(Warning: This post contains spoilers for Chicago P.D.'s Season 6 premiere. Read at your own risk!)
Brace yourselves, Intelligence is in for a rough time ahead on Chicago P.D.
The Season 6 premiere revealed a fractured unit still reeling from Olinksy's (Elias Koteas) tragic death in last season's finale. The seasoned detective had been in jail facing charges for Bingham's (Joseph Sikora) murder--a credit that actually goes to Voight (Jason Beghe)--when he was stabbed and killed by an enemy with a vendetta. His shocking demise left the unit devastated and it looks like they'll continue to feel that grief in the coming episodes. Recovering from the loss of one of their own is something that showrunner Rick Eid says will take some time.
"Olinsky's absence will be felt. He was a friend to Voight, a mentor to Burgess and a father-figure to Ruzek. He kept the unit together. So in the wake of his death, Intelligence will struggle to come together as a family," he told TV Guide.
Things were especially chaotic for Intelligence with Voight forced on the sidelines while Internal Affairs investigated the controversial shooting in which Voight killed the man who ordered the hit on their fallen teammate. The premiere saw Antonio (Jon Seda) step up as interim leader as the crew looked into a series of overdoses from tainted drugs.
Not everyone was on board for the way Antonio handled the case, especially Ruzek (Patrick Flueger) who took up issue with Antonio's insistence that Voight be left out of the loop while out on suspension. That didn't stop Ruzek from going to Voight anyway, leading to a heated argument with Antonio and the two eventually came to blows.
And while Voight may have been reinstated, that doesn't mean the in-fighting is over just yet. "The tension between Antonio and Ruzek won't go away after the premiere. These two cops have vastly different personalities and approaches to policing. If anything, their response to Olinsky's death opened a new divide and we'll see them go head to head again soon," P.D.'s boss said.
But Antonio and Ruzek aren't the only ones poised to throw down this season. Voight will go up against Kate Brennan (Anne Heche) who, in the premiere, offered to help smooth things over with the higher-ups if Voight backed her pick for mayor. It's a friendship that comes with strings attached, and will probably further complicate an already intense situation within the unit.
"Kate Brennan is a shrewd political player. She wants her boss Kelton to be elected mayor so that she can be promoted to Superintendent. That will put her at odds with Voight or on his side, depending on the politics of the case," Eid explained.
Elsewhere, the episode also bid farewell to Olinksy with a special sendoff that included the entire crew--with the exception of Voight. He was barred from partaking in the ceremony by Olinksy's widow Meredith (Melissa Carlson), forcing Intelligence's embattled leader to watch from afar. According to Eid, Meredith's request was made out of anger for what happened to her husband.
"Meredith blames Voight for her husband's death. Her husband went to jail on charges that were meant for Voight. And he was only killed because he was inside," he said. "I think whether she knows it or not, Meredith always felt Olinsky put the job before their marriage. And she now believes Olinsky put his friendship with Voight above her and the job. So there's blame and even some jealousy behind her decision to exclude Voight from the funeral."
With the unit in total disarray and Voight struggling to come to terms with the death of his friend, moving forward will be easier said than done. Let's just hope they can make it through this intact.
Chicago P.D. airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on NBC.