Did Chicago PD make Sean Roman a hero or a villain?

CHICAGO P.D. -- "Burden of Truth" Episode 716 -- Pictured: Brian Geraghty as Sean Roman -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC)
CHICAGO P.D. -- "Burden of Truth" Episode 716 -- Pictured: Brian Geraghty as Sean Roman -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC) /

Chicago PD brought back Sean Roman in the Chicago Fire crossover, but did Brian Geraghty’s guest appearance turn his character in a shocking direction?

When Chicago PD announced Sean Roman’s return, One Chicago fans probably didn’t expect that it would be like this.

SPOILER ALERT: The following article contains spoilers from last night’s Chicago PD season 7 crossover episode, “Burden of Truth.”

Roman (Brian Geraghty) was desperate to find his missing sister Sarah. But after he found Sarah dead, Roman went in search of the drug dealer responsible—and the end of Wednesday’s episode revealed that he had murdered the man.

Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) and Kim Burgess (Marina Squerciati) confronted Roman after his sister’s memorial service, but didn’t arrest him. Instead, Voight told Roman that they’d continue their investigatio and walked away, allowing Roman to go free.

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This was a pretty typical Chicago PD plot twist, which is what also makes it kind of a head-scratcher.

It’s not that we can’t empathize with Roman or understand him; if someone killed someone you love, you’d undoubtedly feel similar. It’s that this is the plot road that the show often goes down.

The entire message of the show is that you can do terrible things if they’re for the right reasons—and those right reasons are defined by Voight’s own moral code that everyone else seems to follow.

This isn’t even the first episode that has ended with the reveal of a murder; to name one, there was also “Promise” in season 5, where Voight revealed to Antonio Dawson (Jon Seda) that he had made it possible for the victim’s angry relative to kill the suspect of the week. That created a very explosive confrontation between Voight and Antonio:

The writers want us to say that these scenes are positive, that they’re proof that the bad guys don’t win no matter what has to be done. You can certainly say that, but they also say that the good guys really aren’t that good.

So let’s bring that back to Roman. Chicago PD brought the character back after almost four years to…turn him into a murderer for dramatic effect?

In fairness, “Burden of Truth” was an entertaining episode that gave Brian Geraghty plenty of screen time. The script did do an interesting job using Roman as a mirror for Burgess, comparing his pain and self-loathing over losing his sister with her pain and self-loathing over the loss of her unborn child at the end of “I Was Here.” Especially since the characters had a pre-existing relationship which added another layer, the juxtaposition worked.

And in the long run, we’ll probably grow to think of this as more of a Burgess episode than about Roman, between Burgess making peace with her ex-boyfriend and the emotional confrontation in the locker room with Adam Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger) over their baby’s death. Considering that Burgess felt like more of a supporting character as the show focused on Hailey Upton and Vanessa Rojas, that’s no small positive.

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But what does that say about Sean Roman? Was he brought back simply to be a foil in Burgess’s story? Or brought back to be used as the antihero of the week? Or both?

It was great to see Brian Geraghty again, and One Chicago viewers undoubtedly got a kick out of Roman’s return to the Windy City. But this is one of those cases where Chicago PD‘s need to pick the most grim and “shocking” outcome worked against it.

It would have been perfectly acceptable, if not even better, if Roman and Burgess had been able to close this case without Roman committing a crime. If they’d been able to work together again as a good team and part on a positive note. If the writers hadn’t once again sent the message that you can literally get away with murder on this show, as long as you’re a good guy.

Instead, both Roman and the audience get to stew on this big reveal—and if he ever comes back to Chicago again someday, it almost certainly won’t be good.

Next. Derek Haas dishes on One Chicago crossover. dark

For the latest Chicago PD season 7 spoilers and news, plus more on the entire series, follow the Chicago PD category at One Chicago Center.