Voight still has it.


And with a bumpy season thus far, it’s a relief to know after watching Chicago PD Season 11 Episode 6 that the series also still has it.


From a full squad and intriguing case to a peek at our fearless leader, Justin callbacks, and that emotional ending, “Survival” was a strong hour.


The tone to the hour was much different, and honing in on Hank Voight in this way, barely hinting at his personal life but only doing so via how closely he took to this case, was fantastic.


As the primary character of this series and someone who has more often than not fallen to the wayside and been sidelined, I love how, similarly to what it was like for Burgess during Chicago PD Season 11 Episode 3, Voight carried nearly the entire hour by himself.


And they managed to do that while still depicting the entire unit, which was a refreshing change since we’ve rarely seen the whole squad in the bullpen or working on a case together.


Hank Voight is the guy who is always on an island by himself, and they perfectly captured that with the noir approach to him working this case.


He was attached early on, and even though the team worked their part and followed every angle they could, Voight took the bulk of the duty upon himself.


Some of the best scenes were the montages of Voight poring over video footage and files, mainlining coffee as if it was its own food group, and pulling all-nighters to make a break in the case.


We haven’t seen Voight passionate about this case in a long time. Hell, we haven’t seen him like this toward anything in just as long.


In that sense, as much as there have been many complaints about how Voight has been sidelined in his own series, The hour does a decent job of acknowledging that and addressing the criticism by folding it into Voight’s characterization and finding a way to build upon it.

You’re not alone. I’m not going to let you be alone.

Voight


The truth is that Voight has not been the same since Anna died in Chicago PD Season 9 Episode 22.


Something in him broke after her death, and he’s been unable to find his way back to who he was before that ever since.


Voight has become far more reclusive, generally inaccessible to the team when it comes to lines of communication that are a two-way street, and he gives off the vibe of someone who is deeply lonely.


Even the closing scene for Chicago PD Season 10 Episode 22 had Voight quietly sipping a drink and coming across as emotionally inaccessible.


Voight has become a shell of himself and this man who only lives for the job and nothing else. We’ve seen multiple times how he’s still grieving Justin’s loss, and he can’t move past that.


He has all of this paternal love to give and nowhere to direct it, which has made his presence this season so intriguing because he’s found little ways to direct that toward his team members in nearly every installment.


We saw it with Hailey when he went to her house after her terrible day and attempted to support her even though he was too broken to have answers for her.


We also noticed it regarding Adam Ruzek’s return to the unit and how that shooting rocked him to his core. Even with Torres, Atwater, and Burgess, these moments imply that as much of a loner Voight has become, he still deeply cares about his unit and clings to them in his way.

Voight: What am I missing? Who would try to harm him? What?
Jones: Why do you think I know more than you? You should ask your own people. Police have been following him.


Voight spending most of his off-time in a bar or someone having a drink also subtly highlights his loneliness.


In this instance, he was satisfied when the bartender gave him an old photo of Justin from when he used to work there.


The Justin callback was enough to make one misty-eyed and was a perfect indicator of where Voight’s headspace would be as the rest of the hour developed.


The series’ routine of having unit members happening across crimes and picking up cases off the clock has gotten old, but it didn’t impact the intrigue surrounding this case.


The crime scene was bizarre, with the bloody snow from a dumpster in the alley and the cat. But it’s a good thing Voight took the initiative to investigate further.


The footage of Noah’s abduction was jarring and immediately made your heart ache for this young man, and then the rest of the case took Voight and us on an emotional journey.


Noah’s parents are sickening. It was enraging to hear Voight recount his conversation with these religious zealots who felt their child invited terrible things to happen to him because he’s gay.


If Noah wasn’t a sympathetic victim from the start, he instantly became one when we realized that the only people who would be advocating and searching for this young man were Voight and the team.


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And then what unfolded was another one of those dark, gritty cases that felt like Criminal Minds inspired them.


Noah’s stapled-open eyes will haunt a girl for days to come.


The poor kid had so much fight in him, and the fact that he could escape in some capacity, even if it led to him running into Voight and Hailey Upton, is incredible, especially with his condition.


He endured such despicable, awful things. And we left the hour still unsure as to the full extent of what happened to him, which leaves a pit in the viewer’s stomach.


Initially, it was easy to theorize that if Jones, their drug-dealing person of interest, wasn’t responsible for hurting him out of some malice or homophobia, it could’ve been something that happened at the home he stayed at or a church.


The stapled open eyes gave me the impression that someone was forcing him to watch something, which took me back to things like conversion therapy in disgusting attempts to “deprogram the gay” out of someone.


But once Voight and the others breached that building and saw the torture wall, it was evident that there was far more to any of this.


And we’ll have a long time yet to figure it all out.


Fortunately, Voight has footage of the car following Noah and a blurry image of the man who drove it.

Just got off the phone with Noah’s parents. They said ‘This is what happens when you live a life of son.” Noah came out as gay a few months ago. They have no interest in getting updated on the case.

Voight


And we’ll have to work from there. It’s not an open-ended case; honestly, that’s exciting, especially one that profoundly impacts Hank this way.


It has felt like a long time since he’s played a central role in the series, and we’re treading some interesting water with him that could lead to a breakthrough.


The season has been dedicated to focusing on more personal aspects of the unit members, and we’re getting that with Voight as we dig into his loneliness, yes, and his willingness to open up and allow people into his life.


We’ve seen that a bit with ASA Chapman. They have a unique bond, similar to Voight’s development with Sam Miller before her departure.


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Chapman seems to understand Voight, and, as she astutely pointed out, he has this way of reeling her in, inviting her to get closer and then shutting down on her again.


They’ll share a moment, and then, he’ll put his walls back up, making for a fascinating dynamic when they show it.


Through Chapman, we catch glimpses of a man with some interest and desire to make friends or have someone to spend time with outside of work.


It’s a fascinating push-pull thing that happens with them.

Chapman: Hank, I’m sorry, but I went over your head. I made the call I thought was right. I felt it that Jones was the guy. I felt it. Hank, it’s my job to be checks and balances. If it were the other way around, you’d do the same thing.
Voight: Yeah, you’re right.
Chapman: You do this you know. You ask me for help, you bring me in, and then you push me away. It’s like you don’t know if you want to be alone on your island or not.


Chapman wasn’t wrong for how she reacted to the case and Voight’s behavior. On the surface, it seemed like he was getting too personally invested and not seeing clearly.


And when he mentioned his son, any reasonable person would assume that his judgment was clouded.


But Hank Voight is that guy.


He saw through the Jones thing.


And I appreciated that we saw bits of the “Old Voight” laying to rest the claims that he’s gotten “too soft.” No, he didn’t take Jones to the cage and tune him up or push him back into his apartment and torture him a bit.


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However, he knew how to be intimidating and still succeeded at working him well.


It showed that Voight can still be Voight even when he’s not completely crossing the lines.


Lest anyone ever doubt that Hank Voight can’t still handle business, the hour proved otherwise. He’s still effective and intimidating.


And he’s also still a paternal figure with a lot of love to give and a deeply empathetic person.


What makes Voight a compelling character is perfectly on display by depicting the Voight who laid into Jones one minute and the man who sat by Noah’s bedside, provided him comforting words, and promised to get him justice and not let him be alone.


Respectfully, many recent installments have felt like Beghe was sleepwalking through them with little to do.


However, when given something that properly showcased him, Jason Beghe knocked this episode out of the park.


Beghe was phenomenal. Voight is a layered character, and Beghe beautifully captures each one.


I’m excited about Voight reopening his home to another person.

Chicago PD! I wouldn’t do that.

Voight


It has been an empty shell, more house than home, with no one to fill it. All it’s had for a while now is memories.


It’s been this empty vessel with his wife, Justin, Erin, and his grandkid gone.


But by taking Noah in, some life and hope are let in.


Voight can only let people in on his own terms. And Noah is precisely what he needs.


He needs Noah as much as the kid needs a home, and the parallels between Noah and Justin and Noah and Erin aren’t lost either.


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Even though Voight’s development has been subtle, mainly in the background, it feels like we built up to this well.


In the interim, I’m happy that Noah has found a safe place and a home with Voight, and we know Voight will keep his word regarding finding out who did this to Noah and putting them away.


And Noah gives Voight a renewed sense of purpose and a potential taste of what it’s like to have a family again.


It’s always been one of the best aspects of Voight that has been closed off to him and the viewers for so long that it feels good to dust it out, let the light in, and revisit this side of him.


Additional Notes:


  • Bobby Hogan is incredible as Noah. Those hospital scenes, especially, were gutwrenching. I can’t wait to see more of him and this character.


  • Hailey looked happy and healthy and had great hair. Is this an indication that she’s in a better emotional place? Good for her, if so!


  • I want to know about the special effects that made Noah’s eyes so creepy.


  • There were so many great camera shots during this installment. Chapman and Voight’s scenes are so intriguing. I wonder where they’re going with those two.


  • Is it too early to put in a bid for us to keep Noah for a while?


  • When will we revisit this cartel wife case and Dante Torres‘ rooftop romp? I have so many questions.


Over to you, Chicago PD Fanatics.


Was this one of the strongest episodes of the season thus far? Are you excited about this unsolved case? Would you like to see Noah stick around? Hit the comments!


Chicago PD returns on March 20 at 10/9c on NBC. Until then, you can stream all episodes on Peacock!

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is an insomniac who spends late nights and early mornings binge-watching way too many shows and binge-drinking way too much tea. Her eclectic taste makes her an unpredictable viewer with an appreciation for complex characters, diverse representation, dynamic duos, compelling stories, and guilty pleasures. You’ll definitely find her obsessively live-tweeting, waxing poetic, and chatting up fellow Fanatics and readers. Follow her on X.





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