Warning: spoilers ahead for Episode 16 of Chicago P.D. Season 9, called "Closer."
Chicago P.D. went back to the case against Javier Escano with CI Anna Avalos in serious danger, and not getting the help that she expected from the Intelligence Unit in the process. While it was an episode heavier on plot than development for the main characters, it was also the first episode of 2022 that really showcased the new dynamic between Voight, Halstead, and Upton after how Halstead crossed lines to close the case of Roy Walton's murder. And honestly, I'm ready to see more of it, as the Voight-centric "Closer" managed to subvert some expectations in the best way.
Admittedly, this isn't the first episode since the dramatic first half of Season 9 to shine the spotlight on the changed dynamics, but the one back in January was much more about Halstead and Voight without Upton playing too much of a part. Just like some of the episodes early in the season, "Closer" focused the plot on one character in particular but was very much about the trio in certain scenes. There were no big secrets or lies between them to divide them.
Voight isn't putting the pressure on Upton and actively trying to shut Halstead out; Upton isn't scratching herself bloody from stress and lying to Halstead; and Halstead is holding true to his speech to Voight about being involved in making decisions, while showing no regrets about eloping with Upton.
There's just not the same uncomfortable power imbalance that was there in the 2021 half of the season, so I find it easier to enjoy the layers without wanting to... well, wanting to blame Voight for all of it. What can I say? I was on Team Upton over Team Voight. Upton and Halstead were also pretty united in "Closer" when it came to not liking some of what Voight was ordering when it came to helping/not helping Anna, but there was no sabotage or going rogue. (Take notes on that, Ruzek!)
The three cops – who are also the three highest-ranking members of Intelligence – worked surprisingly well together in what could have been a divisive episode for them, and I was half expecting something to go wrong for a lot of the hour.
Instead, Voight didn't use his time alone in the car with Upton to pressure her to keep a secret, or dig them both in deeper. Halstead didn't go against Voight's orders and rush to Anna's help when she asked, even though there was nobody with him to talk him out of it. Upton and Halstead seem to be going strong, even though Upton looked like she regretted not putting a line in their vows about not stealing each other's coffee after Halstead snagged her cup.
Sure, it's true that Halstead might have followed his heart and rushed to Anna's help before the whole Roy mess in Season 9, and before he explicitly admitted that he believes Chicago needs Voight's brand of justice, but on the whole, I really appreciated that P.D. didn't dive into the kind of predictable drama that fans might have come to expect.
Coming on the heels of the two-parter with Burgess and Ruzek trying to keep and then save Makayla, I'd say that the show is going strong under the guidance of new showrunner Gwen Sigan. Now I'm just hoping that Atwater gets some time in the spotlight soon! Maybe he can finally make detective?
I'm ready for more of Voight/Halstead/Upton functioning well together without that power imbalance that had everything messy in early Season 9. Even though Voight still calls the shots, everything feels more functional now between the three people who drove most of the drama back in the fall. Plus, his two detective subordinates seem to be able to rely on each other's judgment without reservations, which wasn't the case when Upton was keeping a secret and Halstead could tell.
There will surely be more drama and conflict on the way between these three, but all things considered, I just wish that fans weren't in for a wait until the next new episode. Chicago P.D. (along with Chicago Med and Chicago Fire) is heading into another break until Wednesday, April 6. You can find some TV options to fill the days until One Chicago is back with our 2022 TV schedule, and even rewatch some past episodes with a Peacock subscription.
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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. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).