Chicago P.D.: 3 Takeaways From The Chilling Cliffhanger That Set The Stage For The Fall Finale

Spoilers ahead for Episode 8 of Chicago P.D. Season 10, called “Under the Skin.”

Chicago P.D. took a brief break from the investigation into Sean O’Neal as a sex trafficker for most of “Under the Skin,” with a shift in focus over to Burgess for a long-awaited look at how she’s dealing with the trauma of almost dying more than a year ago. By the end, she still wasn’t fully able to process her feelings about it, which ultimately led to burying herself in work and making the breakthrough in the case against Sean that could allow Intelligence to take him down in the upcoming Season 10 fall finale. 

Burgess never got closure for her shooting since she’s unaware that Upton killed the man responsible and Voight covered it up, so there was a lot of emotional pain that she was trying to avoid dealing with in “Under the Skin.” The Intelligence Unit closed the case of the week, but Burgess was shaky enough that Ruzek questioned her about it, and she ended the episode avoiding going home to him and instead joining Upton in her obsessive attempt to find evidence against Sean. 

So, as the wait begins for the fall finale in a few weeks, let’s look at “Under the Skin” and the chilling cliffhanger for some takeaways about what comes next. 

Burgess And Upton Dug Up A Body

After Burgess connected the dots about Sean taking repeated trips to a cabin in Wisconsin, she and Upton realized that the cabin could be the missing piece in finding evidence against him. The women joined forces and drove up to the now-abandoned property, and started digging into the dirt in a bunker-esque basement. Before long, they found something: a skeleton.

Now, the skeleton didn’t exactly have “SEAN WAS HERE” written on it, and there were mushrooms growing in the dirt to suggest that nobody had disturbed the place in a while, but the bones provide the first solid lead that could actually allow them to take him down and prevent him from ever trafficking (or killing) another teen. “Under the Skin” may have been largely about Burgess dealing with her trauma, but the final moments set up what is bound to be an intense final episode of 2022. 

P.D. Is Best With Emotional Arcs To Go With The Cases

Chicago P.D. is very procedural, with the exception of cases like Sean O’Neal this season and Anna Avalos back in Season 10 that are revisited off and on, and characterization from one episode doesn’t always carry over to the next when the focus shifts between characters. I already feel confident that “Under the Skin” is going to be a memorable episode of Season 10, but not because of the case. 

Burgess flashing back to her trauma (and Marina Squerciati crushing the performance) made the episode stand out more than the case of the week, and reminded me that this show is best when it balances the procedural format with some emotional arcs. Season 10 did this to a certain extent in the first half of Season 9 with the tension between Upton, Halstead, and Voight, and more character development carrying on from episode to episode could make Season 10 even better. 

Burgess And Upton Should Share More Scenes

I’m a longstanding believer that the ladies of Chicago P.D. should get to spend more time together, and Marina Squerciati previously suggested that Burgess and Upton’s relationship should be explored, while Tracy Spiridakos also said that she’d want to see more of the women sharing scenes. “Under the Skin” just proved what a formidable team the two characters can be when actually paired up together in a one-on-one scene. 

In fact, they cracked the case against Sean (at least enough for a body) together, so I vote for Chicago P.D. to deliver more of Upton and Burgess as a duo when the show returns in the 2023 TV premiere schedule

There are plenty of smaller takeaways from this episode, not the least of which is that Burzek attempting to parent Makayla and her friend during a slumber party was downright adorable, but these are the three that seem most likely to impact the fall finale and aftermath in the new year. 

Find out with the fall finale of Chicago P.D. on Wednesday, December 7 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC, following Chicago Fire (which just delivered a tragic twist for Gallo) at 9 p.m. and Chicago Med (which will say goodbye to Brian Tee as Ethan Choi) at 8 p.m. If you want to revisit earlier episodes of P.D., you can do so streaming with a Peacock Premium subscription

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.