Chicago PD Season 11 Episode 7 Review: The Living and the Dead

Reviews, Television News

How much pain can one person take?

When it comes to Hank Voight, Chicago PD pushes the limits, subjecting the man to so much pain and heartbreak and dooming him with what feels like a lifetime of loneliness.

There’s a darkness to the series that hasn’t let up, and Chicago PD Season 11 Episode 7 was one of the darkest installments to date.

Whoever this serial killer is, may he believe in a God that has mercy on his soul because Hank Voight is coming for him.

And the last thing on Voight’s mind is “mercy.”

By the end of the hour, with that slick closeup of Jason Beghe, with a dark shadow cast over him and darkness in his eyes, it’s evident that Voight has potentially reached a point of no return.

It felt like we watched this man break in real-time.

A sea of emotions overtook him as he stared down in that oil drum at the body of a boy that reminded him so much of his son.

But the most dominant one that may make its way to the surface is a level of fury so deep that there’s no telling what comes next.

For so long, viewers have wondered and speculated about Voight’s evolution and wondered if there was ever a possibility that he would show shadows of his former self, the man with no limits.

Instead, over the years, we’ve seen him show a level of restraint that is unlike the cop we knew in Chicago PD Season 1 and certainly far from who we met during his introduction in Chicago Fire.

Voight: Every wound the sisters had matched Noah’s.
Hailey: So you’re saying we have a serial killer?

But with so much piling on, Voight is on his way to snapping, and there’s little restraint he has left.

I don’t foresee a world where he can pull himself back from the edge after the umpteenth traumatic loss.

And when you think about what this man has endured over time, he’s prime to lose his shit completely.

He lost the love of his life and hasn’t found anything close to that ever since. Erin left him, his beloved Jason died, and his grandchild is gone as well.

Related: Chicago Fire Season 12 Episode 7 Review: Red Flag

Voight lost his best friend, Olinsky, and has tremendous guilt over that. He’s also had people who came close to keeping from going over the edge, Dawson and Halstead, depart mainly because the job became too much for THEM.

Anna’s death was something from which he could barely recover, and around that time, we saw him exude more emotion than usual regarding his team members.

We also saw how the prospect of nearly losing Ruzek haunted him during Chicago PD Season 11 Episode 1.

But he formed this instant connection with Noah. He opened his heart and home to this young man, taking him in and letting down some of the walls he’s had up for as long as we’ve known him.

We saw the softer side to Voight as he tapped into that paternal side he hasn’t been able to properly display since his son died.

He opened up to Noah in a way he hadn’t with anyone in years, and he acknowledged how much of Justin he saw in Noah.

To have one more person who mattered to him ripped away in such a violent fashion is so gutwrenching and heartless there aren’t any words to adequately convey the level of emotions it stirs up.

It’s nasty, nasty work.

The pain of this situation will not go away. Voight was able to save Noah, but that wasn’t enough; he still lost him anyway to a sadistic creep they were not close to catching.

If Voight were any other person, I’d wonder what kept them from curling up in bed and never leaving a room again while drowning in pain, heartbreak, and an intense grief that never seems to let up.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d think the writers took some sick joy out of piling on the suffering of this character.

What’s alarming is that the series has a penchant for not properly exploring how this job affects the characters mentally and emotionally.

They typically touch on it briefly for a single installment and move on, but with an ongoing case like this, we’ll need to see the fallout of it and how this profoundly impacts Voight.

The hour combined the Criminal Minds-level darkness that the series has taken on recently with the promise of an extended case that may last for the full season.

There are some advantages to that, and we’ve commended both occasionally during previous episodes.

The hour also featured the entire team, even though it was mainly focused on Voight. And they were working diligently on the case together, which was great.

Noah: I need to talk to you, don’t I?
Voight: Yeah. I want to give you time. I know you need time, but Noah, this offender, he’s out there, right now.

The series needs more of the team working together simultaneously, and it balances things out better.

The hour also introduced us to an unofficial profiler, Jo, who could run down her impression of the killer and what his actions mean to make sense of and find him.

Jo is already a fascinating character, and I’m intrigued enough to want to see more of her.

She appeared to be in her own world, but once Voight mentioned they had a serial killer, she was all in and didn’t waste any time breaking things down.

So much of what she says makes sense, too, and I’m intrigued by what she can offer to this case or potential others.

Finding the bodies in the oil drums and realizing they were sisters was the best indicator that the perpetrator was playing some sick game.

And we should’ve known the moment we heard about eyes stapled open that the killer wanted his victims to see the pain he was inflicting on the people they loved.

My heart broke for Noah. We opened with a series of nights where Voight had to listen to this poor young man scream in his sleep due to nightmares.

Related: Chicago PD Review: Survival

And Voight could barely get Noah to talk before Noah would start hyperventilating and freaking out.

They managed to do a lot of heavy lifting on their own, especially when pursuing the sex work angle that unfortunately had them striking a deal with Tovar and taking down a perverted judge.

But they didn’t make any progress until Voight finally got Noah to talk about what happened to him in an environment where he felt safe.

Again, I must commend Bobby Hogan for an exceptional performance as Noah.

You know, sometimes you remind me of my son. There are so many things about him I don’t like thinking about. He died. I don’t like thinking about it because it hurts. So, sometimes I try not to think about it at all, but I don’t think that’s right. Maybe we owe it to them to think about things because we’re still here.

Voight

His performance throughout the whole story was phenomenal, but the scene, especially when he explained what happened to him and his boyfriend Paul, was positively riveting.

He had you hanging to his every word and itching to hug him in what had to be a physically and emotionally exhausting monologue full of such heavy and dark content that I felt I needed a break after it.

And that’s the consensus for the hour. The entire case and the tone were so heavy.

Understandably, it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and the hour certainly won’t alleviate those critiquing the series for the dark and gritty direction it has taken in recent years.

The creep factor was high as well. From the bluer shading and lighting to the return of the stapled open eyes and (interesting) camera angles and shots of bodies in the morgue or oil drums, the installment felt eerily reminiscent of an episode of The Killing.

It’s evident that, unlike Torres’ case with the cartel wife, this serial killer is an ongoing season-long case.

And I don’t know how much more my heart can take of it.

We only had Noah for a short while. It was difficult to see how much pain he was in, learn of his background, and know that he was so resistant to getting the help that he deserved.

He can’t stay at your house forever, Hank. It’s going to make things complicated for the jury.

Chapman

And it was heartbreaking to hear how determined he was to get to Paul, the only person he loved anymore, even after he knew Paul was dead the last time he saw him.

Noah’s death was such a tragedy, and it was the first in a long time that initiated that same gut punch feeling we had when Voight saw his own dead son in that trunk.

They were angling for the same thing, initiating that feeling for Voight all over again.

But again, one asks: how much pain can one man take before he breaks? And what does this mean for Voight moving forward?

It’s a point of concern, and despite how much he cares about the team and how close Chapman has gotten to him, no one can pull him back from the edge after this.

Over to you, Chicago PD Fanatics. How disturbing and shocking was that ending? How do you feel about this ongoing case? Has the series gone too far with Voight’s pain? Sound off below!

Chicago PD airs on NBC on Wednesdays at 10/9c. You can stream the following day on Peacock.

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is an insomniac who spends late nights and early mornings binge-watching way too many shows and binge-drinking way too much tea. Her eclectic taste makes her an unpredictable viewer with an appreciation for complex characters, diverse representation, dynamic duos, compelling stories, and guilty pleasures. You’ll definitely find her obsessively live-tweeting, waxing poetic, and chatting up fellow Fanatics and readers. Follow her on X.

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