It’s been a while since we’ve had an episode dedicated to Jay Halstead, but some things never change.
On Chicago PD Season 6 Episode 6, Halstead once again got too personally invested in a case featuring a suspect-turned-unlikely-ally.
There was nothing wrong with the episode, per se, as it was a solid standalone episode with a strictly procedural-format. However, compared with other recent episodes that took a more personal approach, it fell flat.
There was a feeble attempt at making the situation personal to Halstead as he briefly mentioned seeing his own father in Latrell, a man who would do anything for his son. Still, it didn’t come close to the greatness that we’ve seen from the Burgess and Atwater-focused episodes lately.
Mostly, I think that’s because the series has struggled to figure out what to do with Halstead’s character.
He used to be one of my favorites, but he’s not bringing enough to the table these days.
His character is inconsistent, and he never truly knows what he stands for.
His hypocrisy was on full display during the episode, and this isn’t the first time we’ve seen it from Halstead either. On Chicago PD Season 8 Episode 4, we watched him tell a man how he should feel about police in general.
His dismissive attitude had a very pro-cop agenda, and while it’s OK to defend your own, it’s naive to think that all cops are good cops that are doing the right thing.
Grieving father: I know what you’re thinking. My son wasn’t in any gang. He was a good kid.
Halstead: Okay. Is that what the police think too?
Grieving father: The police? The police don’t think anything. They never did a damn thing about it.
Halstead: Okay, I doubt that. Come on.
Grieving father: No, no, no. Don’t tell me. Black kid lying in the street, step over him, move on. All the same to them.
If the show acknowledges things like the BLM movement and police reform, Halstead cannot continue being this ignorant and shrugging off people’s experiences because they don’t align with his beliefs.
It doesn’t do the already-tarnished character any favors.
In that same vein, we saw him project that same attitude when Latrell informed him that the police didn’t even try to solve his son Shawn’s murder and instead ignored it because it was just another black teen involved in a gang/drug dispute.
Is Jay really not aware that this happens all too often?
Latrell may have been caught red-handed unloading the drugs, but Halstead’s response of “oh come on, I doubt that” when he told him the cops swept his son’s case under the rug was cringeworthy.
It made him no better than Sgt. Durham and the rest of the homicide unit that singlehandedly forced this man to take matters into his own hands because they refused to do their job.
Even after Latrell told him repeatedly that Shawn was a “good boy,” Halstead continued to push the narrative that he was likely a drug dealer.
And his stance didn’t change until they spoke to a co-worker at the marketplace, who revealed that he was just a teen working part-time to get his dad an AC unit and who died trying to help a woman during a storm.
After that, Halstead felt pretty stupid for profiling Shawn because of a preconceived bias.
Halstead: Latrell shouldn’t even be in this position. If homicide did their job, if they found the killer…
Voight: This isn’t a perfect system, Jay.
Halstead: I know it’s not. But Latrell is a good guy. He loved his kid. More than anything. He just couldn’t let it go. He couldn’t find closure. So, he just went and did what he thought he had to do. Which is something that I might do, something that I’m thinking you might do too.
Voight: Jay, you’re the only one who saw that estimate on the dash so… it’ll be your call.
Halstead: What would you do?
Voight: Doesn’t matter what I’d do. We’re different people, Jay. You gotta do what makes sense for you. But whatever that choice is, just make sure it’s something you can live with for the rest of your life.
Acknowledging that it isn’t a perfect system after you were part of the problem is a step in the right direction, but only if you learn from it and change your ways moving forward.
While Halstead eventually had the realization that yeah, many drug cases slip through the cracks because of bias and discrimination, the “come-to Jesus” moment will remain irrelevant if Halstead doesn’t change.
And knowing Chicago PD, the lesson has already been forgotten.
Since law enforcement is viewed with distrust, Latrell found it refreshing to see a cop so invested in his case, but sadly, because of Halstead’s actions at the top of the hour and in previous episodes, there was a dark cloud looming above.
As I said prior, the case was interesting, but it wasn’t groundbreaking.
Latrell, you are not a cop. You don’t get to go undercover.
Latrell was honest with Jay about his motivation to find his son’s killer and get revenge. Since that’s exactly what he did, the outcome wasn’t exactly shocking.
Latrell went rogue and put himself at risk to avenge his son’s death, so he was bound to go rogue and do what needed to be done despite assistance from the police.
Never underestimate a father’s love. There was poetic justice in leaving K-Mac to die in the street like an animal the same way K-Mac left Shawn to die.
It was also strange that Halstead decided to give Latrell details about the case. He may not have revealed who the suspect was, but he had to have known that telling him anything would come with repercussions.
This is a man who managed to — foolishly or bravely, depending on your take — infiltrate a gang unit. He was determined and didn’t care what it cost him.
Finding the car owner was just a piece of the puzzle, but figuring out the motive painted a full picture and gave him the ammunition he needed. After this many years working in Intelligence, Halstead should’ve had better foresight.
That Halstead let him off the hook also didn’t fit the “by the book” narrative that Chicago PD Season 8 has been pushing so hard.
Why do they get to pick and choose when to dole out justice and follow protocol? Latrell killed a man — end of the story.
They’ve put away other people that they should’ve turned a blind eye to, so why was this any different?
Had Latrell trusted the process this time around, K-Mac would’ve been behind bars as intelligence closed in on him. Again, it wasn’t surprising that he didn’t, but it was surprising that Voight took a hands-off approach and allowed Halstead to make the final call.
I miss the days when Voight was more proactive in the cases. Clearly, Jay needs some guidance!
Latrell was also unintentionally contributing to a drug problem that was poisoning the streets. He didn’t realize it because of his agenda, but he helped to push a product that was killing other sons and daughters.
Did Intelligence forget that they were working a drug case to put Dante away for selling heroin laced with fentanyl? Why don’t they ever finish cases these days?
I mentioned the “by the book” narrative because it feeds into the show’s more significant problem: the continuation situation.
This episode didn’t acknowledge Halstead and Upton’s budding relationship at all. It didn’t have any mention of Upton’s situation with her dad.
There was no mention of Awtater’s situation with the blue wall, even though the episode would have greatly benefitted from Atwater weighing in.
And worst of all, there was no mention of Burgess’ decision to foster Makayla. I mean, that’s a pretty big one to omit. There wasn’t even like a “hey, how’s Makayla doing?” moment.
Where is the girl? Who is watching her if Burgess is on a six-hour stakeout?
We don’t have to push aside every other Intelligence member just because one member is getting their time to shine! Chicago Med has found the perfect balance of cases-of-the-week while tackling character issues, which provides the series with follow-through and consistency.
Why is it so hard for Chicago PD to do the same?
We are so many seasons in that we should have no problem veering from this strictly-procedural storytelling.
But that’s enough from me! What did you all think of the episode?
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