Chicago PD season 7 report card: What worked and what didn’t

CHICAGO P.D. -- "Before the Fall" Episode 717 -- Pictured: (l-r) Stephen Louis Grush as Paul Staples, Jason Beghe as Hank Voight -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC)
CHICAGO P.D. -- "Before the Fall" Episode 717 -- Pictured: (l-r) Stephen Louis Grush as Paul Staples, Jason Beghe as Hank Voight -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC) /

Chicago PD season 7 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 7 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 7 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 7’s hits and misses in the comments, and continue the discussion.

Here’s how we grade season 7 of Chicago PD:

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What worked

  • The ending: “Silence of the Night” may not have been the planned season finale, but it was a cool place to stop. Kevin Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins) telling the truth instead of the usual cover-ups was great, and the final scene left so many possibilities for season 8.
  • Marina Squerciati: The actress behind Kim Burgess was a standout this season. Though the season started out with Burgess sort of left behind, Squerciati roared back with a vengeance as Burgess became pregnant, made a life-changing decision that caused the loss of her baby, and dealt with her grief. This season reminded everyone that she’s one of the best actresses in the whole One Chicago franchise.
  • Roman’s return: While the plot twist at the end of his story arc wasn’t great, it was wonderful to see Brian Geraghty come back again as Sean Roman. Geraghty has only gotten better as an actor since his last appearance and he portrayed a different Roman as a result—someone with even more of an edge and more world-weariness. It’s hard to see how he could return a second time with the way things ended, but we’d be open to it.
  • Paul Adelstein as the new Superintendent: Though we didn’t see a lot of the Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce alum in season 7, what we did see was entertaining. His character slipped up big-time with the whole software fail in the “False Positive” episode but he felt more human and less one-dimensional than some of the other higher-ups that Intelligence has had to deal with. But will he return next season?

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What didn’t

  • Vanessa Rojas: Sorry, but we’re not sold on Lisseth Chavez‘s character yet. The show wants us to see her as a tough, strong character and Chavez doesn’t have the same kind of screen presence as her co-stars yet. But most of why we’re lukewarm on Rojas comes from the way she’s being written. Chicago PD seemed to go out of its way early on to have her be the one who would come up with answers/leads, and gave us multiple Rojas-centric episodes, including one that was badly timed (right after Burgess’ miscarriage, making it look like the show was sweeping that aside). The show was trying too hard to get us to like her, and we need to get there on our own.
  • No real counterpoint: With the dismissal of Jon Seda, there was nobody in the team to truly say “no” to Hank Voight (Jason Beghe). Two episodes tried to put Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) in that position but Halstead’s indignance was short-lived both times. Chicago PD has become one-dimensional, ideologically speaking, because Voight’s way really is the only way anymore without Antonio Dawson and Alvin Olinsky (Elias Koteas).
  • A lack of early balance: TV shows have to shift their focus between characters as every season goes, and Chicago PD season 7 didn’t get that right in the early going. The first part of the season felt too heavy on Rojas and Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos), with characters like Burgess and Trudy Platt (Amy Morton) underutilized. Luckily, that was straightened out by season’s end.
  • Not enough Platt: We’ve said this for several seasons now, but what is Platt’s role on this show? Most guest stars have more scenes now than Amy Morton, so unless she’s asked to have less screen time for some reason, the writers need to have a hard think about how to utilize her.

Chicago PD season 7 will go down in One Chicago history as the season where everything changed. The decision to drop Jon Seda did not help the show, not only in terms of what he was able to bring as an actor, but in terms of the writers not filling that space creatively. Everyone in the show is almost always on the same page; arguments don’t last very long, and nobody truly pushes back against Voight.

Rojas has yet to click, while some fans have expressed concern over the show seeming to favor Upton, too. Meanwhile, the lack of more for Atwater and Platt, which has been going on for awhile now, hasn’t been addressed here either. The show still has entertainment value, but with a couple good looks at how it’s using its characters, could re-calibrate and become so much better. Given the ending of season 7, anything is possible and there’s no reason Chicago PD should be behind the other two series in the ratings.

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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.