Chicago P.D. 3×23 “Start Digging” Recap

Spoilers Ahead

And the streak of unnecessary TV deaths continues.

Case Summary: When a woman is found dead in the trunk of a car, the unit links her to Voight’s son Justin, but before they can find Justin, he’s been shot and left in the same position. And before we can find the killer, Voight’s in a position to be promoted to Lieutenant and when the culprit’s found, the notorious detective we met in the pilot returns.

Review | Analysis: “Start Digging” is the type of episode that managed to remind me of what Chicago P.D. in its first season was like. And while I adored the first season, I’m not sure I’m okay with the turn this episode took. Voight’s actions were understandable, they’re unquestionably wrong and as someone who hates watching favorite characters take drastic turns, it’s never fun. Ultimately, while “Start Digging” ended in a cliffhanger that’ll bleed into season four intriguingly, I wanted a little bit more. But I suppose the series did a great job of leaving me wanting more, right?

“Start Digging” was an episode meant to exhibit forgiveness, but what it’s done in the midst of it is layered characters further showcasing that in this unit, it’s never just black and white. The promotions that were granted and the lines that were crossed will undoubtedly play a heavy role during the fourth season. However, Justin’s death made absolutely no sense to me. It’s always heartbreaking when a character dies, but the reality is, we don’t often need death for another character’s story to move forward. Some deaths make sense — they’re well written enough where despite how heartbroken I am, I understand it. But I said the same exact thing when Nadia died last year — it didn’t make sense then and it still doesn’t make sense now.

Essentially it’s a bit redundant to kill off a character once they’re finally getting their life back on track. It isn’t shocking anymore, and sadly, it’s not original storytelling. And how about a new trend where we don’t need death in every finale? We shouldn’t send the remaining characters over the edge by continuously using death to move their story forward.

Most Exquisite Moment: There were a plethora of excellent scenes this week and I could not for the life of me decide which one to choose. But nothing broke me the way Hank telling Justin “you did good.” Voight’s not the man who can easily show emotion, but when he does, it’s moments like this that speak louder than any tearful breakdown. It felt like an authentic showcase of gratitude and adoration — no one was watching him, no one was with him, it was simply a moment between father and son where there was a type of tragically beautiful peace. Voight will not find peace for a while, and despite his decision to kill the murderer, losing his son is bound to impact him tremendously. Justin can be found in his child, Justin can be found in Voight’s heart, but the void he’s left isn’t going to go away. But nonetheless, I loved the fact that in this moment, he chose to remind his son just how proud he is. Justin may have been troubled, but Voight’s loved and believed him unconditionally. Beghe made sure we saw that despite everything between them, he’s always been proud of his son — he’s believed in him, and whether Justin can hear or not, he needs him to know that.

Most Noteworthy Performance: Much like the category above, I had a great deal of difficulty choosing the performer of the week. But it was in that final moment that Sophia Bush conveyed a colossal whirlwind of emotions masterfully. Bush made me believe that Erin was not only genuinely concerned for Hank’s well-being but for the very first time, she was terrified. She was in a place where she knew she couldn’t do anything, but she needed to try anyway and that determination alone was riveting. And Bush was able to showcase a plethora of heart-shattering emotions through Erin’s perplexity and grief beautifully. All throughout the episode Bush exhibited each of Erin’s emotions organically never once making it feel forced or overdramatic. As a performer, it was one of Bush’s strongest episodes as an actress.

Worth Mentioning:

  • I honestly did not imagine Roman would actually leave. And this often happens to characters when we grow to care for them most. I may not have preferred Roman and Burgess as a couple, but I enjoyed their partnership, and I cared for his character individually. However, while it’s sad to lose a character and an actor, the reason he chose to leave was wonderful. If the police force didn’t need him, he didn’t need them and that shows exemplary character. Why stay there and let his future pass when he could ultimately set new goals for himself? And his goodbyes with the unit, especially Ruzek have left an incredibly lasting impression on me. I didn’t think those two would find common ground for a while, but the fact that Roman chose to approach him and Adam reciprocated by standing up showcases revolutionary growth. It’s fleeting moments like this, which always remind me of why I love this show so much. There’s heart in this unit. And there’s heart between these characters. But most importantly, at the end of the day, it all comes down to respect — an emotion Geraghty and Flueger projected remarkably with very few words.
  • I loved the fact that Antonio was offered the Sergeant’s position, but most importantly, I loved the way he stood up for Voight before realizing what was happening. This unit is tight-knit, there’s no way they’d ever betray one another. And while I’m not sure where the storyline will go, I’m certain whatever choice is made will make for fascinating storytelling.
  • I could always appreciate moments of comfort, and the scenes with Voight/Olisnky plus Erin/Kim were marvelous as a viewer. Each person needed to be comforted by a friend they trusted and adored which charitably ended in gut-wrenching performances for all parties.
  • I was genuinely upset at the fact that Voight sent his team to another location. And while I understood why he did it, for the very first time, they didn’t feel like a team and that shattered me.

Thank you all for another fantastic season. I will more than likely be returning to review the series next season, but I’m not too sure if we’ll keep this structure or go back to our old format. I suppose the decision will be made during the hiatus. I can’t thank you all enough for the kind words and encouragement. It’s been a wonderful season and I hope you all have an extraordinary Summer/Winter wherever you are.

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