Chicago PD season 5 finale recap: Homecoming

CHICAGO P.D. -- "Homecoming" Episode 522 -- Pictured: (l-r) Tracy Spiridakos as Hailey Upton, LaRoyce Hawkins as Kevin Atwater, Jesse Lee Soffer as Jay Halstead, Jon Seda as Antonio Dawson, Patrick John Flueger as Adam Ruzek, Marina Squerciati as Kim Burgess -- (Photo by: Parrish Lewis/NBC)
CHICAGO P.D. -- "Homecoming" Episode 522 -- Pictured: (l-r) Tracy Spiridakos as Hailey Upton, LaRoyce Hawkins as Kevin Atwater, Jesse Lee Soffer as Jay Halstead, Jon Seda as Antonio Dawson, Patrick John Flueger as Adam Ruzek, Marina Squerciati as Kim Burgess -- (Photo by: Parrish Lewis/NBC) /

Chicago PD’s season finale revealed a major change and concluded a season-long story. Here’s what happened in Chicago PD season 5, episode 22.

Wednesday’s Chicago PD season 5 finale changed the series for good, and wrapped up the story we’d been following all season. How did it all go down?

The season finale is called “Homecoming” and it begins where last week left off, with Alvin Olinsky (Elias Koteas) being brought into the hospital after multiple stab wounds. Meanwhile, Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) is trying to cut a deal, “hypothetically.”

Will Denny Woods (Mykelti Williamson) drop the charges against Olinsky if Voight confesses to the murder of Jason Bingham? Woods says yes, and that he’ll call the Assistant State’s Attorney.

James Osha (recurring guest star Michael McGrady) comes to Woods’ place to negotiate the deal but just as Voight is preparing to confess, he gets the message that Olinsky has been stabbed. He leaves without explaining why, which might have been helpful.

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Even while bleeding out, Olinsky sticks to his usual line:

"Olinsky: I got this, man. I got this."

Those wound up being his last words. Eventually Chicago PD had a surgeon come out and inform Voight, in just two short sentences, that Olinsky had died in surgery. It was an incredibly brief and brusque moment given how much of a huge bombshell it was for Voight and for the fans.

Voight had to break the news to the rest of his team in the Chicago Med waiting room, in a moment sans dialogue but with a lot of crying followed by shock. There was only one thing to do: to find the guy who got him stabbed, and take him down.

"Voight: Let’s put all our energy, all our passion, our love for Al, into finding the person who did this. I know that’s what Al would want. I guarantee it. And then when this is over, when we got this prick, then we’ll mourn Al."

In the hospital parking lot, Voight found a confused James Osha, who just wanted to know why Voight had blown out and got an earful blaming him for what had happened. Voight accused him of screwing Olinsky by prosecuting his case, before storming into the jail director’s office the next morning and giving him an even angrier tirade.

Intelligence set up shop inside the jail. Voight questioned the one guard who had been friendly to Olinsky, who saw the aftermath of the attack but not who did it. Surveillance footage—which of course the whole team had to see—didn’t give an ID, but it did confirm that the guard was in on the attack (which anyone who watched “Allegiance” probably guessed).

Confronted by Antonio Dawson (Jon Seda) with the five thousand dollars he got an hour before the stabbing, the guard named the killer. Then, as you’d expect from Chicago PD, Voight beat him up in a storage closet and left him bleeding, claiming the man had tried to attack him. Antonio did not buy the story, but Voight told him that if he didn’t he could “get the hell off the case.”

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Now back at the district, Intelligence started tracking the bribe money while Voight tasked Olinsky’s ex-partner Kim Burgess (Marina Squerciati) with packing up his personal belongings.

We then cut to Osha and Woods talking about the murder; Osha suggested trying to build a new case against Voight directly, as Bingham’s girlfriend identified Voight by name as the cop who got her boyfriend out of their house the night Bingham was murdered. She’s only coming forward now because she thinks she can profit off the ID because of Olinsky’s death. Even Denny Woods isn’t going to sink that low, right?

The money traces back to an Alberto Flores, who gets a rude awakening from the entire squad and another “interrogation” from Voight and Adam Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger). This one involves a nearby baseball bat. Flores gives up a man from the Cali Cartel named Carlos DeLeon, and Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) reveals that Olinsky previously worked on a DEA task force targeting DeLeon that also killed DeLeon’s brother.

While Intelligence tears apart Carlos’s mension, Burgess gets physical with his wife Carmen and Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos) threatens to have her mom deported. Carmen rolls on Carlos, and tells them where to find her husband.

Cue another Chicago PD shootout. Voight orders Antonio to go a different way from him so that he can track down Carlos himself, and confronts the other man on the roof. The unarmed Carlos begs for his life, but Voight shoots him twice anyway—and says Carlos was reaching for a gun.

Though Antonio does find a gun, two witnesses immediately exclaim that Voight shot the man “in cold blood.” Cue Antonio Dawson’s skeptical look part deux as he puts this story together with the other story.

The witnesses’ accusations soon go public, leading to a fight between Intelligence members. While Antonio is skeptical, Ruzek doesn’t care since the dead man murdered Olinsky. Just before the two can fight, Antonio is called in to testify about the shooting. He runs into Voight in the hall after but the two don’t speak—and Voight gets a phone call from Osha just before he offers his own story to his department superiors.

"Voight: It was a good shoot. I did what I had to do. Simple as that."

Chicago PD abruptly cuts to Woods meeting up with Bingham’s girlfriend, whom he has decided to pay off after all. He insists on “adjustments” to her testimony, telling her exactly what to say down to specific words she will have heard Voight tell Bingham. Then he hands her half her payment.

Woods calls Voight before she can even walk away, wanting another private conversation. This is where we learn his whole season-long vendetta was motivated by Voight leaving him out to dry in last season’s “Grasping For Salvation.” He thought if he got in trouble, so should Voight. Our hero gives him the “for the greater good” argument and is unimpressed when Woods says he still loves him so he’s willing to still cut a deal.

Turns out Voight knows all about Woods’ new witness and how Woods just paid her off. It was all a setup and Internal Affairs will be visiting Woods very soon. As in, Voight is letting them in now so he can be arrested. Woods is hauled off in handcuffs, and Voight meets both the faux witness and Osha outside to thank them for their help.

The Chicago PD season finale isn’t over yet, though. With the work done, Voight disappears into a bottle apologizing to a photo of Olinsky before breaking down on the roof. The season ends with him screaming in pain. Where will he go now?

The Chicago PD season 5 finale will have fans talking for a long while, namely because of the death of Alvin Olinsky. To answer the question probably on a lot of fans’ minds: we don’t know if this was a creative decision or if Elias Koteas wanted to leave the show.

But it’s still a huge loss, made bigger by the fact that fans are probably remembering Sophia Bush left just last season. It’s two original cast members exiting in two seasons. The loss of Olinsky is a bit similar to the departure of Bush’s Erin Lindsay, in that it removes someone else who was close to Voight and who had a history with him. Now the only person he has as any kind of confidant is Trudy Platt, and we don’t have Voight and Platt scenes as often as we should, so what will that mean for Voight?

It’s also a shift for Chicago PD. With three cast members over 55, it had a great representation of older characters who were kicking as much if not more butt as their younger colleagues. Now we only have two, and as we mentioned above, Platt’s the desk sergeant so she’s not as involved in each case. Chicago PD is essentially skewing younger, which changes one of the things that made the show unique. We’ll have to wait until season 6 to see how much Koteas’s absence really does impact the series, but it’s foolish to think it won’t.

As far as how “Homecoming” actually plays out, there are hits and misses. The way that Voight learns of Olinsky’s death is almost flippant—two casually tossed lines from a random surgeon. It is such a huge moment for him, and for the audience waiting to hear, that it feels like we need at least a serious conversation here. Even better if it would’ve been someone from Chicago Med who we recognize. Not some random dude just putting it out there.

The search to bring down Olinsky’s killer goes exactly the way Chicago PD fans would imagine it to, as Voight and his team do all the butt-kicking they have done before when it’s one of them or one of their extended family who’s been hurt. The idea of it tracing back to a heretofore unknown part of Olinsky’s past, rather than something to do with Denny Woods and the story we’ve been tracking all along, feels a bit iffy—like the show is pulling something out of nowhere to come up with a reason to kill off Olinsky, rather than it being an organic development from all the stories we already know.

Since the two stories aren’t connected, that also means Chicago PD season 5 has to make time for two separate plotlines. “Homecoming” understandably has the Olinsky plot as its A-story, so we don’t get a real confrontation between Woods and Voight. There’s no huge blowout, no real move until the final ten minutes when they’re just having a tense chat. There’s something to be said for a quiet storm, but it feels anticlimactic compared to all that Voight just did chasing down DeLeon.

Is it the explosive season finale we thought it would be and hoped it would be? No, but the punch of losing a main character and what that will do to the rest of them gives us something to take us through not only hiatus but the rest of the series. We’ll look back on this episode for the loss and it will be a strong place to start Chicago PD season 6.

Next: The 5 most infuriating things Denny Woods did

What did you think of the Chicago PD season finale? Leave your reaction to “Homecoming” in the comments.

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