Chicago P.D. Ended Season 10 With A Frustrating Cliffhanger For Ruzek, But Patrick John Flueger Crushed It
The Season 10 finale cliffhanger was rough, and Patrick John Flueger deserves a lot of credit for what worked.
Warning: spoilers are ahead for the Season 10 finale of Chicago P.D. on NBC, called “A Better Place.”
The tenth season of Chicago P.D. wrapped on an episode that got quite bloody for the Intelligence Unit, but not because of the explosion teased in the promo that knocked the wind out of Atwater. Ruzek was shot in the belly by none other than Callum about two thirds of the way through the finale. It felt to me like a bad sign that P.D. wasn’t saving the tragedy for the end of the episode, but surely having more than ten minutes left meant that we’d know his fate before the final credits rolled, right? Frustratingly, that turned out not to be the case, but Patrick John Flueger crushed “A Better Place” from start to finish.
What Happened For Ruzek And Patrick John Flueger
His months undercover through the second half of Season 10 (which you can revisit via a Peacock Premium subscription) were clearly already weighing on Ruzek early in the episode, despite opening up to Burgess about his struggles. Living a double life (and not seeing Makayla as much as he would otherwise) was taking a toll, but he kept doing his job as usual… until he got the news from Samantha Beck that her father was moving up the timetable for his attack. Richard Beck hadn’t confided in Ruzek about it, and the UC cop had to make decisions on the fly about how to handle Samantha. The attack would happen that very day, and the team just didn’t have the information they needed to stop Beck.
And the missing piece that they discovered too late was that Callum was communicating with his grandfather, and he panicked when Ruzek caught him on the phone. Despite Adam’s best efforts to calm him and talk him down, Callum pulled the trigger and shot him. I’m no Chicago Med doctor, but he was bleeding an awful lot from the gut shot, and Samantha left him bleeding out to run with her son. Callum was her priority, and the last thing that Ruzek managed to communicate to Burgess in the ambulance was that she needed to find Samantha and Callum before Beck, because Beck was going to go after his grandson. HIs vision faded… and that was the last that we saw of Ruzek in “A Better Place.”
I don’t think anybody could take issue with what Patrick John Flueger did with his performance in the Season 10 finale, from the very beginning to his character's final moments of consciousness in the ambulance. Ruzek’s exhaustion, pain, and frustration were evident, and he could only be reactive rather than proactive when the situation with the Becks started to spiral. In fact, the whole storyline before and after he was shot wouldn’t have been as harrowing if Flueger hadn’t gone all-out with his performance. I also have to give credit to Marina Squerciati as Burgess in the wake of Ruzek being shot. We got crumbs of Burzek in this finale, even if they weren’t exactly the cutest!
Why The Cliffhanger Is Frustrating
So, why was this cliffhanger particularly frustrating, even though it’s usually safe to expect unanswered questions in the wake of a season finale, and despite the fantastic performances? Well, Chicago P.D. had plenty of time to at least give some kind of an update on Ruzek’s fate other than that he was in surgery, with Platt standing vigil at the hospital while Burgess raced to honor his request about Callum. If he’d been shot in the final moments like what happened to Halstead in the fall finale of Season 7, it would have made sense for the episode to end without answers. P.D. could have given at least a little bit of information about his fate.
Plus, it seems safe to say that whether or not Ruzek survives is going to be spoiled well before the show returns to the airwaves for Season 11. If Ruzek recovers and stays on the job, Patrick John Flueger will presumably be spotted filming in Chicago. Other than P.D.'s renewal, the future is pretty uncertain in light of the WGA writers strike that could delay when network TV shows usually return in the fall. I would rather have gotten an update on Ruzek at the end of “A Better Place” than during hiatus.
The good news is that the case has been closed other than Ruzek’s fate, as Atwater shot Richard Beck and killed him. Callum glowered at Atwater – who’s “getting close” to making detective, according to LaRoyce Hawkins – but unless Chicago P.D. pulls a Law & Order: SVU and runs for two and a half decades to give Beck’s grandson time to grow into adulthood, Intelligence probably doesn’t need to worry about any revenge plots from the youngster. He could definitely use some therapy, though! Burgess certainly made progress through hers in the wake of the Burzek-heavy 200th episode.
For now, we can only wait and hope for the best. LaRoyce Hawkins previously shared at least one plot to be optimistic about, and Benjamin Levy Aguilar had a fun idea for a Season 11 episode after pushing himself in Torres’ extremely heavy recent episode. While this finale’s cliffhanger was certainly frustrating, I found it to be a very solid episode on the whole, and an intense (and stressful) way to end the season.
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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. 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.
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