Chicago PD season 5, episode 18 recap: Ghosts

CHICAGO P.D. -- "Ghosts" Episode 518 -- Pictured: (l-r) Tracy Spiridakos as Hailey Upton, Titus Welliver as Ronald Booth -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC)
CHICAGO P.D. -- "Ghosts" Episode 518 -- Pictured: (l-r) Tracy Spiridakos as Hailey Upton, Titus Welliver as Ronald Booth -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC) /

Did Chicago PD finally reveal Hailey Upton’s history? Did she damage her future? Here’s what happened in Chicago PD season 5, episode 18.

This week’s Chicago PD put the spotlight back on Hailey Upton, telling us about her undercover past while also unfolding a new story about her present—and making us wonder about her future.

The episode is called “Ghosts” and opens with Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) telling Alvin Olinsky (Elias Koteas) that he’ll turn himself in should Olinsky face charges. But they only get to talk about that for a few minutes, because there’s a drug bust in the works.

Unfortunately for the Intelligence team it goes badly wrong, and one of the victims turns out to be a man whom Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos) knows from her time undercover. She wonders if the man she was undercover busting, Ron Booth, is back in business.

Booth (guest star Titus Welliver) becomes the prime suspect and Upton suggests that she goes back undercover to get into his warehouse. After all, Booth still knows her as an Iowa girl named Kelly.

More from One Chicago Center

But Booth could have killed her then-partner—a fact that doesn’t escape the notice of her current partner Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer).

Upton segues back into Booth’s graces at the funeral of their mutual acquaintance, but is stunned to find him inside her cover apartment when she gets back. This is why Titus Welliver is fantastic, because he can play creepy and cagey at the same time while Booth gives Upton her first assignment.

"Booth: It’s good to see you again, Kelly."

On his orders, Upton picks up a package. She also spots Booth’s nephew tailing her to make sure she doesn’t screw up. He’s the second person to make reference to something that happened at a New Year’s Eve party. She lets him go, before turning in the package and earning her brownie points.

Meanwhile, Antonio Dawson (Jon Seda) takes care of Booth’s buyer by staging a drive-by shooting. That opens the door for Upton to introduce Halstead as a new buyer named Ryan (his favorite alias, apparently—he also used it earlier in Chicago PD season 5 with Camila).

While she’s doing that Halstead is digging into his partner’s past. He arranges a meeting with her case officer from her undercover term, and is told to “let it go,” but Jay’s not going to do that. We don’t hear what comes next, but he immediately calls Upton and shows her photos of her looking badly beaten on New Year’s Eve. He’s all of us when he says:

"Halstead: What the hell happened?"

Upton admits that at Booth’s New Year’s Eve party, he drunkenly tried to rape her. She got away from him before he could, and her then-partner got her to the hospital. She convinces him to let her continue with the operation, even though Halstead points out she was deservedly skeptical when the tables were turned.

She charms Booth’s nephew into giving her the key to his office, but narrowly avoids being busted when Booth returns only moments after she plants a surveillance camera. He threatens her with a knife, then takes her phone when Halstead tries to call her. Luckily, Jay rolls with this and uses it to make his own introduction.

He and Upton meet with Booth that night, but Booth wants to talk to “Ryan” alone. And he has a gun to make his point. But after asking if “Ryan” slept with Kelly, Booth kicks Halstead to the curb, and Jay can tell that Booth has an obsessive interest in Kelly—something that prompts Voight to order the shut down of the entire operation.

And if Voight is calling off a gig, that’s saying something.

Watch One Chicago on fuboTV: Watch over 67 live sports and entertainment channels with a 7-day FREE trial!

But Upton doesn’t listen. She doesn’t show up to help Halstead clear out her apartment and she doesn’t answer his call. Halstead rolls up to Booth’s warehouse just as Upton has convinced him that Ryan is married and the two of them can “connect.” With him no longer a romantic rival and having a trunk full of cash, Booth agrees to a deal.

Halstead, on the other hand, is furious about Upton going off book and the two of them have a shouting match back at the apartment. He calls her “too emotional” and wonders if he can trust her. But at this point, they’re in this to win it.

Jay covers for Hailey by telling Voight that Booth contacted him and not the other way round, and Voight agrees to let their meeting proceed. But Booth decides he needs to check Upton for a wire, which is really more groping her. Halstead tries to defend his partner; Booth’s nephew pulls a gun and gets shot.

So while Jay tries to help him, Upton goes after Booth and the two have a knock-down, drag-out fight in the parking garage stairwell. In true Chicago PD fashion Upton gets the other hand, beats the snot out of Booth, and demands he admit to the murder of her former partner. He doesn’t, so she contemplates shooting him before Halstead arrives to stop her.

"Halstead: This is not how you beat this. Please, Hailey. Please. This is not the way. Hailey, trust me."

“Ghosts” ends with Halstead showing up at Upton’s real apartment to check up on her. He’s going to be company whether she wants him to be or not. He assures her that it’s over now, but she has to deal with the memories it stirred up. Like not being able to get definitive justice for her partner, whom Halstead can deduce she also happened to be in love with. At least now she’s got another partner she can lean on.

The strength of “Ghosts” rests on its performances, particularly from Tracy Spiridakos and Titus Welliver. He is the absolutely perfect choice for this key Chicago PD guest role, while Spiridakos has proven her worth to the show and then some. It’s great to see another episode that allows her to be the focus, as we hadn’t had one since “Fallen” and Upton had been largely in the background since.

By explaining her undercover stint, Chicago PD gives us the background on her character that we were missing. As much as the character has been worth watching, we still didn’t quite know her as a person. “Ghosts” sheds some light on that and helps us understand why Upton was the way she was when we met her. It makes many of her choices throughout the season make sense.

And smartly, the episode also serves as a bit of an exploration of the Halstead-Upton partnership. If that partnership is going to grow, we have to see how the partners react to each other’s stories. We saw Upton help Halstead, and here we’re seeing Halstead help Upton. You understand how far they’ve come, and that they really do work well together, in the sense that they balance each other but we’re seeing more and more commonalities between them.

Add in a fantastically evil performance out of Titus Welliver, who is incapable of giving anything less than great work, and this is a high point for Chicago PD season 5. Too bad the show is off next week so we’ll have to wait to see how it follows this up!

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

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