Chicago PD season 5, episode 12 recap: Captive

CHICAGO P.D. -- "Captive" Episode 512 -- Pictured: Jon Seda as Antonio Dawson -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC)
CHICAGO P.D. -- "Captive" Episode 512 -- Pictured: Jon Seda as Antonio Dawson -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC) /

Chicago PD brings the focus and the pain onto Kevin Atwater in this week’s episode. Here’s what happened in Chicago PD season 5, episode 12.

Wednesday’s Chicago PD could’ve been called The Kevin Atwater Show, and we would’ve been fine with that, because another great performance from LaRoyce Hawkins was the highlight of this episode.

Season 5, Episode 12 is called “Captive” and opens as everyone is expecting to kick off their weekend with a bang, including Trudy Platt (Amy Morton), who is celebrating her birthday but doesn’t really want to celebrate it.

Atwater is planning on coming to her get-together, but then gets a phone call so he misses Platt doing karaoke, which may be one of our favorite Chicago PD moments ever. Ever.

Where is Atwater? He’s at somebody’s house that’s just been broken into, and when he walks in the door, he gets a gun in his ear. Kevin Atwater will most definitely not be partying this weekend, as he’s told it’s “time to pay for your sins.” Yep, this was a setup, and a big one.

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The next day, Adam Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger) has reported that Atwater didn’t come home and didn’t show up for work either. Platt checks his phone, and gets the address of the tossed hours, which is in the name of Joe Baker—a known drug dealer who is also missing.

But Atwater isn’t there when they get there, except for his badge and a spot of blood from being knocked unconscious.

"Voight: This leaks, they find out Kevin’s a cop, he’s a dead man."

The search for Joe is short-lived: Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos) finds video of him being beaten up on social media, with Atwater chained up in the background. It’s clear that there are two perpetrators, who have a very public plan for these two.

It would help if the two of them could get on the same page, but that’s unlikely to happen as Joe (guest star Mekhi Phifer) calls Atwater “the man who murdered my son.”

Burgess gives Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) and us all of the backstory about Joe’s son Ronnie, who pulled a gun in the middle of a past case and Atwater had to shoot him. Voight also orders the team to pick up Joe’s sister Michelle, who claims she’s not involved—she called Atwater to check on her brother, not knowing what she was having him walk into.

Back in the abandoned church where our hero’s being held, the perpetrator tells Joe and Atwater he wants his drugs back, which is probably referring to the kilo of cocaine Intelligence plucked out of Joe’s garage. And he’s willing to put a bullet in Joe when the other man gets mouthy.

Antonio Dawson (Jon Seda) notices that the bad guys have used Joe’s debit card, and he and Platt deduce that they’ll wait until Monday, when they can get a whopping $19,000 out of his account. So now they have a time frame, while Joe and Kevin continue to argue over Joe’s son’s death.

"Joe: The city gave me 20 G’s. That shows and proves you’re a damn murderer."

Atwater tearfully insists that he thinks about Joe’s son every night before he goes to bed—but he also thinks about the clerk who Joe’s son robbed, too. Joe doesn’t seem to care about that, and he threatens to tell the perps that Atwater is a cop, just for a little bit of revenge.

To stop him from doing that, Atwater not only says he’s a drug dealer, but claims he’s the one who stole the cocaine to begin with. That, unfortunately, gets our hero a power drill in the leg, which is only slightly more disturbing than last night’s power saw amputating a leg.

Meanwhile, Antonio and Burgess interrogate the woman that Joe was last seen with. She says she was paid off by a guy named Morales, whom Joe stole the drugs from a few weeks earlier. The girl drugged Joe and met up with Morales to turn him over.

Furthermore, Antonio finds the fingerprints of Joe’s friend Calvin Hill on the cocaine, so Voight has Calvin put in the cage for some next-level interrogation, in which he admits it all. While that’s going on, Atwater’s made the bad guys think he can get them even more money, so they allow him to make one phone call. But dialing with a gun to your head is a bit difficult.

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Who does Atwater call? It’s Ruzek, on his CI phone so his partner knows that he’s playing a part. The two negotiate an exchange to take place in two hours. Luckily, Voight has a lot of money in his basement.

But the plan backfires because Morales’s man doesn’t take the cash to Morales directly; he takes it someplace else. That forces Intelligence to have to move in on him immediately, but not before he tells Morales he’s been caught.

Antonio shoots him when he thinks the man could shoot Burgess, leaving Ruzek to desperately demand to know where Kevin is before the guy dies. An upset Ruzek turns on Antonio:

"Ruzek: Why’d you do that? You just killed Kevin, man."

With no leads and now no time, Chicago PD has the Intelligence Unit just start searching every church that they can find. They’d better get there fast, because Atwater has managed to escape and get into a battle with Morales for the gun. It’s a battle that he’s losing until—you probably guessed this—Joe comes to the rescue by shooting Morales with the service weapon he took off Atwater, that was knocked away in the fight.

Before you go applauding him, though, Joe puts the gun to Atwater’s head and demands to know the full story of his son’s shooting. Chicago PD wraps up “Captive” with Atwater trying to convince Joe to put the gun down, because he sees the rest of Intelligence coming into the room, and does not want him to die, too.

Luckily, Joe makes a different choice than his son, and drops the weapon.

Atwater asks Voight to cut Joe a break on the stolen drugs; Voight says that it was all Calvin’s fault. Burgess gives Atwater a giant hug, and so does Platt. Then there’s Ruzek and Antonio, who make up like dudes, with a handshake and a bro-hug.

In the last few minutes, Joe is lying in a recovery room at the hospital when Atwater visits. He tells Kevin that his son’s last words, about not getting on his knees for anyone, were words that he put into his son’s head. Therefore, he now feels responsible for his son’s death, instead of blaming Atwater. And he cries, and let’s just get it all out at the end of a surprisingly depressing (but still awesome) episode.

“Captive” is a slightly different episode for Chicago PD, in that the scenes between Mekhi Phifer and LaRoyce Hawkins feel like a two-person play. We could have done an entire episode of just those two guys in the room, and it would have been fascinating TV.

While that’s not in the plan, this still ends up being a strong outing for Chicago PD season 5 as it does give plenty of screen time to these two great performances. Not only that, but the personal nature of the storyline allows for some heightened scenes among the rest of the case, particularly Marina Squerciati.

Obviously the entire team is upset that Atwater is missing, but everyone would expect Burgess to be the most affected, and Squerciati runs with that. Any time a TV show makes things personal, it always allows for more emotional exchanges between characters, and everybody comes to play in “Captive.”

Another plus for Chicago PD is that it reveals something surprising about Atwater, but it’s a reveal that makes sense and adds to his character. It doesn’t feel out of place, like Halstead’s hooking up with a drug dealer. It’s not a very bad idea, like Ruzek turning into a mole. It’s just an incident in his past where he had to make a judgment call, and he had to live with it.

“Captive” isn’t a huge, dramatic episode and it’s not a game-changer in the big picture. It’s just a good, solid episode with a well-written plot and wonderful performances, and that showcases the best of what the One Chicago universe is.

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What did you think of this week’s Chicago PD episode? Leave us your reaction to “Captive” in the comments.

Chicago PD airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on NBC.