Chicago PD season 8, episode 8 preview: Protect and Serve

CHICAGO P.D. -- "Protect And Serve" Episode 808 -- Pictured: (l-r) Nicole Ari Parker as Samantha Miller, Jason Beghe as Hank Voight -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC)
CHICAGO P.D. -- "Protect And Serve" Episode 808 -- Pictured: (l-r) Nicole Ari Parker as Samantha Miller, Jason Beghe as Hank Voight -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC) /

This week’s Chicago PD looks like the episode One Chicago fans have been expecting, if not waiting for.

When Chicago PD season 8 started, viewers wondered how much the show would address or change in response to current events. While Kevin Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins) fought to defend himself in the first two episodes of the season, that story was focused on Atwater and didn’t go into the bigger picture as much as it could have.

In “Protect and Serve,” the discussion about police misconduct and racism gets much, much bigger with a guest appearance from a Chicago Justice alum.

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Chicago PD season 8, episode 8 preview

After an officer, played by Justice actor Michael Rispoli (he portrayed Peter Stone’s nemesis John Beckett in the episode “Dead Meat”), shoots and kills a civilian during a traffic stop, Atwater and Ruzek are ordered to bring the cop in on murder charges.

Making the case even more volatile is that the officer is white, and the man that he shot is black, which not only causes uproar among citizens but dissension between the two partners.

This is an episode that everyone is going to have something to say about. The question is how much it’s going to be able to address different points of view, because these are sensitive topics and there’s still only 42 minutes of show to not only address them, but still tell a story that has a beginning, middle and end.

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It’s no surprise that Atwater is one of the main characters in the episode, since he’s the show’s only black main character and the person who’s just dealt with a similar issue. But Atwater has always been Chicago PD‘s go-to when it discusses issues of race—in fact, most of the episodes that he’s highlighted in seem to have some sort of racial component.

It’ll be more interesting to see what the other characters do in this episode because we normally don’t hear from them on this subject. When Atwater was in trouble at the end of season 7 and the start of season 8, Ruzek and Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) were his only serious allies, and Voight’s attitude on the subject changes depending on the plot.

While he backed Atwater heavily this season, after Kevin’s first encounter with Doyle during the episode “Night in Chicago” back in season 6, Voight was more skeptical about Atwater reporting the issue then. We also haven’t heard much from characters like Kim Burgess (Marina Squerciati); it was a huge oversight that PD didn’t show her supporting her ex-partner more.

Atwater doesn’t always have to be the only one speaking up just because he’s the one black lead on the show. Will other characters join him? Will they disagree with him? If they disagree, how will those discussions go? “Protect and Serve” has a chance to make an episode about race that opens the topic up to the whole Intelligence Unit, and in doing so, would make the show feel more timely than it’s been so far this season.

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