Chicago Justice season 1, episode 2 rewatch: Uncertainty Principle

CHICAGO JUSTICE -- "Uncertainty Principle" Episode 107 -- Pictured: (l-r) Philip Winchester as Peter Stone, Richard Brooks as Paul Robinette -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)
CHICAGO JUSTICE -- "Uncertainty Principle" Episode 107 -- Pictured: (l-r) Philip Winchester as Peter Stone, Richard Brooks as Paul Robinette -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC) /

Look back at where Chicago Justice began this summer. Read our retrospective as we rewatch Chicago Justice season 1, episode 2.

Over the One Chicago summer break, we’re looking back at where it all began by rewatching the first seasons of our shows—and today we’re revisiting Chicago Justice season 1, episode 2.

If you want to rewatch this episode along with us, you can find Chicago Justice season 1 on iTunes and DVD.

“Uncertainty Principle” follows a crossover with a crossover guest appearance, as this episode centers on the prosecution of Chicago PD series regular Kevin Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins) after a man he’d arrested later dies.

It’s one of Chicago Justice‘s strongest episodes; in fact we’d rank it as the second best of the run behind only “Friendly Fire.”

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What makes it so successful? The episode works on multiple levels.

Most of the attention when this installment aired went to Atwater’s guest spot, and not undeservedly so; LaRoyce Hawkins gave his best performance of last season in “Uncertainty Principle,” getting more screen time and better material than he did over on Chicago PD.

But all the buzz about Atwater being on trial sort of oversimplified a great episode. Yes, that was what acted as the hook—yet it was only one part of the story.

For fans of great legal drama, the plot of “Uncertainty Principle” provoked a serious and honest discussion about what constitutes police brutality. It also layered in a racial angle, because the policeman under scrutiny was black and as Atwater pointed out to Antonio Dawson (Jon Seda), that changes the perception.

For fans of the Law & Order franchise, this episode gives Justice its biggest callback to that show, when Richard Brooks reprises his role as Paul Robinette. That isn’t just a cameo; Robinette was the right-hand man to Peter Stone’s (Philip Winchester) father, so it’s an appearance that lets the show explore that part of Peter’s backstory and that also has an incredible amount of meaning to the fans.

It’s a shame that Brooks was only in one episode, because the scenes between him and Winchester are fantastic. Just like the scenes between Hawkins and Seda, we get this dynamic of two people who respect each other but find themselves on opposite sides. There are so many fine acting moments in this episode, and the personal angles are great for character development.

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In retrospect, though, how NBC scheduled this episode is a bit more of a head-scratcher than it was then. It’s easy to say let’s run the episode with the most prominent crossover cameo early and try to hook fans of Chicago PD, especially since this was Justice‘s time slot premiere.

But looking back at it now, was it really wise to run what was essentially a crossover episode immediately after the episode that concluded the Chicago Crossover? It comes off like putting the focus on the crossover elements, rather than putting some standalone episodes up front, having the new show stand on its own, and then treating fans to some guest spots.

Big picture aside, however, “Uncertainty Principle” is a sterling entry for Chicago Justice as it’s a well-acted episode with something important to say. Watch it again on iTunes and DVD.

Next: Where are the Chicago Justice stars now?

Join us every Sunday this summer for our Chicago Justice season 1 review. For more Chicago Justice related news, follow the Chicago Justice category at One Chicago Center.