What does the ‘Blue Wall’ mean on Chicago PD?

CHICAGO P.D. -- "Closer" Episode 916 -- Pictured: (l-r) LaRoyce Hawkins as Kevin Atwater, Marina Squerciati as Kim Burgess -- (Photo by: Lori Allen/NBC)
CHICAGO P.D. -- "Closer" Episode 916 -- Pictured: (l-r) LaRoyce Hawkins as Kevin Atwater, Marina Squerciati as Kim Burgess -- (Photo by: Lori Allen/NBC) /

Chicago PD has never been afraid of delving into police corruption. There have been several storylines that chronicle the struggle that the IU has run into when dealing with superiors who bend the rules, and that includes commander Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) himself.

The recent episode “This Job” was the latest instance of PD poking at corruption, and it made frequent use of the term “Blue wall.” It’s thrown around fairly casually by characters like Torres (Benjamin Levy Aguilar) and Borkowski (Tom Lipinksi), so we thought it best to define what it means.

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The “Blue wall”, or “Blue wall of silence”, is a phrase used to describe an informal code of silence that’s practiced by police officers throughout the United States. The idea being that officers should support one another on the job by keeping quiet, even if one of their peers does something that is against the law.

While not recognized as an official police term, it has been used by officials and civilians looking to uncover proof of corruption since the 1960s. The Chicago PD writers have adopted the phrasing in instances such as the one involving Torres and Borkowski, as the former is coerced into keeping a lid on the illegal actions of the latter.

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PD showrunner Gwen Sigan recently shed light on the role that corruption will play in Torres’s arc. She told Deadline that the rookie will have to overcome some idealized notions about the police department if he’s going to make it in the long term.

“[We’ll] see some growing pains this season. It’s a hard thing to come fresh from patrol into this unit, especially during this tense time and having to build all these different relationships and also see where he fits in”, she explained. “So, there are a lot of great stories to tell and I think fans are really gonna fall in love with him.”

All of the PD characters have played along with the “Blue wall of silence” in the past, but here’s hoping Torres is able to overcome this corrupt structure.

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