The latest Chicago P.D. episode saw the Intelligence unit tackle some of the toughest criminals out there: veteran cops. Even though we know Sergeant Henry “Hank” Voight (Jason Beghe) has his methods and can handle pretty much anything that crosses his path, when people under his command decided to take matters into their own hands, things become a tad more complicated. This is essentially what we see in The Devil You Know.
The episode opens with Intelligence team members prepping for a takedown. In a direct reference to Officer Kim Burgess (Marina Squerciati), Detective Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) tells Officer Adam Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger) that “Pregnant and Undercover” would be a good title for a reality television show. He’s not wrong. Considering all the crappy reality television shows that pass for entertaining viewing that hits our screens, a television series devoted to a pregnant undercover police officer would make a change to the usual tripe.
Soon thereafter, we see Officer Vanessa Rojas (Lisseth Chavez) filling the assembled team members in on their target. With how the officer has laid the groundwork so meticulously, there is no reason anything should go wrong with the takedown. It’s a straightforward drug bust. Rojas wants to flip the target and make her a confidential informant. As Rojas puts her game face on, we hear Burgess ask about the takedown signal. Rojas cutely responds “raspberry.” Everyone is on board with the play. Simple. Right?
As the team moves forward with the plan, all eyes are on the target. From her balcony position, with a camcorder in hand, Detective Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos) observes everything. When the dealer approaches the target, with Upton having recognised him as a police officer, she calls a halt to the operation. Even though Rojas uses the indicated takedown signal, Upton orders no one approach the dope dealer. Rojas is initially annoyed with Upton because they had a well-defined plan. The plan, whilst it was almost perfect, didn’t account for the possibility that the dealer could have been a cop.
When Voight arrives on the scene, the detective sergeant wants to know what went wrong with the operation. The dealer is apparently Officer Kelly Tyler (Mark D. Hines). When Voight asks if we’re sure the dealer is Tyler, Upton tells the detective sergeant that she attended the police academy with him. Whilst at the academy, not that we know much about these people and their police academy days, Tyler had apparently asked her out on a date. Upton reveals she said no to the date.
With the Intelligence unit having crossed paths with other undercover operations in the past, having deconflicted with other law enforcement agencies, the team crossed their T’s and dotted their I’s before beginning the operation. There are no on-book undercover operations in the city. Tyler isn’t operating within his official capacity as a police officer. He’s a dirty cop, there is no doubt.
Back at Division, in a Briefing Room, the Intelligence unit gathers to discuss its next move. Where does the unit go from here? With a serving police officer in the mix, it presents the unit with numerous unquantifiable complications. Whilst Tyler lives in a neighbourhood known to have a significant number of cop residents, Burgess discovered that he had purchased a high-end lakefront property no cop could afford on their salary. You’d probably have to be a high-ranking police officer, someone like Interim Superintendent Jason Crawford (Paul Adelstein), to afford such a property.
With Tyler being a veteran cop, he thinks like the Intelligence unit members and moves like them. There are no criminals on the streets like dirty cops. Voight insists that everyone “exercise extreme precautions” moving forward with the case. No one, both real and digital, can leave behind any form of fingerprints.
When investigating Tyler’s storage unit, with time not on their side, Halstead finds a piece of evidence which piques his curiosity. Whilst there is a symbol on the drug package Halstead recognises, written with a Sharpe pen, there is clear evidence showing that the drug had been previously seized by police officers. Halstead should recognise the handwriting because it’s his. For verification purposes, Halstead snaps a picture of a brick of drug with his cell phone before exiting the storage unit. If he had taken any more time, he and Ruzek would have been discovered by Tyler. Tyler was heading to his storage unit as Halstead and Ruzek were exiting the building.
Voight, recognising there has the evidence they need to move forward with the case, tells Upton to arrest everyone involved. Before Upton has a chance to follow through with the orders Voight gave her, Halstead calls a halt to the arrests. He has evidence showing another police officer could be involved in the illegal transactions.
In a previous drug case, as Halstead references, the drugs that were seized in the operation were supposedly destroyed. Halstead reviewed case information and found that the brick he discovered at Tyler’s storage unit is from that previous operation. The red baseball bat image on the package is being used as a company logo. Upton correctly notes that Halstead’s handwriting in on the package. Sergeant Jake Gibbs (Ron Parson) signed the order stating that the drugs were destroyed. Gibbs has worked in the drug vault much of his law enforcement career. When Tyler was a rookie, he met Gibbs during his brief stint at the vault. Voight has no choice but to read Crawford in on what’s happening. Upton suggests trackers and Voight signs off on the devices being used on personal vehicles for both Tyler and Gibbs.
Observing Tyler and Gibbs from a relatively safe location, we see Upton and Rojas capturing images of the meeting. As a third vehicle arrives, there was part of me hoping we’d see Crawford is a dirty cop. It didn’t happen. It was everyone’s not so favourite confidential informant Darius Walker (Michael Beach). The case suddenly takes on a new more deadly dynamic.
It doesn’t take long for Voight to arrange a meeting with Walker. Voight is annoyed with Walker because he didn’t tell him that he’s in business with cops. Despite Voight’s anger, with how Walker operates, television viewers understand the confidential informant isn’t going to volunteer information when not specifically asked. At no time did Voight specifically ask Walker about his ongoing business relationships. Walker tells Voight that he had been in business with Gibbs and Tyler for at least four years. With them being cops, they’re reliable suppliers. Walker describes them as “bagmen.”
During their brief conversation, Walker tells Voight that there is someone further up the police chain. There is a more senior police officer involved with the illegal distribution of illicit narcotics. Voight insists Walker help him figure out what’s going on within the police department. Walker, knowing that dirty cops are more dangerous than gang bangers, isn’t prepared to jump off a cliff for Voight. He’s going to want something Voight might not be able to give him. Walker wants out of their arrangement. He no longer wants to work as Voight’s confidential informant.
Voight finally takes the case to Crawford. With Voight insisting the door being closed, even before the detective sergeant tells him why he’s there, Crawford knows it’s a serious matter. Voight tells Crawford there are two dirty cops out there and there could be another one pulling the strings. There is solid evidence showing both Gibbs and Tyler are selling narcotics to Walker for years. If Walker helps them make their case, he has met his burden and then some, Voight tells Crawford. Reluctantly, Crawford signs of on the operation. Voight reminds Crawford that it’s this kind of case that could see him become Superintendent. It is implied there would be no “Interim” nonsense in front of his name.
A meeting sees Desk Sergeant Trudy Platt (Amy Morton) join the operation. The Intelligence unit talks through the steps of the operation one last time. The key to the entire case, as Upton correctly recognises, is the South Side Drug Vault. That’s where Platt comes in. Platt has known Gibbs for more than 30 years. She needs to deliver to the vault several packages of drugs for the facility to burn. The big burn is how the dirty cops cover their tracks.
Paperwork is presented showing that the drugs have been burned. The drugs are out on the street within days of being transported to the vault for incineration. There is no system in place to make sure that the drugs are burned. There is no one watching over the procedure. When Voight asks Upton if she’s ok with working with Walker, she tells the detective sergeant the way the unit works isn’t democratic.
Gibbs is pleased to see Platt show up at the South Side Drug Vault because it had been a long time since they had seen each other. Since they last saw each other, with it being a few years, Gibbs correctly notes Platt married Firefighter Randy “Mouch” McHolland (Christian Stolte). Platt thinks of her husband as being dashing and dastardly. I can see that. Mouch, as Chicago Fire fans will know, is one of the show’s cuter firefighters.
Even though Gibbs states getting the drugs off the streets is a win, his behaviour indicates something completely different. After Platt leaves the facility, we find the desk sergeant telling Voight confirmation of the drugs having been burned has been received. Whether or not the drugs had been burned is another matter.
Later, we see Upton testing Walker’s wire to make sure it’s fully operational. During the scene, Upton takes a moment to speak to Walker about his involvement in Cameron Balow’s (James Udom) death. Was his name Balow, Barlow or Ballo? I’m not sure which is the correct name. Even though IMDb has the name listed as Barlow, the closed captioning on the episode suggests the correct spelling is Balow.
Walker remembered him. He should because Balow was the person he had murdered simply for seeing him at the police station that one time. Balow, if you saw the episode Informant, might recall that he was Upton’s confidential informant. Balow considered being a confidential informant a full-time gig. In addition to working with the Chicago Police Department, Balow was also known to have supplied information to Federal law enforcement agencies.
Not long into Walker’s stint as Voight’s confidential informant, Balow spotted him at Division with Upton. Even though Walker was rightfully concerned that his involvement with the police would get out, instead of merely having a conversation with Balow, he had him killed. Balow was shot in the head as he tried to warn Upton about Walker. The scene was brutally bloody. Naturally, as Upton thinks back to how she saw Balow die, the detective is angry at Walker for defending his position.
With everyone in their designated positions, the operation moves forward. Walker waits for the suppliers to show with the product. With the Intelligence unit building a case, because Voight rightly states they need warrants, everyone gets to walk. Voight is surprised to find one of the dirty cops meeting with Walker isn’t Gibbs. It’s Lieutenant Mike Packer (Stephen Eugene Walker). This revolution places Voight in a tricky position because he must sit next to the lieutenant in a coming meeting.
Packer notes the escalation in Walker’s buying pattern, and he doesn’t like it. Walker suggests its an opportunity for him to explore. It doesn’t initially look like packer is buying what Walker is telling him. Despite this, Packer and Tyler leave with the money and Walker gets the drugs.
The following day, at the CompStat meeting, we see Voight and Packer seated next to each other. Packer suggests to Voight that Crawford will do anything to get rid of the “Interim” part of his job title. Voight seems to agree with what his colleague states. Later, Crawford tells Voight that he recently promoted Packer to the head of the Fugitive Task Force.
Elena Becerra, a prominent prosecutor, is the one Voight and Crawford must convince to take the case to trial. With how the prosecutor feels about police officers, it’s a tough sell. If these cops are brought to trial and found guilty, every case they ever worked on will be up for re-examination. Some of the people that had been imprisoned could have their sentences overturned. Becerra doesn’t want to risk putting criminals back out on the streets because a few cops are drug dealers. The prosecutor forces Voight to give up the name of his confidential informant.
Later, we see Voight meeting with Walker to tell him what happened when he spoke with Becerra. Even though we didn’t hear Voight tell Becerra Walker’s name, it’s evident that that is exactly what occurred during that earlier conversation. The detective sergeant needed to make the case. With Becerra not willing to sign arrest warrants without Voight giving up Walker’s name, the detective sergeant wasn’t given a choice. Voight tells Walker he’s going to have to testify in open court. It’s not what either Voight or Walker wanted, but it is what it is. That’s the way the game is played. We don’t always get what we want. Life doesn’t work that way.
We soon find the warrants have been signed. Burgess, back at Division, triangulated cell phone signals for the three dirty cops. They converged on the southside at the same warehouse where the earlier meeting went down. Halstead believes that Packer, Tyler, and Gibbs being together in the same location must be significant. When the Intelligence unit arrives at the warehouse, they find what essentially amounts to a war zone. Taking fire from an unknown assailant, Officer Kevin Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins) takes out the shooter. The shooter is later revealed as being one of Walker’s guys.
Dead at the scene are Packer, Gibbs, and Tyler. Voight, saying it was probably an ambush, informs Crawford that their targets are all dead. Given how Walker is known to operate, Crawford concludes Voight’s confidential informant was responsible for the deaths. Voight, because of his working relationship with Walker, tells Crawford he wasn’t trying to keep his confidential informant’s name secret because he was protecting him. The detective sergeant had suspicions that he’d do something like this to protect himself.
Crawford suggests presenting Packer, Tyler, and Gibbs as heroes that died in the line. Even though it isn’t what happened, it’s certainly more palatable than what did transpire. The only person that walks away from the entire affair unscathed is Walker. Even though neither Voight nor Crawford like the situation, there is little they can do to change it.
Whilst Voight is clearly angered by everything that has occurred, no one is angrier than Upton. She takes Walker being cut loose personally because of what went down with her confidential informant a few months earlier.
Voight takes a moment to tell Walker he’s done being his confidential informant. Their conversation doesn’t end without them threaten each other with significant possibilities. Even though Voight tells Walker he has no protection, the now-former confidential informant tells the detective sergeant that he survived for a long time out there without help. Voight notes that that’s true. He did.
Before leaving Division, Upton speaks with Atwater about the bodies that were found at the warehouse. Upton is next seen in an unsavoury part of town. She speaks with three known Walker associates. When one of them asks the detective why it is he should help her, Upton tells him that she thinks the guy that got their colleague killed was working with the Intelligence unit. Feeling more than a tad satisfied with how the conversation unfolded, Upton walks away. It is here that the detective finds Halstead had followed her to the bad side of town.
Many times, as Chicago P.D. fans will testify, Halstead has been told by Upton that he is getting too close to a given case. This is the first time I can think of where the shoe is on the other foot. Halstead, understanding Upton’s anger, tells his partner that she’s got too close to this one. She needs to take a step back.
The following morning, as Upton sits quietly at her desk, we find Platt speaking with Voight at Division. When Platt tells the detective sergeant that they received a call, the camera momentarily moves from them back to Upton. Laid out on a pool table, with a dead rat dangling above his face, is Walker. The way Walker was killed in positively gruesome. After seeing Walker’s dead body, noting that Upton followed him, Voight shoots her a knowing glance.
Later, in a bar scene, we see Voight speaking with Upton about his suspicions. Upton’s facial expression isn’t hard to read. There is a smugness to it which suggests she’s satisfied with the result. Voight isn’t like Upton. He doesn’t let anything get under his skin. Consequently, because of this attitude, he sleeps like a baby. Voight doesn’t believe Upton has the stomach for being like him. It would eat her alive.
“Have a little faith, Sarge,” Upton said. “I’ll get there.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of,” Voight responded.
Is this really the road Upton should be taking? Will she find her way back or is it too late? Only time will tell if she is too far gone.