Chicago P.D. 3×04 “Debts of the Past” Recap

Spoilers Ahead

Another great episode reminds us of the fantastic relationships in the series.

Episode Summary: Back in prison, Beckett learned that 2 million of his money was taken by the cops which explains why he’s now out to get to them all. After turning against each other momentarily Alvin and Voight later put their differences aside when it’s clear that the witness was the one who’s taken it. Burgess learns about another engagement from Ruzek’s past. Lindsay’s ready to move back home. And Alvin’s wife wants him to get a paternity test on Michelle.

Review | Analysis: Thankfully this week’s episode wasn’t involving children or teens too much. And thankfully Voight’s grandson is okay. Though it wasn’t fun to watch Alvin and Voight second guess one another, it’s great to know neither of them is the one who took the money. Mostly, I’m just bummed Mouse’s “semi-Stark” board wasn’t welcomed. I’m all for keeping tradition, there’s wonder and beauty in keeping things simple, but c’mon, Olinsky — the system would’ve saved y’all a lot of time. Not to mention it’d also save paper and ink. Trees are important too.

I imagined the case was going to be handled a lot differently than it was. That said, I don’t have much to say on it all other than it was pretty thrilling to watch — especially towards the end where their plan worked in their favor. Debts of the Pasttook the theme of partnerships and authenticated what it means to be loyal. Loyalty doesn’t mean no arguments or questioning, it means coming up stronger despite those things — it was proven to be most true with Alvin/Hank, Jay/Erin, Alvin/Michelle, and hopefully Adam/Kim.

As mentioned above, it took the longtime friendship between Alvin and Hank and put it to the test. Would they turn against one another because of uncertainties? Yes, but would they let it go too far? Never.

Similarly with Erin and Jay — there are unanswered questions between them (more so weeks prior), but what their time at Molly’s shows is that when it comes to the two of them, they’ll always have each other’s backs. This isn’t something I’d normally do so please understand that it’s merely just this once. For future references, I’m all for discussions whether they’re opposing or similar opinions; however, I can’t do them on Tumblr. Please voice your concerns in the comments section below and we can discuss them under the review of the episode that’s being reviewed. There are messages on the blog asking whether or not we think the relationship with Jay/Erin is happening too quickly and the same with Erin’s recovery particularly that it’s unbelievable.

First things first, Erin wasn’t an addict — her consumption of illegally purchased prescription medication along with alcohol wasn’t due to her inability to properly function without it, it was a result of her choice to drown out anything that reminded her of Nadia. It was Bunny’s poisoning words that encouraged her to forget the world she used to know because she’d only end up in the same position if she didn’t do so. Lindsay’s strong and oftentimes, the voice inside our head that tells us something’s wrong for us is much stronger than the one that tells us it’s right; however, it’s a choice which one to give in to. Lindsay knew that if she stayed at Intelligence, she’d be under rules and regulations and she didn’t want that instead, she chose to go back to her partying ways. She chose to isolate herself from Voight, Halstead, and the entire unit because she knew they’d be able to heal her and she didn’t want to be healed. Her broken heart spoke much louder than her better judgment. While this was more out of character than anything she’d done recently, I have said back in season two reviews, that Nadia’s death always felt like an unnecessary need to add in a ridiculous drugs/alcohol storyline. Lindsay’s character judging by everything we’ve seen from season one always appeared to be the person who’d do anything and everything to save lives. Losing Nadia was not only losing a protégé but essentially a little sister figure, and it always made more sense that she’d be the person who’d do anything and everything for justice and then continue living her life in honor because it’s what would make Nadia proud. That said, the three weeks of reckless judgment didn’t turn Lindsay into an addict. While we didn’t see the details on the screen, it’s clear right before Alvin calls her (3×01) that she’s not addicted to the medication but rather questioning whether or not she wants to drown out the earlier meeting with Jay. That’s why she can meet Dr. Charles at a bar. She can have celebratory drinks with friends. She has control again because her mind’s back in a stronger place. She doesn’t need months of rehab or a certain type of abstinence plan because she was never an addict. Excessive partying for three weeks doesn’t equate to addiction.

People grieve in different ways and while I do wish we’d get some sort of a scene with Erin talking about Nadia again, we may not. The frustrating part about having a favorite character in an ensemble cast, especially a cop show where the genre demands a lot more action/case talk than individual interactions is that there’s a lot happening behind the scenes that we don’t often get to see. Heck, sometimes we do get a scene, but it’s cut during final production because the material is given to marketing prior to production actually finishing. It’s just how it works in the business. At the end of the day, Jay and Erin know each other better than they know themselves thereby we don’t need too much on what’s occurred.

Although when it comes to actual writing — if the series doesn’t abide by the rule of Chekhov’s gun with last week’s reveal by Will, then we have a problem. Don’t let the viewers in on something if you don’t plan on executing it further. Because prior to this, there’s really nothing Erin and Jay need to come clean about. They weren’t in a relationship when she left and spent time with another guy, hence, there’s not much discussion that needs to happen between the two on the matter. I’m aware of the fact that most people want a slow burn, but that’s essentially what we’ve always had with the two and unfortunately, the series can’t constantly focus on them when so much is required. I wish it were different, but it’s not possible.

That said, I’m a fan of the route they’re headed, especially if we take the sneak peek into consideration even though it didn’t make it into the episode. Jay asking Erin how she is and then immediately telling her it isn’t his fault reminded me of the times in the past when roles were reversed. These two are so great at being partners because while they’ve got a solid understanding of the field, they’re always so great at warmly reminding one another of the things they often forget when it’s most necessary. It’s what showcased the fact that there are not only no hard feelings between them, but it’s easy to dive back into the partnership they’d once established. Fortified relationships like that aren’t easy to forget — just as effortless as the strengthening was, it was that much more effortless to get back into it. It’s natural for them to ceaselessly be the other’s strength as often as they can but while they’re great on their own, they’re unstoppable as partners.

Though it’s always intriguing to watch them out on the field together, casual moments are always more fun. Erin and Jay share a celebratory drink due to the fact that she’s now trusted enough to go back into her apartment and Jay mocks her messiness in the bathrooms. It’s moments like this that reveal to the audience just how close they’d gotten in the month they dated though we haven’t seen it all. And when things get more serious, he states that this is all good because he was worried the hole she was digging would be too deep. It would’ve been too deep — at the end of the day, perhaps even if Jay didn’t get kidnapped, his disappointment earlier would’ve maybe even been enough. We saw her questioning her lifestyle as she was about to take the pills, thereby illuminating that deep within, Erin’s priorities lie with those she cares for. What I’ve always personally loved most about Jay and Erin is how well they understand one another, for it’s essentially what makes it easy to be partners and perhaps something more starting next week.

I do understand why Alvin never got a paternity test, but I also do understand why his wife is demanding one. I don’t however see why this has to be a problem with the family. He’s been working ridiculously hard to prove that he can be there for them, he can choose them above all others, but that doesn’t mean he has to neglect his child. There are countless families out there with children from different partners — it doesn’t mean there needs to be a rift between them. Michelle isn’t a newborn indicating Alvin’s recently had an affair. She’s a grown kid from a time he was deep undercover. Before his wife actually chooses to end things for good, I sincerely hope she tries to see the bigger picture in all this. They can all be a family, especially now that Alvin’s showcased his loyalties numerous times. That said, I do think a paternity test is right judgment, not because Michelle’s not untrustworthy, but Linda always seemed fishy to me. I wonder if he’ll actually open the test since he was so hesitant to even mail it out. Personally, father/daughter relationships have a special place in my heart and it was lovely to watch Michelle demonstrate that she’s in fact trying not to just be a rebellious kid. Whether it’s continuing to train with Antonio or attempting to bake Alvin cookies, it’s sweet of her. Not to mention the fact that she’s proving she no longer wants a relationship with him solely because he can give her money whenever she needs it. It’s awkwardly sweet and while in the beginning, it seemed like the series was trying to force it, it feels very organic now. I do wonder if that’ll come into play in a much bigger storyline (tied to a case) as opposed to it being just a side story for now.

Maybe it’s just me, but I wish series creators would understand that angst doesn’t have to involve a breakup every single time. Couples constantly fight, but it doesn’t mean they should just end their relationship after every argument. Frankly, it gets redundant and as a writer, it’s always irritating to talk about those things because they’re often so silly, you feel like an idiot sitting down discussing them. That said, I really really really hope Ruzek and Burgess don’t split up. Because if that does happen, it’ll be insanely hard to trust anything Adam says especially since he’s been engaged three times now. Also while Roman’s a great man, at this point it should be evident that he’s not exactly the best at giving advice on love. Just because Adam agreed to push the wedding back as Kim requested, doesn’t mean he doesn’t really want to get married. Weddings can be pushed back for numerous reasons, it’s not an indication of whether or not two people love one another.

Especially Kim and Adam — they live together, why would he fight to rush a wedding if all it’s going to do is “legalize” their love? You don’t always propose to someone to marry them within that year, sometimes you just want the entire world to know that you plan on spending your entire life with them. You want your partner to know that in the future, you want to spend the rest of your lives together. Adam’s proposal was a promise of loyalty to Kim — the promise that no matter what happens, she’s the one for him. If the series chooses to split them up because of this, it’ll only damage Adam’s character because all he’ll appear to be is a man who makes rash decisions and falls in love too quickly. It’ll then have to be years until he proves he’s actually trustworthy and indeed ready to settle down with someone. And that can get exhausting. If this were not his third proposal, it’d be a much different story, but because it is, it’s a bit too ridiculous.

What are your thoughts on this week’s episode?


  1. I disagree with your claim about Erin not being an addict, in the first season episode 15 Erin and Voight were talking about Erin’s past and how Charlie got Erin ‘hooked on dope’. Erin’s an addict she might not be addicted to pain/pharmacy meds but Erin has a history with drugs and being depended on the drugs. Erin taking the drugs and alcohol was always her way of running (coping mechanism) and even if it looks like the person is in control never assume especially with addicts.
    I really did not like the drug storyline, not everyone can write and portray addiction (nothing to do about Sophia’s performance). Also if an addict falls off the wagon they are not suppose to be in situations/ environments that can trigger or lead to a relapse. The bar scene I didn’t get and normally even if your not an alcoholic and you feel your in control and have dealt with the issue(s) alcohol is still off limits for sometime just like entering a relationship, it’s a no no no.

    1. Just to assure you, I’m not making claims here out of my head, in fact I’ve done plenty of research even spoken to a dear friend of mine who’s a professional in the field.

      That said, we have to look at Erin as an individual — addiction can’t be looked at in a generalized sense when taking things like this into consideration. Just because 16-year-old Lindsay was addicted to marijuana, it doesn’t mean she was addicted to other substances as well. Whether or not someone will have multiple addictions is up to the person. And that’s a studied point, it’s what we need to take into consideration especially now because if she wasn’t addicted to the prescription meds, she wouldn’t be in trouble around alcohol. She can control herself because if she’s never had an addiction to that substance — an addictions alters the brain, but Lindsay hadn’t reached that point when Halstead saw her. Lindsay can be around alcohol because she’s not been addicted to it. A partying phase of constant drinking does not equate to an addiction. It can in the long run, but it doesn’t always. That’s the point I was attempting to make.

      You’re right with one thing though, not many writers can write a good addiction storyline. And I too always felt this was unnecessary and just done for dramatic purposes. It’s not my cup of tea. But looking at through a psychological stand point, it makes sense. She may still speak to Dr. Charles, but it may not necessarily be for an addiction but rather her grief. For the time being though, the series is presenting it in a way that works in the real world as well. I’ve known about someone who was addicted to heroin but could be around alcohol like it was no big deal. They’d only ever want one drink at the most, not even touch it at times. Not every person gets addicted to every additive substance just because they’re addicted to one. Alcohol shouldn’t be off limits unless you have an addiction. People drink on their emotions all the time, but it doesn’t mean they’re an addict. She wasn’t going through anything at the bar. She’d just saved the man she cares for a few days ago, and in this week’s episode she was celebrating being able to live alone again. She can drink in moderation. She’s at the place to. I hope this made sense.

  2. I get your point of view I think the way in which I stated my points came across wrong. My point about the alcohol was it is advised in a healthcare environment also in a support group that alcohol impairs your judgement and relationships can influence your judgement either positively or negatively (and we are always looking at the negative factors). In Erin’s case there are huge gaps in data in her personal, professional and medical history. You can’t assume Erin’s not/ is addicted to pain meds she never stated that she was or wasn’t. It’s not like there was a scene where Erin was physically hurt and declined pain meds because she was an addict.
    The show did a piss poor job in writing this storyline, I don’t know it just didn’t sit well with me, maybe if they left out the drugs, kept the alcohol and partying than it might not have rubbed me the wrong way, but all I saw was when your down or grieving go out drink, party, take some drugs and in the end get a marathon headache.

    1. Trust me, I completely understand where you’re coming from. Which is why I actually spoke to one of my good friends who’s a professional in the field. And she’s the one who clarified that it really does vary from person to person. That said, I think the reason it is safe to assume Erin wasn’t addicted is because you could see her coming out of that stage when Jay called. You could then see her second guess whether or not she wants to take the meds in her bedroom before Olinsky called. These are instances where the series attempted to show us that her mind hasn’t been affected the way an addict’s normally is. That’s the thing with an addict, our mind functions a certain way, we are dependent on things like food and water because it’s how we are programed, but we are not programed on drugs/alcohol. That’s something we do to ourselves. It’s something that’s developed. And there’s ultimately no real set time of when you develop it.

      Without a doubt there are gaps in this storyline, but with what we’re given we have to make certain assumptions. If she can be around alcohol, it means she was never an addict. Once again, you can be addicted to coke, but you may not be addicted to alcohol. That varies from person to person. Alcohol without a doubt impairs judgement, but one drink doesn’t especially if you have high tolerance. Believe it or not, I don’t drink very often, but my tolerance is super high for a very tiny person (physically). I’m the only one in a group that didn’t puke her guts out after 6 shots of tequila and that’s the first time I ever really drank a lot. There’s a reason we shouldn’t do things like drink and drive, but one or two drinks doesn’t impair judgement emotionally unless your tolerance is very low. Or that’s just how you are. Every person is different in this case. We have to look at Erin as an individual.

      Please don’t misunderstand me. I do agree 100% that the series didn’t do a great job of handling it. We needed to see just a little bit more of her trying to really come out of it. It’s ultimately why I hate the storyline of drugs/alcohol because it’s often portrayed poorly. But with what we’re given we have to look at what the series wants us to believe about the character and it’s what we have to take.

Leave a Reply