Chicago PD‘s “Protect and Serve” episode is a heart-pounding forty minutes with a critical message.
The episode’s start has all of Intelligence taking a psych test to see if they could be a problem in the future.
After they all finished, an African American kid was shot by a police officer. The beginning may have been the same horrible story. A white cop shoots an African American without cause, but what followed was anything but typical.
The rules are different now that Samantha Miller (Nicole Ari Parker) is in charge. She plays by the book, and by that, I mean the law. She wasn’t about to let an officer off for what was clearly murder. But sadly, arresting a police officer is a complicated issue. She had to go to Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) to get two of his team to make the arrest. It’s probably good she did. No one else would have been able to handle what came next.
The arrest went as smoothly as possible with press and spectators, but as Adam Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger) and Kevin Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins) were driving him to the station, Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos) told them to go to a safe house because there protesters outside the station after the video had gone viral.
So, they took him to a safe house but not long after getting there. They were ambushed. Atwater and Ruzek managed to get the officer, Dave Wheelan (Michael Rispoli), out while handcuffed and back into the SUV. They drive off, but not before killing one of the shooters and wounding the other.
They were first afraid that there was a leak at the CPD, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. It was quite exciting for them to take Wheelan off-book to hide him while Intelligence searched for the second shooter.
I was thinking it didn’t make sense that there was a leak since the police wouldn’t be shooting at Wheelan, but at the moment, it felt possible, and everything is more intense when it’s off-book. I was along for the ride.
The interesting part about this story was not that Wheelan kept saying he was doing his job and feared for his life. The interesting part was when he saw the video. He thought the video had been altered. He truly believed that the kid went for his gun when he clearly didn’t. Not that it makes it right.
While the kid was non-compliment, he wasn’t doing it violently. As Atwater said, the kid lost faith in the people who were supposed to protect him.
Wheelan realized what he had done and was heartbroken by it. He even gave himself up during a shoot-out to save Atwater and Ruzek.
Atwater was right. That was the easy way out. Justice would have been him facing trial and being convicted. There needs to be a deterrent to get cops to think about their actions.
“Protect and Serve” showed the root of the problem to be pretty deep: A white man fearing for his life because the kid is black. There was nothing violent about this kid as you watch the video, but the officer truly believed he was acting in self-defense until he saw the video. If only police officers, IRL, could look at a video of them killing an African American and see they were in the wrong.
Atwater and Ruzek had a heated conversation too. Ruzek believes deciding what to do with cops is above their paygrade, but Atwater doesn’t. I think change comes from within. Ruzek saying it was a bad shoot is sweeping the problem under the rug. It was more than a bad shoot.
Hank told Ruzek and Atwater that Wheelan’s psych test came out saying he had a good aptitude to serve and protect. Clearly, in that one moment, he made the wrong decision. Ruzek was right. The test probably wasn’t going to tell them anything about their future actions.
I hate that Atwater thinks that could one day be Ruzek. I don’t see Ruzek fearing for his life in a situation like the one Wheelan was in, but sweeping what happened under the rug is part of the problem. Everyone has to do better and hold each other accountable for their actions.
What did you think of “Protect and Serve?” Tweet me @MandyTTCarr or comment below.