Chicago PD dragged Hank Voight through (and into) a vendetta this season, so will Jason Beghe’s character change after Chicago PD season 5?
The latest season of Chicago PD was Hank Voight’s lowest point. Ending the season with Voight (Jason Beghe) having an emotional meltdown was a sign that he couldn’t possibly continue with the way things were.
But will Voight actually change following the events of Chicago PD season 5? Will he learn at all from what he and others have been through?
And if he does, what kind of Hank Voight will we be seeing in Chicago PD season 6?
The show’s entire arc this season was about Voight. It was a personal vendetta on the part of his ex-partner Denny Woods (Mykelti Williamson), who was determined to take him down after we saw Voight and the Intelligence Unit get Woods in trouble for a wrongful conviction in season 4.
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In return, Voight and to a lesser extent, Alvin Olinsky (Elias Koteas) put their heads together to find ways to fight back against Woods. Everyone else was, by and large, just caught in the middle.
This wasn’t a season about police reform, despite that idea being put forth in the season premiere. It wasn’t about the changing attitude toward police in Chicago.
As evidenced by Woods’ spiel in the season finale “Homecoming” it was about one man wanting revenge, and both sides doing everything they could to not be the ones who paid the price.
And Hank Voight was the one at the center of the whole mess.
Woods’ plot against him led Adam Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger) to become an involuntary snitch for a few episodes, and landed Olinsky in prison where he was ultimately killed—though by a second and unrelated bad guy who had his own grudge against Al.
There was even the suggestion that Erin Lindsay (Sophia Bush, who did not appear) could be in trouble since she had been seen with Olinsky hiding the body of Jason Bingham.
Quite a few people were hurt this Chicago PD season because of Voight or their connection to him, although it depends on how much you want to assign blame—yes, it was to push him that Olinsky was in prison, but neither Voight nor Woods had anything to do with his death.
But what is crystal clear is that Hank Voight blames himself to some extent. He wouldn’t have ended the season tearfully apologizing to Olinsky if he didn’t think he was responsible for his best friend dying. And he knows this was about him; that’s why he started the season finale showing up on Woods’ doorstep, prepared to confess.
So now that the dust has settled, and we’ve seen the high price everyone else paid last season, shouldn’t Voight have to change? Wouldn’t it be a letdown if all this happened and he didn’t learn a thing?
Honestly, the death of Olinsky—while huge to Voight’s psyche and to all of the One Chicago fans—was the only real price he paid. He didn’t die. He was never charged for anything. He was able to get Woods led out in handcuffs even though Voight being arrested would’ve been a much better ending.
If Chicago PD season 6 starts with Voight just back to business as usual, not only would it not be interesting, it wouldn’t make any sense. He shouldn’t be the same person he was before he lost Olinsky, before his career was nearly devastated by a man who used to be another friend. He has to learn from this and have consequences.
That doesn’t mean Voight would be less interesting; to an extent he’s a creature of habit, and he’s never going to be warm and fuzzy. But he can grow and adapt, and the process of that would be a worthwhile watch, too.
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The best way for Chicago PD to honor Olinsky would be for his death to mean something in the rest of Voight’s life—for it to have an effect and not just be something that happened last season. It would be a catalyst for growth, and a challenge, and we know Hank Voight is always up for any kind of challenge.
Yet when we haven’t seen him face many consequences yet, and when he spends a fair amount of time calling in favors and trying to lean on people to get himself or others off the hook, we’re not sure the show wants to go there completely. It certainly hasn’t right now. Even though it has every possible reason to.
Chicago PD season 5 should be a turning point for Hank Voight, but based on how the fifth season played out, we’re not sure it will be.
Do you think Hank Voight will change after the events of the most recent season? How do you think the season will affect him? Leave your thoughts on where his character is going below in the comments.
Chicago PD returns to NBC this fall.