‘Chicago P.D.’: Fans Worry About How the Show Will Handle Police Brutality

Lately, police brutality has been at the forefront of news and conversation, and part of that conversation involved criticisms over popular police procedural dramas. Unsurprisingly, Chicago P.D. is being impacted as well and has plans to address police brutality. Yet, there are concerns that police brutality could be mishandled, which could lead to negative impacts on different characters and their time on the show, such as Sergeant Hank Voight. Read on to find out more.

Jason Beghe as Sgt. Hank Voight looking to the right
Jason Beghe as Sgt. Hank Voight | Matt Dinerstein/Getty Images

Criticisms about police brutality

Critics have been going after cop shows for years and Chicago P.D. is no exception. There have been incidences in Chicago P.D. of racial profiling, leading to problems of police brutality, especially following the death of an officer known to racially profile, Tom Doyle, in the abrupt ending from last season. In comes Hank Voight, a known aggressor on the show, a stance that is not favorable in today’s climate.

Due to the brutality surrounding the George Floyd murder, cop shows could be changed forever and fans are included in providing the criticism, referring to the shows as “copaganda.” The largest criticism is that police shows portray officers as largely justified and good, even when using excessive force, which perpetuates the belief that police are always right in their actions.

Voight, a loved character on Chicago P.D., is viewed as being one of the most brutal characters of the franchise — and arguable across all cop shows — because he uses violence to get what he needs to help stop a criminal. In some respects, he is the epitome of “dirty cop,” as he covers up for other cops and is associated with criminals, prompting him to be called ‘the most crooked cop ever’ by some fans. As a result, it’s unknown if Voight will have a future with the show.

Plans for addressing police brutality

RELATED: ‘Chicago P.D.’ Paid Subtle Tribute to Trayvon Martin Last Season

Actors from the Chicago series have encouraged fans to learn about social justice issues and have spoken out against police brutality. Marina Squerciati, who plays Officer Kim Burgess, has explicitly said the show should address the tension between Chicago police and the Black community, and it would be irresponsible not to, according to Chicago Sun Times.

The show added a new character — Deputy Superintendent Samantha Miller, played by Nicole Ari Parker, reports Deadline. Miller is originally from Atlanta and is a proponent of police reform. Her role shows her as wanting to help the team adapt to the new regime, but she also won’t tolerate breaches to the new rules. The primary focus of help is on, you guessed it, Voight, because of his being singled out for his violent methods. The goal of Miller is to hold Voight and the entire team accountable for unacceptable behavior through the imposition of high standards.

Fan concerns about mishandling

There are concerns across the board that the issue will be mishandled. That is, fans and actors alike are worried about this. It’s been argued by many cast members that because of racial diversity in Chicago, it would be ludicrous to not address the issue of ‘Blue versus Black.’ However, it has to be done carefully in order to be even marginally successful. It’s hoped that the inclusion of Miller will help the team learn about how police work should be done, without excessive use of force.

Some fans are concerned about what this could mean for Hank Voight and his character’s journey. Sergeant Voight is beloved for his extreme use of force against unarguably terrible criminals — traffickers, murderers, you name it — and the audience is worried how Voight could still be Voight without the violence. Will the writers be able to maintain Hank’s righteous aggression while adapting to police reforms? Or could his character be ruined — or worse, written off — with these changes?

It’s unclear the exact storylines that are being implemented to go along with police brutality, and given how last season abruptly ended, racism in policing will definitely be a topic next season, and the inclusion of Miller will be a powerful tool for Chicago P.D.