Chicago PD season 6 premiere recap: New Normal

CHICAGO P.D. -- "New Normal" Episode 601 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jesse Lee Soffer as Jay Halstead, Marina Squerciati as Kim Burgess -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC)
CHICAGO P.D. -- "New Normal" Episode 601 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jesse Lee Soffer as Jay Halstead, Marina Squerciati as Kim Burgess -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC) /

Chicago PD’s season premiere included a new frenemy and an overdue memorial. Here’s what happened in Chicago PD season 6, episode 1.

The Chicago PD season premiere continued the theme that ran through all of One Chicago opening night—showing fans that things aren’t the same anymore in the city. But how different are things, really?

“New Normal” stews in the aftermath of what ended last season. Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) is literally bruised and battered, having to be rousted off of his couch by Trudy Platt (Amy Morton). Platt, shocked by Voight’s bloody face, doesn’t buy his insistence that he’s fine.

Voight asks her to do him a favor, and let Meredith Olinsky know that he’ll pay for Alvin’s funeral. But then he’s back to work, as there almost a half-dozen people dead due to bad narcotics.

Or he would be, except Deputy Superintendent Katherine Brennan (new recurring guest star Anne Heche) thinks he was lying about why he shot the man who ordered Olinsky’s death. She tells him it’s being investigated as a homicide.

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He suggests she’s trying “to bury an old-school white cop with a bad reputation.” She replies that she’s “doing what’s best for the department” and suspends him, leaving Voight to tell the rest of Intelligence that Antonio Dawson (Jon Seda) is in charge.

It seems Antonio didn’t hold the company line after all.

"Ruzek: Way to step up, bro.Antonio: Stay out of this, Adam."

It becomes clear that someone is intentionally coating heroin with battery acid to kill people on the West Side. But who, and why? A spider logo on the packets of heroin quickly leads Intelligence to the drug dealer, and they set up an undercover operation.

Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos) urges Adam Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger) to lay off Antonio, but in Ruzek’s mind, Antonio should’ve backed up Voight because that’s his “brother” and they’re talking about the guy who ordered Olinsky’s murder.

Kevin Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins) and Kim Burgess (Marina Squerciati) stage a roll-up so that Ruzek can sneak over and steal the dealer’s stash, forcing him to in turn make a phone call up the ladder to his boss. Chicago PD is just following the chain.

Burgess, Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) and Antonio are thus able to interrogate the next man up, Jalen, who refuses to name his supplier. His attitude only further infuriates Ruzek, who never had a long fuse to begin with.

He defies orders and meets with Voight, who says he’ll “see what I can do” before more bodies pile up.

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Chicago PD has Voight give Ruzek the name of the supplier: Phil Gamble. He also knows where to find Phil, because Voight knows just about everything. Phil plays dumb when Ruzek brings Upton to question him, and tells them to get out of his bar.

Then Ruzek tries to play dumb when Antonio asks him how he found Gamble. It takes Antonio no time at all to deduce his source is Voight, which only leads to more irritation for Ruzek and also for Upton, who warns Adam, “Don’t jam me up in all this.”

Voight returns to the scene of last season’s shooting. He realizes there’s a surveillance camera that should’ve seen the whole thing—unfortunately, Internal Affairs already got the footage an hour ago. And Brennan is denying that they have it.

"Voight: There is video of the shooting. It exists. And you and I both know it. What I didn’t know until just now, until you denied its existence, that video confirms it was a good shoot."

It’s clear him that Brennan is using him for something. He still believes it’s so she can fire him, once again making reference to “white, middle-aged” cops, but she doesn’t say anything about her motives.

And hey, there’s a commercial for Netflix‘s The Good Cop, which stars former Chicago Justice alum (and Chicago PD guest star) Monica Barbaro. Nice coincidence!

Back on Chicago PD, arrangements for Olinsky’s funeral are being finalized for the following day. Meredith wants the Intelligence team to be pallbearers. While they process that, there’s another lead to a man named Ernesto Varga, which leads to Ruzek and Atwater almost getting shot except for Atwater being able to talk down his terrified son.

The kid is freaked out because his father was murdered before Intelligence arrived. A still shocked Atwater is surprised when Ruzek questions his actions.

"Ruzek: The position you put me in, what choice do I have right there?…I can’t bear to have another one of my friends die this week. I can’t bear it."

Ruzek gets into further trouble when he puts his hands on Jalen—even worse because Jalen had already asked for a lawyer when he did it. Antonio yells at Ruzek for not following protocol; Ruzek screams at Antonio for Voight not being there. Only Platt interrupting with a report of more dead bodies breaks them up. Chicago PD season 6 is not starting off on a good note.

Ruzek goes back to Voight, who tells him to be alone with Jalen in half an hour and wait for further instructions. As for Antonio, he gets reamed by Brennan, who is upset that he’s not producing the results she wants. Well, you know who does that? The guy you suspended.

Voight breaks into Jalen’s girlfriend’s house and sneaks up behind her in a scene that’s more horror movie than Chicago PD. He gets her to tell him where Jalen has been hiding his money, then sends Ruzek to show Jalen where he is via video call. Voight gives Jalen an ultimatum: he keeps the cash for Vanessa and their son, if he reveals where the poisoned drugs are.

Jalen gives a full confession, including that it was Ernesto who put the acid in the heroin and where the rest of it is. Antonio knows it’s inadmissible since Jalen had already lawyered up, but orders the team to go anyway so they can get the drugs off the street.

The raid is successful, leading to multiple arrests, the rescue of several young children who were working in the dope lab, and the seizure of a lot of heroin. But that’s not enough to stop Ruzek and Antonio from getting into a fistfight at the scene, which the entire rest of Intelligence has to put a stop to. Atwater is all of us:

"Atwater: What the hell is wrong with you?!?"

Chicago PD winds down “New Normal” with Voight finding a way to get his hands on the footage from the shooting. He also explains to a still riled up Antonio why he got involved with the case. He says Antonio has to stay clean, because “the best thing you can be is you. The best thing I can be is me.” Neither of them can change, but they still have to work together.

Antonio walks out, shaking his head in disbelief, but he tells Brennan that it was Voight who made it possible to close the case. Brennan is thus motivated to apologize to Voight. She’s seen the film of the shooting now, conveniently, and is willing to persuade the powers that be that it was a good shoot—if Voight agrees to help her, help her boss get elected Mayor.

She wants him to close, or possibly not close, certain cases at her direction. Voight says his price for becoming her new “friend” is clearing Alvin Olinsky’s name so that Meredith can collect her husband’s pension. Then he returns to the district, officially exonerated and hugging it out with Antonio.

In its final minutes, the Chicago PD season premiere has Voight address his team about their “very long few days.” He tells them he understands their emotions, but “we need to be a team.”

The episode circles back to its beginnings, as Platt comes to see Voight as he’s getting ready for the funeral. She tells him that Meredith doesn’t want him there. He says he understands, while the rest of the squad—along with much of the department—gathers to officially lay Olinsky to rest. What they don’t know is that Voight is watching from a distance, and joins them in a final salute to their fallen friend.

Next. Will Chicago PD replace Alvin Olinsky?. dark

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