Chicago PD Season 9 Episode 5 Review: Burnside

TV

Well, that went about as well as expected.

It was time for one of our coveted Kevin-centric hours, and Chicago PD Season 9 Episode 5 felt like a mishmash of an Atwater greatest hits installment.

We had Black versus Blue struggles for Kevin, an anti-cop love interest he’s lying to, a genuine attempt to save a young Black person from falling victim to an inherently biased system, and LaRoyce Hawkins acting his ass off.

The brief moments we step off the merry-go-round relationships of this series led us to the second time in nine seasons that Kevin Atwater got a love interest. Sadly, it was way too similar to his dalliance with Laila in Chicago PD Season 6 Episode 8.

Nothing good can come from a relationship built on a lie. With the events that unfolded throughout this installment, any excitement about Atwater finding love, happiness, and a semblance of a personal life got dashed before they began.

You can’t have a Kevin-centric without some quality Ruzwater action, and the two of them having a drink at the bar before Ruzek stepped out to dinner with Kim was fun.

As usual, Ruzek was even there to back Kevin up and cover for him when he pieced together that their case would get complicated given his relationship with Celeste.

It was a hell of a one-night stand. Kevin and Celeste had great chemistry, and our boy has some serious game. Their hook-up was scorching hot and broke the top five sex scenes this show ever gave us with ease.

It was the ass smack heard around the world that sold it. Everything seemed great, and the idea that Kevin could start something with this nice teacher who cared about her students was promising until everything else came into play.

Ruzek: How did you manage to avoid telling her you’re CPD?
Atwater: It just felt good to be the dude at the bar she met and not the black cop. I didn’t have to defend my job or my blackness.

As far as crime scenes go, the shootout at the drive-thru of a fast-food joint gave way an hour that touched on the senseless violence and collateral damage one sees.

It’s hard to pinpoint what about this case, and the execution of the installment felt spotty, but it was a bit all over the place. It seemed to jump from one thing to another, and the others on the team barely registered as involved.

Although, the hour did briefly give us Kevin and Hailey and Kevin and Voight team-ups and some Burzek field time, too.

The cops were quick to write off the incident as gang violence, especially with Wiggins’ death. In part, that instigated some of the racial frustrations driving Celeste and Kevin in different ways.

Kevin: Wow.
Lawyer: Is there something else you want to call me? I’m sure every name you have running through your head right now you’ve been called a hundred times.

Wiggins was a reformed gang member, and instead, we learned that Hubbard used teenagers to kill on his behalf. It’s not uncommon, and it’s often a topic of discussion when folks discuss the intricacies and realities of violence in urban communities.

It felt like the show was dancing on the line with lamenting “Black on Black Crime,” and it dug a bit into how teenagers like Louis and Eric are stuck in “kill or be killed” situations, operating under duress with someone like Hubbard.

Essentially, Celeste does everything she can to protect her kids and spare them from a world that judges them harshly and isn’t too kind. Hubbard exploits these kids and uses them as sacrificial lambs, discarding them and not valuing their lives any more than– the system? Society? Whiteness? I get what they’re angling for here.

They were trying to get deep, and maybe it would’ve been effective if we hadn’t beaten this drum before and gone down this same path ad nauseam as if this is the only storyline that someone as supremely talented as LaRoyce Hawkins is capable of giving.

It’s tiresome that they only and exclusively give Atwater storylines that tie into the trials and tribulations of being a Black cop while consistently battling this plight alone as the only person of color and Black man on the unit.

And so much of this storyline felt like a rehashed version of some of the previous storylines. Only this time, it didn’t possess the same entertainment value or have the strongest writing, which coupled with Hawkins’ consistently incredible performances typically makes those installments compelling.

Once again, Kevin stuck his neck out to protect this young teen boy. He turned off the recording to guarantee the others didn’t pick up Louis’ admission of what he did that day.

He ran interference before Louis was taken in for interrogation so he could tell the boy to lawyer up, only admit to specific things, and overall ensure Louis knew his rights and utilized them, so he didn’t get railroaded.

And none of that mattered when he was getting charged as an adult anyway. Louis was screwed either way.

He faced prison time as an adult instead of a child because, unlike others, he wouldn’t get a slap on the wrist or get recognized as the teenager that he was.

But in the end, his fate was far worse when he succumbed to more violence when his friend shot and killed him in police custody.

Kevin’s frustration and distress were palpable, and you wanted to reach through the screen and hug him. It hurt to witness him on his knees trying to figure out why all of this had to happen.

Was it worth it? Huh? You don’t even know who you are yet? Why?!

Kevin

Again, LaRoyce Hawkins always brings his A-game, without fail.

Kevin’s frustrations where he feels the ongoing fatigue of fighting two battles and the sense of needing one’s head on a swivel from all sides was valid.

His conversations with Celeste are raw sentiments rooted in realness, yet they felt perfunctory. Maybe it was the redundancy of it?

It wasn’t even as emotionally satisfying as it should’ve been when they caught Hubbard.

Kevin and Celeste have great chemistry and deep discussions. They very well could be each other’s safe space, and their relationship is something that Kevin could use.

He carries so much on him throughout the day as both a Black man and a cop.

Even Voight recognizes how layers to this job and life weigh on Kevin more and differently than the others.

Because of that, it’s frustrating that even with this new relationship, he won’t find any peace or solace.

He’s lying to Celeste, and he can’t be his whole self with her when that’s the exact thing he was seeking in the first place.

I get why you did what you did today. I also get that sometimes this job chews up your soul in a different way than it does mine. I respect the hell out of you.

Voight

Each passing second that he keeps her in the dark about his job is downright discomforting. The woman was tearfully apologizing to him when she thought she subjected him to an arrest by the cops.

It’s one of the worst things any good-hearted person aware of our climate could feel, yet little does she know, he’s in the position she criticizes the most.

That’s the moment Celeste will harken back on when she inevitably learns the truth. If Kevin intends to maintain a relationship with her while lying to her about his job, then there’s nothing worth rooting for here.

It’s not good for either of them. Regardless of how anyone feels about Celeste’s strong opinions about cops, she doesn’t deserve the dishonesty.

Celeste: I didn’t protect him. They didn’t protect them. You know what burns me the most?
Kevin: What?
Celeste: I heard Louis was riding in the car with two black officers.
Kevin: How did you hear that?
Celeste: Witnesses on the street. How do they go to sleep at night knowing that Louis died and they didn’t protect him?

And Kevin doesn’t deserve to be in a relationship with someone who would view him so negatively if she learns that he’s a cop. She was already judging him without realizing it when she talked about the two black officers who did nothing and allowed Louis’ execution to happen. He strong stance kept him from going through with telling her what he was.

Their relationship sounds like one big trigger for both of them in different ways.

It’s impossible to get how Kevin can maintain this relationship or not come across as terrible for his deception here even if he does tell her sooner rather than later.

Of all the women connected to all the cases, right?

Unsurprisingly, there was little follow-up on the Voight, Hailey, and Halstead fiasco. Voight was still sporting that split lip, but he seemed unfazed by anything else happening or Jay and Hailey’s presence. And it doesn’t seem as if Jay and Hailey are on the outs.

Over to you, Chicago PD Fanatics. Did you enjoy this Kevin-centric? How doomed are Kevin and Celeste? Hit the comments!

You can watch Chicago PD online here via TV Fanatic. 

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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