off the whole Squad in the Season 10 premiere. The cliffhanger isn't enough to give Fire the top spot on this ranking, however, since I didn't think the first 50 or so minutes of the episode were all that spectacular. I was of course happy about all things Stellaride, proud of Boden, and glad that the season didn't end without any resolution on Casey and Brett, but these developments didn't feel like they made for a finale, even if the cliffhanger did. A+ cliffhanger, less amazing episode. And that brings us to...
1. Chicago P.D. - "The Other Side"
Chicago P.D. wins the top spot in my ranking of the 2021 One Chicago season enders because "The Other Side" felt like a finale from start to finish, to the point that I was so glad that P.D. had already been renewed so that I had one less thing to stress about. Between the uncertainty of whether Burgess could survive, the question of whether Intelligence could find her, the tension between the cops over doing things by the book vs. bending the rules for someone they loved, the intense final scene between Voight and Upton, and Upton unexpectedly popping the question on Halstead, it was a jam-packed hour of television.
"The Other Side" also paid off on the penultimate episode's cliffhanger and set the stage for a complicated aftermath when P.D. returns for Season 9. I'm guessing that Burgess will survive, hoping that Halstead could tell by literally everything about Upton's shellshocked emotional state that she was not in a place to be getting engaged, concerned about Voight showing his true colors again, and crossing my fingers that Atwater gets to find some balance next season like LaRoyce Hawkins suggested.
This was a winner of an episode and a finale, and I for one can't wait to find out what happens next, especially after some of showrunner Rick Eid's comments:
The last One Chicago Wednesday of the 2020-2021 TV season was a thrilling night, and the only real downside of those episodes is that the next new episodes won't air until the fall. Two actors are guaranteed not to be back as regulars on Chicago Med (although I'm hoping for a Colin Donnell/Norma Kuhling return situation with the Season 7 premiere), and it's possible that some key characters won't be back to Fire for the long run depending on the aftermath of the cliffhanger.
As for Chicago P.D., my money is on Burgess surviving and Marina Squerciati coming back for Season 9, but a different actor scored a new job that makes me wonder if we'll see a lot less of them in the 2021-2022 TV season.
All three One Chicago series are already guaranteed at least another two seasons on NBC, and in fact every Dick Wolf show has been renewed to return in the 2021-2022 season, with another FBI spinoff and another Law & Order spinoff on the way as well. Be sure to check out our 2021 summer TV premiere schedule for some ways to pass the time during the wait for these shows and more to return in the fall.