3. His final season wasn’t great
If Alvin Olinsky had to go, and if the writers knew this was the direction they wanted to take, then he deserved a bigger season on his way out. When we look back on Chicago PD season 5 as a whole, it will not be remembered as one of the best seasons for Elias Koteas or his character.
Olinsky got a fair amount of screen time this season, because of his proximity to Voight and then how he got caught up in the Voight vs. Denny Woods (Mykelti Williamson) storyline. But a lot of it wasn’t great. There was a downright cringe-worthy moment in “Payback” when it revealed that he was so desperate not to be indicted for Jason Bingham’s murder that he planted drugs on the one witness Woods had.
Now we get it: nobody wants to be indicted for murder, especially one that they know they didn’t commit. But c’mon, Olinsky! You planted drugs on a man you know is a recovering drug addict. And by doing so, you quite possibly ruined his life, because he got busted for it and the last time we saw him, his poor wife was just yelling at him. You were willing to let an innocent man fall and wreck all the hard work he’d done to turn his life around, just to maintain your own innocence.
It was a moment that not only was shocking, but it actively made us dislike Olinsky. And for a lot of the second half of the season, Olinsky was pretty much a passive character, a pawn in the Woods vs. Voight struggle. Everything that happened with him was in relation to Voight, and most of it was happening to him, up to and including him being stabbed to death.
Compare that to Chicago PD season 4, where he had some fantastic episodes like “Emotional Proximity” and “Favor, Affection, Malice or Ill Will.” Sure, his daughter died, but that gave Elias Koteas the chance to do some phenomenal work. And Olinsky as a fake hitman was one of the most moving episodes of that season. We had no such big episode this season. We didn’t even get one last great hero moment.
To be fair, this assumes that the writers were aware that this would be the end of Olinsky—that they came to the conclusion they were going to kill his character off enough in advance to plot with that in mind. That may not have been the case; this could have been a decision they didn’t settle on until later in the season when some of these things were already done. But if there was anything that could’ve been done, we wish they would’ve done more.