Sunday’s Summer Rewind is Chicago Justice star Philip Winchester in The Player and we’re at the series finale. Here’s what happened in Season 1, Episode 9.
Today’s Summer Rewind features Chicago Justice star Philip Winchester in The Player, and this is it: the end. The last episode of the series that put Winchester on NBC’s radar to become the star of Chicago Justice. So it’s bittersweet, for two reasons.
REMINDER: The One Chicago Center Summer Rewind program is spotlighting previously aired TV series featuring One Chicago stars for the enjoyment of fans over hiatus.
Episode 9 is called “Tell” and it starts with Alex Kane (Winchester) in a high-speed motorcycle chase. Alex runs out of patience and shoots the tire out on the motorcycle in front of him, before adding another bullet into the guy who was on it.
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That’s three bets in a row he’s won, and Mr. Johnson (Wesley Snipes) thinks Alex is starting to enjoy his job too much. We find out quickly that Alex is faking it in order to keep Johnson busy while he and Cassandra (Charity Wakefield) keep looking for Alex’s ex-wife.
Cassandra tells Alex that the key he has opens a storage locker outside of town. The two go there and discover that the locker appears to be full of all the old stuff you’d find in a storage locker. But why is there an envelope with his name on it?
Things get weirder still when Alex gets back to his apartment. He’s delivered a burner cell phone and a book on “disappearing acts.” The phone rings with someone claiming to have information on his ex-wife’s absence. What the heck?
But he isn’t the only one in trouble. That annoyingly pesky FBI agent Rose Nolan (recurring guest star KaDee Strickland) has managed to come up with an image of Cassandra, and she wants Cal Brown (Damon Gupton) to help her find her. Cal is roped into it because she tells him it could save Alex’s life, and despite everything he’s still BFF’s with Alex.
Yet he doesn’t know that Johnson is listening in…
The Player cuts to Cassandra in Alex’s apartment, looking over his newly arrived care package. She’s as skeptical as he is as they research Jack Fuller (Jeff Fahey), who happens to have a knack for making people disappear. Alex believes he’s the man that he saw with his ex-wife in the last known footage of her. So how are they going to find Fuller? Cassandra has a lethal idea:
Cassandra: We force a new bet.
So the next day, Johnson discovers that Alex has requested a round of The Game. This is highly suspicious and so is Fuller’s face on the big screen. Johnson’s new bet is for Alex to find Fuller before he leaves the country, which is obviously exactly what Alex wants to do himself. But it’s also clear that someone tipped off Fuller and it’s strongly implied that person is Johnson.
But now The Player has to lay the groundwork. Alex discovers that all of the people Fuller has recently faked identities for have the same new birthplace. This hole in the wall place in Utah also happens to be home to a federal building where the government is digitizing all of its paper, which makes it a great place to make things up.
Alex goes to said federal building and confronts the drone working in the basement. The drone gives him Fuller’s new alias: Eric Cameron. Alex uses that name and Cal’s badge number to alert the cops, not knowing that Cassandra is being abducted and thrown into the back of a van. It’s almost always a van.
She’s brought to another random government building so Nolan and Cal can interrogate her. Of course, Nolan’s techniques are much more rough than Cal’s, or even human decency. She subjects Cassandra to an incredibly invasive search and has her drugged so that she can’t see.
While all this craziness is going on The Player shows us Johnson meeting with his superiors (yes, he has bosses). He admits that he has a “personal asset” involved in the bet and is worried about Fuller being compromised. The Big Boss chastizes him but allows the bet to continue.
Nolan begins to interrogate Cassandra, who not only knows who she is but knows that Cal is also there. Cassandra calls both of them out just as Cal gets a phone call telling him where the suspect he’s looking for is at.
It doesn’t take him five seconds to figure out who really put out the alert, and so here’s Alex grabbing Fuller at the airport. If only Fuller hadn’t just used his Marshals access to plaster Alex’s face on wanted posters all over the place too.
Fuller thinks he’s in the clear once he gets onto his airplane, but Johnson is waiting for him there. After Cal questions Cassandra about the previous Players before Alex and then snipes at Nolan for how she “deliberately misled” him, Cassandra steals a gun and frees herself. However, she gets caught off guard by Nolan talking about the murder of a British family in the 90’s and a person of interest that sounds a lot like Johnson.
Cal: What the hell was that?
While Cassandra escapes with a death glare, Cal finally gets around to calling Alex out on his use of his badge. He confronts his friend with what he’s just learned about Cassandra and Alex very firmly tells him to STFU. He couldn’t be more right because while they’re on the phone, another car tries to take a shot at Cal.
Alex desperately rushes to his friend’s side but Cal is outnumbered by the hit squad, one of whom is revealed to be Jack Fuller. By the time Alex arrives Cal has been shot and is bleeding badly. He’s panicky as he races his friend to the hospital, and he blames Johnson for the hit and Cassandra for knowing about it. He goes back to the Occam and tries to kill Johnson in return.
In what is The Player‘s best fight sequence and best scene ever, Johnson not only says he did not have Cal shot but puts Alex in his place. At least until Cassandra shows up pointing a gun at the both of them.
Johnson takes this opportunity to tell both of them that there are bigger enemies coming and the only chance they all have at survival is if they work together. Alex tells him that he’s on his own, and reiterates that information to Cassandra, before he goes to see Cal at the hospital. Cal burns his own bridge, telling Alex that he doesn’t want to be involved in any of this after what he’s seen today.
Cal: I’m pretty sure I broke the law. I damn well know I broke my own moral code. I did it for you. My friend. I thought your life was in danger so I did what I thought I had to do. And what do I get in return?
Damon Gupton is exceptional in this moment, and so is Philip Winchester. The Player had this beating heart of character underneath it and it wasn’t always explored or given enough credit. But these scenes were so good when they were there particularly between Gupton and Winchester.
Cassandra and Johnson discuss her interrogation, which it turns out they had planned so that they could get information out of Nolan. She urges him to make up with Alex, so Johnson lets himself into Alex’s apartment again and allows him to interrogate Fuller. This is where Alex Kane goes off the deep end in a way that Peter Stone on Chicago Justice would never stand for.
At gunpoint Fuller tells him that Alex’s ex-wife came to him, not the other way around. He has no idea where she is, just that she was scared of somebody, which jibes with what we’ve heard for episodes now. But it doesn’t make Alex feel any better. He realizes that no one knows, or has ever known, where his ex-wife is. Everything he’s been through over all of The Player has been for nothing.
That is, until he returns to that storage locker and discovers his ex-wife was hiding an entire cache full of weaponry. She has enough for a small army and we will never know why.
“Tell” is an awesome end to The Player even though it was never meant to be the end. It has so many revelations in it that completely change the way the show looks. You would never see a rocket launcher on Chicago Justice and even by Chicago PD standards, that interrogation is tough to watch.
But this was a really good show that didn’t get the chance to develop to its full potential and this episode shows that. Who knows how much further it could have built the characters or what else was hiding? And it shows a completely different side of Philip Winchester, while also giving us a lot of the same characteristics that made him perfect for Chicago Justice. Hopefully you enjoyed this, and got a better appreciation of his talent along the way.
What did you think of this week’s episode of The Player? Let us know what you thought of “Tell” in the comments. Remember that you can watch any of the past episodes by streaming this series on Hulu.