TV Review: ‘Chicago PD’

"Chicago PD" TV Review on NBC

Dick Wolf's latest NBC franchise sets Miranda rights back about 50 years

Dick Wolf is no stranger to taking a success — even a moderate one — and spinning it off into franchises. So “Chicago Fire,” his NBC drama, begets “Chicago PD,” a series distinguished primarily by its solid casting and Jason Beghe’s performance as a cop who loves his city almost as much as he relishes beating information out of suspects. If some of NBC’s procedural development has felt like CBS Lite, file this one under CBS Dark — which could end up doing for the Windy City, for good or ill, what “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” did for New York.

Snarling like Batman minus the cowl at bad guys (“Stay out of my city,” he tells one whimpering low-life), Beghe’s Det. Hank Voight made his debut in “Fire” as a ruthless cop, and eventually won redemption — or at least a second chance — as the head of an intelligence unit within the Chicago Police Dept.

Even with supposed carte blanche to run his unit, Voight still operates under the watchful eye of his captain (“The Wire’s” Robert Wisdom), and wrestles with the usual politics of such situations. That can make his take-no-prisoners attitude a problem, and he tries to run interference for his subordinates, who wind up in a whole lot of harrowing situations, including an opening two-parter that puts a family member in jeopardy.

That “Chicago PD” braves a slightly serialized element shouldn’t obscure its fairly simple roots, which is to say that the criminals are so bad they require a response that doesn’t just bend the rules of policing, but rather obliterates them.

At the same time, writer Matt Olmstead seeks to humanize Voight through the fact that he truly cares about his team (“OK, everybody, vest up”) and goes the extra mile to help a young kid caught up in a nefarious crowd (a subplot also spread over multiple hours). It’s only when those kids grow up, apparently, that he likes beating information out of them, or feels justified throwing one of his gang a knife as he questions a suspect, barking to his colleague, “Do what you gotta do!”

The well-traveled Beghe nevertheless convincingly sells the gravelly voiced tough-guy routine, and “Chicago PD” plays to the cathartic aspects of crime-fighting, provided one tries not to think too much about terms like “enhanced interrogation techniques.” And the show is aided by having the likes of Jon Seda, Elias Koteas and Sophia Bush on the case, even if most of the plotting has a musty and manipulative aroma.

As for NBC, the series is assigned a mission almost as simple as Voight’s “Clean up the city” mandate: Improve the 10 p.m. timeslot where “Ironside” ran into a ditch, or die trying.

Like Voight’s task force, it’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

TV Review: 'Chicago PD'

(Series; NBC, Wed. Jan. 8, 10 p.m.)


Filmed in Chicago by Wolf Films and Universal Television.


Executive producers, Dick Wolf, Matt Olmstead, Michael Brandt, Derek Haas, Danielle Gelber, Peter Jankowski, Mark Tinker; co-executive producers, Arthur Forney, David Hoselton; supervising producer, Jason Wilborn; producers, Maisha Closson, Michele Greco; director, Mike Slovis; writer, Olmstead; camera, Rohn Schmidt; production designer, Gregory Van Horn; casting, Jonathan Strauss, Claire Simon. 60 MIN.


Jason Beghe, Jon Seda, Sophia Bush, Jesse Lee Soffer, Patrick Flueger, Marina Squerciati, LaRoyce Hawkins, Archie Kao, Elias Koteas

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  1. Jon Hoppe says:

    Jon Hoppe says
    I agree with Roy that the music is way too loud and annoying. When someone is talking it should have a quite background so we can hear what they are saying!
    Your attention to this will be appreciated I look forward to improvement or I will have to watch something else.
    Thank You
    Jon Hoppe

  2. ROY LINDER says:

    all shows are excellent but hard to hear .music to loud
    Will Chicago Fire and pd continue


  3. Marilyn says:

    Watching Beghe throughout his career, it’s nice to see him get some recognition.

    This show seems like an excellent vehicle to showcase his talents.

    • Bob from denver says:

      The show seemed like it could be pretty good. However, the background music is so laud and intrusive that it make the show unwatchable. who wants to work that hard and hearing the dialogue. My wife gave up half way through and went to bed. I finished watching but lost interest for the same reason.
      Law and Order has the same problem. They need to fire the sound editor.

      • tobysunny says:

        If the sound was bad they would have taken the show off by now. Maybe it’s you TV.

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