Chicago PD season 5 report card: What worked and what didn’t

CHICAGO P.D. -- "Care Under Fire" Episode 507 -- Pictured: (l-r) Patrick John Flueger as Adam Ruzek, Jason Beghe as Hank Voight -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC)
CHICAGO P.D. -- "Care Under Fire" Episode 507 -- Pictured: (l-r) Patrick John Flueger as Adam Ruzek, Jason Beghe as Hank Voight -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC) /

Chicago PD season 5 is complete, so it’s time to put the season in review: What worked? What didn’t? Here’s what we thought about this season.

This season of Chicago PD is in the books, meaning it’s time to look back on season 5 and see how it all turned out. What parts of the season worked and made us fans all over again? What parts didn’t and could use room for improvement in the future?

We answer those questions in our Season 5 Report Card as we examine where this past season of Chicago PD burned brightest, and where it didn’t always succeed. Looking back at the big picture, we hope you get additional perspective on all of the season that was.

As always, feel free to leave your thoughts about Season 5’s hits and misses in the comments, and continue the discussion.

Here’s how we grade Season 5 of Chicago PD:

More from One Chicago Center


  • An excellent theme: The idea of police reform was a brilliant concept for the season. It’s one of the most hot-button issues in the country right now, and it was particularly applicable to the Intelligence Unit given their long history of misdeeds.
  • Hailey Upton: Tracy Spiridakos did a more than admirable job stepping into the main cast this season, especially given that the show invited comparisons between her and Sophia Bush by pairing Upton with Halstead. But Spiridakos shone in her own right and made us Upton fans.
  • An unraveled Jay Halstead: The absence of Bush’s character Erin Lindsay left Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) without his partner and his girlfriend, but that also meant that Chicago PD had to find other stories to tell with him, which made him a stronger character and gave Soffer some wonderful material. There was one huge misstep with Camila, but we’re glad Halstead was explored more this season.
  • Great guest stars: We had Mykelti Williamson, Wendell Pierce, Titus Welliver, Wil Traval, Michael Trucco and Michael McGrady in the same season. Enough said.

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


  • Not executing that theme: When all was said and done, Chicago PD really didn’t explore the idea of police reform that it put forward. Instead it all boiled down to a crazed vendetta Williamson’s Denny Woods had against Hank Voight (Jason Beghe). What could’ve been a very timely season wound up being just a revenge story.
  • The 100th episode: This should’ve been a great milestone for the show. But not only was it not a huge deal, but making it the second half of a crossover with Chicago Fire made it feel like it was finishing that show’s story rather than getting its own chance to shine. Compared to Fire‘s 100th episode last season, PD‘s 100th was lacking.
  • Halstead and Camila: Given how much time and effort Chicago PD had invested in the Linstead relationship, it felt like a slap in the face to the fans for Halstead to be sleeping with someone else before midseason. And even if you set that aside, it just wasn’t that great of a relationship either.
  • Olinsky’s death: We’ve said it before but it bears repeating—the show will regret its decision to kill Olinsky off. Getting rid of Elias Koteas is a major loss for PD both on and off screen, and the stated reason why didn’t mesh with what we saw on screen. We know the writers were going for a huge shocker, but it’s still hard to see this as anything other than a huge mistake.

Of the three One Chicago shows, Chicago PD had the most potential this season, which is both good and bad. The good thing is that the writers were thinking about what’s happening in police work in the real world, and that they were coming up with good ideas. The bad thing is that they wound up not executing many of those ideas.

This could have been PD‘s most timely and thought-provoking season. It was certainly one of its most well-cast, and as much as we missed Sophia Bush, her not being there could have opened up other story avenues. But instead of a police reform story, we got a revenge story with Woods going after Voight at any cost. Halstead went to therapy for the issues that were supposedly so serious he needed space from Lindsay last season, but that almost entirely happened off-screen.

And then to end the season by killing off a main character in a way that really didn’t accomplish what the writers wanted it to accomplish? That kind of summed the season up in a nutshell. It was dramatic, and it was entertaining, but it could have been a whole lot more than it turned out to be.

Next: Chicago PD's Olinsky tribute that you didn't see

How would you look back on Chicago PD season 5? Let us know your thoughts about this season in the comments.

Chicago PD returns this fall on NBC.