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'Chicago P.D.' recap: Family always comes first

Season 1 | Episode 9 | “A Material Witness” | Aired Mar 19, 2014

“A Material Witness” picked up right where we left off – Det. Hank Voight is still sporting the cuffs to prove it. Edwin Stillwell might not be a one and done, as expected with his arrest of Voight at the end of the last episode. If he’s willing to go to those lengths his first day on the job, the idea pops to mind that guest star Ian Bohen (swoon) might have a short stay.

Instead, Stillwell immediately makes it clear that the rules of the game are changing and part of Voight’s deal with internal affairs will be to go after cops as well as criminals, and he’ll be sticking around to see the task through. His doctor recently put him on a heart-healthy diet, he shares with Voight: “Think of our new relationship like my new diet. It goes on forever, until you die.” He’s big on analogies, something Voight clearly is not. Voight wonders what happens if Stillwell dies first. Stillwell is not amused.

Stillwell is clearly not kidding around and the immediate issue on his mind is why Det. Jay Halstead has an active restraining order against him. It appears Halstead’s past is about to rush up and meet him head on.

Elsewhere, Det. Olinsky is appalled to discover that Det. Ruzek’s fiancée makes up with him via sexually oriented text messages. He wonders what happens if Ruzek ever loses his phone. Ruzek flippantly points out that it won’t matter because nobody will know it’s her – you can’t see her head. He’s very classy. Olinsky points out the obvious – Ruzek will still know. What kind of man thinks it’s OK to have nudies floating around the Internet of his fiancée whether her head is attached or not? Hey – this is Chicago P.D. – even though it wasn’t meant to sound like an actual headless body or that Wendy’s pictures are going to be starring in their own artistic Internet porn page; anything can happen.

Case in point? It’s discovered that Olinsky’s daughter is the only eye witness in her friend’s shooting. Officers Atwater and Burgess bring her into the precinct, but Olinsky wants to protect his girl. Just like that Voight takes over the investigation and Intelligence runs point on the operation.

In a brilliant turn of irony, Ruzek’s and Burgess’s working together to bring down a cell phone theft ring connected to the murder initially gets them nowhere, but when Ruzek gets another racy photo from Wendy and gives tries to call her to tell her to knock it off (I love when Olinsky gets inside his head), he discovers his phone’s been stolen[dd2] .

Having never been to Chicago, I had no idea you could run the length of a stop in the L line in the same time it takes to ride the darn thing. Ruzek manages to race the L and reach the kid, safely retrieving his own phone and everything else they were after, leading to the discovery of the murderer.

While on the streets together, Burgess learns Ruzek is engaged and it’s like the air is taken out of her balloon. While Ruzek personally chooses her to work the case and enjoys working with her, it’s difficult to tell if the feelings that registered on his face in Molly’s were anything more than appreciation for her curves (his word, not mine!). Burgess, on the other hand, is taken with his charms. Ruzek’s constant complaining about his engagement and wishing the wedding was over already together with his appreciation of Burgess doesn’t scream “man in love.” Since Voight has a problem with romance on the job, having more of it would only raise the stakes on the series and lead to more interpersonal drama. The cases of the week are interesting, but nothing in comparison to what goes on between the members of the unit.

With Olinsky’s daughter the only witness, the urgency to the case is to keep her from testifying as much as it is to solve the crime. With the guy caught and behind bars, the hope is he would plea out and she’d be off the hook. No such luck. She’s served with a subpoena, but surprises her father by standing firm in her belief that she has to do whatever is necessary to stop her friend’s killer from going free.

That makes her a target if and when the accused gets out of prison or if he has some cronies on the outside do the job for him. Voight beats him into understanding how well that would play out. The girl should be safe.

The team’s top priority is always to protect its own.

That’s a good thing, because Voight’s going to need to help Halstead. The restraining order against him is for a guy named Lonnie Rodiger (Matthew Sherbach) who was picked up in connection with Halstead’s sister’s murder. He’s free and Halstead never lets him out of his sight. The restraining order doesn’t keep him from confronting Rodiger for buying camping gear with a few extras – duct tape and rope. Det. Sheldon Jin has been giving information to Halstead to keep him informed and, frankly, to keep Halstead sane.

Voight tells Halstead that he has eyes on him. Stillwell assures Voight that his appointee, Det. Mia Sumner, isn’t working for him, but she sure looks interested in what Voight and Halstead are doing behind closed doors.

The hour ends with the discovery of another body. Rodiger has been strangled and Halstead is the top suspect.

Do you think it’s right for cops to look out for their own? Trust between officers is vital, but is it more important than running a clean team? Hit the comments and talk about your thoughts on Stillwell and his agenda and whether you think observing the intelligence unit work together and perhaps fall apart under duress will change his opinion of how of how things should work on his watch.