TV Review: Chicago PD Season 1 Episode 6 "Conventions"

Chicago PD's crossover episode with Law and Order SVU is here. I should intro the case.

Fin and Rollins come to Chicago to help with a serial killer/rapist who struck twice in NY with no witnesses or evidence, and now has resurfaced in Chicago.

There were some hiccups. For those who must know what happened with the case, this is what happened essentially:

-Patrol River Walk area, catch pickpocket
-He remembers guy in running gear with nice watch
-Jin compared attendance at trade show in NY and in Chicago
-Pickpocket picks out guy from attendance photos who was at both shows
-Jay and Lindsay interrogate him. New victim turns up when he was questioned, seemingly removing him from suspect list
-Victim recalls a mask, jabbed rapist in eye with her thumb. Voight says check clinics/hospitals
-Burgess called pharmacies - one had a match for the description with credit card hotel charges in NY and Chicago.
-Ruzek and Olinsky recognize trade show guy who shows up at new perp's hotel.

They capture the trade show guy.
-Hotel Clerk said trade show guy was asking what room the new perp Vance was staying in.
-Voight puts trade show guy in cage, cuts his ear. Trade show guy gives up a location on Vance before Voight cuts his ear off.
-Team surrounds area.

Ruzek gets into standoff with Vance who has hostage at knife point. Olinsky shoots him with a rifle.
-Lindsay tells surviving victim what happened.

Pretty typical SVU stuff. I did like the red herring (trade show guy) actually turning out to be the accomplice. Usually it's ALL SIGNS POINT TO THIS CREEPY GUY AS THE RAPIST ON THIS SVU EPISODE! Then boom: security cameras provide his alibi. But nope, turns out this guy really was the creepy partner.

I liked Olinsky shooting the actual rapist at the end too, that was sweet. Voight's torture scene where he almost cut the ear off that guy was cool too. I was hoping for a Van Gogh reference though. Ah well.

This was a pretty heavily promoted crossover. Let's get some things straight about what we got.

There was some great character development I'll speak on later, but mostly it was your typical SVU script. They brought in Kelli Giddish who plays Amanda Rollins and Ice-T who plays Fin on the show. I haven't seen episodes regularly, but Rollins mostly provided profiling and analysis into the mind of the serial killer/rapist.

To me, who has seen a lot of SVU, it felt like the role B.D. Wong played - George Huang.

The difference being Huang was a psychiatrist on the show. Not knowing Rollins' background, I don't have much other than to just offer up that observation.

My main gripe with the crossover was unlike other crossovers Chicago Fire and Chicago PD have done, the characters who crossover this episode weren't integrated. From the first scene on the SVU set, Fin tells Rollins he gave the case files and he isn't sure what else they can do. Rollins replies with something like "that's why we're off to Chicago!" Now, that makes sense.

They know the case the best. Many murder cases on TV sometimes have a different division or "expert" brought in who is the tipping point in getting him.

At the very least, they should provide information that the characters on Chicago PD couldn't deduce themselves.

Like I alluded to, Rollins and Fin definitely had lines in the episode, but what they were saying basically reduced them to wallpaper in their scenes.

Yes, scheduling probably prohibited them from going outside of the main squad room set and Molly's. That doesn't mean they couldn't have provided key insight into the case.

Rollins mostly profiled the killer, going on about the five personalities of yada yada. She spoke on that and the fact that a trade show convention was happening in NY when the killer struck, and now is seemingly in Chicago at the same time the killer is.

All stuff that A) was probably in their notes and B) could have been obtained by calling her up and going "hey profile that guy you were trying to catch for us".

Fin, as much as I love Ice-T didn't offer up much other than typical and rather obvious comments about serial killers.

Comments that fall into this category include Fin saying that the killer probably cuts off the right ear of his victims for a souvenir, and the fact that the killer will act quickly now knowing a victim survived.

Now am I knocking this episode? Yes and no. What they did was hugely ambitious. And for the most part it worked.

However, like I said about a certain part of Chicago Fire's episode, they could have knocked it out of the park. This was maybe a triple.

Not a clean one either - the runner had to slide for it. Okay, enough baseball metaphors.

Seriously though, if I didn't have any kind of screenwriting background, or story structure experience, this probably doesn't bother me. But it is a gift and curse - I'll always be looking for ways I would have done things differently. And that is okay. That doesn't take away from the fact that this was super awesome. Put Ice-T's Law and Order character in something, you automatically raise the swagger level.

Perhaps my standards were too high - Law and Order will always be Law and Order - every pedestrian they pull off the street will automatically remember every person they ran into in the city for the last week. This person will give up this person, that seemingly unimportant character turns out to be the key to the case, etc. You get it.

I just couldn't help but feel like Fin and Rollins were window dressing for squad room scenes. Maybe that's all that they needed to do? And what is the solution to that? I don't know. Two episode arc?

Any strange taste I got from certain SVU characters in scenes not offering much did in no way take away from how awesome this was. Everyone involved should feel proud of what they pulled off.

There was part of the script that I loved. Lindsay runs into a high school ex friend at the airport (coming back from NY, and her SVU arc...) who brings up an upcoming high school reunion.

She recruits Jay to be her fake husband for the event. After scheming his background as a millionaire early investor in Facebook, they both arrive at the reunion only for Lindsay to quickly recognize she doesn't belong there.

We then cut to an intimate setting with Lindsay and Jay. She explains her situation with the girls: after Voight brought her in as a CI and then later into his family with his wife when Lindsay was 16, she enrolled in high school as his "god daughter". When in reality her mother was a junkie and her dad was in jail. She was part of the group, until they found out the truth about her past and turned on her. She explained to Jay that she couldn't do anything about it, because Voight called in favors into that high school to get her enrolled, and she couldn't risk getting kicked out.

They then briefly held hands, until Lindsay said "we can't." She followed up with "maybe one day". Jay replied "oh definitely" in a sarcastic but serious manner. This is an interesting space for these two characters - their relationship which is blossoming is moving past "just partners" which is already strong enough as it is.

I'd like to see some episodes that have a focus on one character having to go above and beyond to save another.

Whether it be putting themselves in personal danger or doing something Voight would do, this deepening bond between the two of them should be put on display.

They showed us how deep it is and how deep it can go, now it's time to make it shine.

We end this episode with Voight's son going to Lindsay with bloody hands. Nice cliffhanger.

Whew, I think that's it. All in all, great episode.

Yeah I grumbled about the execution, but I was smiling ear-to-ear when everyone was on the screen together. When it all comes down to it, isn't that the only thing that really matters?

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