Tender-age cases are always an emotional ordeal.
But not only did the one on Chicago PD Season 9 Episode 10 hit close to home for Ruzek, but it stirred up some unresolved issues between him and Burgess.
And just as it seemed the two resolved them, a random uncle pulled the rug from under their feet, and their image of a happy, modern family got ripped away from them.
Case-oriented installments are where this series shines best, and this is a prime example of how Chicago PD can balance personal, off-the-clock drama among a couple of characters with a case.
While the hour was still leaning toward centering Ruzek, namely, and Kim by extension, it was well-balanced. Everyone was hard at work, utilized, and given screentime on this case. No one got reduced to a single line while chewing up space in the background. It was classic Chicago PD.
Charlie: I would never hurt a child. I love children. Do you have a child?
Ruzek: We are not talking about me.
The tighter focus on this case was notable, too. The team mostly worked within the frame of the neighborhood and the station until their warehouse lead that led them to young Brianna.
Brianna’s disappearance was stressful on its own, and you felt for her mother, who was in a state of shock, and the overprotective father, who DiFranco attempted to use as a patsy.
But she reminded Ruzek of Makayla, who was the same age, so he took the case much harder than usual.
On top of that, recent events with Kim had him grappling with his role in Makayla’s life. It all came to a head while he worked the case, and the hour did an excellent job of making these little connections between Ruzek and what was happening.
He could relate to Brianna’s father getting passionate about his daughter and how protective he was of her. Brianna’s uncanny resemblance to Makayla weighed heavily on him, and you could see that whenever Ruzek saw a picture of her or that eerie painting.
I’m the only thing that can help you. I’m the only thing that is standing between you and Gen-Pop, so tell me where she is. Tell me!
Even with DiFranco, a man who lost his child and thought in his twisted way that he was saving Brianna and could keep her to fill the void, Ruzek could feel something there. It resonated in some way.
The case hit close to home for Ruzek, and he could acknowledge how things have changed for him since he became a father. But as invested as he was in solving this case and finding Brianna, he handled the case well.
Ruzek has often been a hothead and wild card on cases, but while he may have pushed Charlie further than he should have, Ruzek showed a maturity and restraint handling a case like this, whereas once upon a time, he could’ve flown off the handle.
It’s been an ongoing, subtle thing this season where he’s matured a great deal since Makayla entered his life and kudos to the series for touching on that a bit.
The initial interviews of the neighbors did raise some suspicions. DiFranco was one of two who seemed off, and the way he redirected their attention to Brianna’s father was suspect. But it still worked as a decent twist that he was the one who took Brianna instead of Charlie.
Charlie was a pedophile, and there’s no getting around that, but it was concerning when Ruzek took him back home and his housewas vandalized and fliers were everywhere. It’s surprising that people didn’t make a stink about him when he first arrived in the first place.
Charlie seemed in denial about his status as someone who hurt children, but that’s what he is, and people will always treat him as such. Ruzek may have been wrong about his guilt in Brianna’s disappearance, but Charlie’s actions are why people look at him the way that they do.
He was an ornery dick for considering keeping valuable intel to himself to spite Ruzek. If Charlie wanted to argue that he cared about children so much, then he should’ve prioritized Brianna’s life over his hurt feelings over a reasonable assumption.
Nevertheless, instead of putting someone else in the room to question him, Ruzek had to stick with it, and it led to a moving moment for Ruzek where he stated that he does have a daughter and acknowledged how this case got to him because of how terrified he is about protecting her in a world where men like Charlie exist.
Ruzek has no qualms about who and what Makayla is to him. She’s his kid, no questions asked, but the unresolved and undefined thing he has with Kim brought up some things he never would’ve questioned before.
It was frustrating when Ruzek went to Makayla’s school to pick her up, and they treated him like a criminal. Yes, schools have their procedures, and it’s for the child’s safety. I vividly recall similar situations growing up when a close relative had to go through all that hoopla because my word as a child didn’t matter.
Ruzek’s frustration was palpable and warranted, especially when considering how lackadaisical the same school was with Makayla’s estranged uncle hanging around the gate talking to her and giving her candy regularly.
Kim: I killed you didn’t I? With what I said about Makayla. Let me be clear, OK? I know that you love her, and she loves you, Adam. I’m not going to take her from you.
Ruzek: Then why do you have me in a standby position.
But Ruzek had every right to be annoyed with Kim, and this is such a bizarre thing to happen. The hour even proved after their talk resolving the issue just how absurd Kim’s thinking is when they brought up that they would’ve been in this similar situation if they had their biological kid.
Kim is the queen of mixed signals, but this takes this cake, making this entire plot baffling and oddly redundant. Time and again, we keep seeing where Kim lacks faith in Ruzek one minute, but in the same breath, she’s the one championing and uplifting him in the next.
When Kim was pregnant, their initial plan was to co-parent together, regardless of if they became a couple again or not. They were set on becoming a family, and there was no confusion there.
So when Kim adopted Makayla, and she went out of her way to ask Ruzek to be Makayla’s other guardian, specifically if something happened to her, it seemed apparent that, with Makayla, it would be the same way.
Ruzek took care of Makayla when Kim got kidnapped and while she recovered. He’s been living at her house for months, and this whole time, he’s been raising Makayla, too. Hell, he’s known Makayla just as long as Kim has, and taken care of and protected her the same length of time, too.
KIM is the one who checks in with Ruzek and makes comments about coming back home, and it’s always been implied that they were a family, even if they weren’t together. SHE called Makayla and herself Ruzek’s family and told him that he always has to keep his head on straight for THEM.
You don’t outright say these things to a person and then walk them back in the name of “boundaries.” What boundaries? They’ve been playing house for months, and she hasn’t only allowed it, she’s encouraged it. It makes no sense for her to pull the rug from under his feet and suddenly ice him out of the family for Makayla’s sake.
How is instilling some distance between a traumatized girl who lost most of her family and the man who has become a father figure to her in Makayla’s best interest? The specific drama in this is so contrived and random. It’s enough to give a person whiplash, and it felt like another peculiar continuity thing.
You asked me if I have a kid. I do. She’s a girl. She’s seven just like Brianna. So you can imagine what I felt when I saw you It’s a little overwhelming being a father sometimes. Being a detective. You get scared.
Kim wouldn’t have considered doing the same thing if it was their biological child. If Ruzek started dating someone else, their child would still be their child, and he’d still be part of their life.
By implying it’s somehow different for Makayla treaded into “family is only DNA” territory, which is ironic considering the circumstances and the potential battle that will ensue.
The sudden friction between Kim and Ruzek and Kim’s line of thinking was contrived writing, but Marina Squerciati can always kill a performance.
However, this hour definitely belonged to Paddy Flueger. He’s easily one of the most underrated actors on this series, and he’s had some particularly impressive moments this season.
So Kim and I were thinking if it were okay with you of course that the three of us can live together permanently?
Flueger and Ramona Edith Williams’ chemistry is delightful, and as a result, you’re invested in this seemingly complex, undefined relationship they have to one another when in reality, it’s simple. He’s her dad, and that’s all there is to it.
I love that Ruzek slipped into this paternal role somewhere along the way, and now there’s no going back from that. Some people are probably frustrated with the romantic aspect of Burzek, but nothing is confusing about them as each other’s person raising a family together.
I think there’s a beauty in what’s undefined. If they do end up together again romantically, so be it, but there shouldn’t be anything complicated about what Ruzek and Burgess have going for them here. And the two of them moving into a new apartment with Makayla makes all the sense in the world.
While they should’ve already reached this conclusion or been in this headspace in the first place, it was sweet when Ruzek had that moment with Mac and wanted to make it official. Of course, the revelation that she was talking to a strange man dampened the mood.
Voight: You guys got married?
Halstead: Yeah we did.
Atwater: What the hell? Congratulations.
After the case they were on — naturally, Burzek went berserk. But this uncle wrench in their happy family is a gut punch.
Seriously, where was this man the entire time they were looking for other relatives? Why didn’t he show up when his brother died? Why is he stalking his niece at her school instead of going through the proper channels in the first place?
Why can’t Kim and Adam have their daughter without this development? It feels like a similar storyline they had on Chicago Fire. On top of that, it’s weird that Kim can never be happy, like, at all. But maybe they’ll do more with this storyline than they did her PTSD/kidnapping one.
- Of course, Voight was the first one to notice Jay and Hailey got hitched. Surprisingly, he didn’t have much to say, but Kevin’s reaction was priceless and a whole mood.
- JAY’S FLYING TACKLE WAS EPIC!
- LOVE it when Atwater kicks down doors.
- I peeped Voight pairing Halstead and Atwater after he saw those rings, good for him, and us. We got Halstead/Jay, Hailey/Kim, and so forth. There’s nothing wrong with changing up the dynamics a little!
- I genuinely don’t understand how Makayla’s random uncle will have any standing to assume custody of her, but we can probably expect they’ll use Kim’s job and her non-relationship with Ruzek against her because of sexism. Goody.
Over to you, Chicago PD Fanatics. Were you shocked by that blast from Makayla’s past? Will Kim and Adam lose Makayla? Sound off below!
You can watch Chicago PD online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.