It bears repeating that Dante Torres has been an excellent addition to this series.
They also introduced a new dynamic by pairing him with Ruzek the entire time, which was a refreshing change of pace and also showcased Ruzek’s growth well despite playing a supporting role.
Borkowski was such a piece of garbage, and no one will ever accuse Chicago PD of having an ounce of subtlety when depicting their villains.
Borkowski was such a cartoonishly cruel dirty cop that it was almost ridiculous. The interrogation scene with a person of interest alone was on the extra side of things.
And his smarmy expressions and moments with Torres were effectively offputting. He’s someone from whom you can expect to return. Hopefully, if he does, they will be able to pin something concrete to him and get him off the streets because the man is terrible.
The opening scenes of the hour set the pace for the rest of the installment and adequately showcase who Dante is and how he contrasts with the run-of-the-mill cop.
The seasoned cops took them under their wing and seemed amused by the fact that they had this rookie at their poker table with them.
They all radiated “old” police, in style and otherwise, and you could sense how out of place Torres felt, even if he was appreciative that he got brought into the circle via Ruzek.
Torres always stands out, ironically, because of his ability to blend in with civilians, to be specific. He has such a unique perspective on the job because of his experiences growing up and continuing to be a target on the other side of the law simply because of how he looks and where he lives.
While the subtlety of an antagonist like Borkowski is nonexistent, the way the series slips in the microaggressions that Torres faces are. Borkowski’s feigned interest in Torres and the specific questions he asked on the surface could seem so innocent.
Torres: I just became part of the Blue Wall. You know what that feels like for me?
Ruzek: No. No, I don’t. This job, it’ll find a million different ways to break your heart.
But they weren’t, and as Borkowski’s actions continued, it became impossible to not see it for what it was. But all of it began with the pursuit of Alex that took such a horrific turn that it was enraging.
Nothing about his story or the one Alex attempted to make sense of. You could drive three a tank through all the stories’ holes, and no evidence could support that anything Borkowski said was true.
Alex looked horrible. Borkowski seemed to take great pleasure in beating him to a pulp, and that’s not the person you’d ever want on the streets. Torres recognized this instantly.
I loved how he assessed the scene from the moment he got to that alleyway. He pays attention to everything and has a natural gift for discernment since he wasn’t particularly vibing with Borkowski from the beginning.
His instances told him what he needed to know long before anything else came out to support them. Borkowski was so blatant with his actions, as well.
He tried to pull his seniority card on Torres often. He tried redirecting him constantly and did what he could to keep Torres from speaking to Alex directly.
Borkowski was so conniving and underhanded at every turn. It’s commendable that Torres didn’t shy away from what he thought was happening and how he wanted to end it.
As a rookie, one easily could understand the desire to fall back and not make waves. Someone like Borkowski could make or ruin Torres’ career, and he’s only just started getting his feet wet.
Dante, did you think I wasn’t going to have your back?
It’s how the hierarchy works and how something like the Blue Wall can thrive. Dante was the fearless sort who challenged it the whole time, and he still got sucked into in the end in his desire to do what was best for Alex.
It was bold of Dante to look into Borkowski as he did. I loved that Trudy picked up how serious things were just from Dante’s behavior and got him the information he requested. And the entire time, Voight was likely reading between the lines even if it didn’t get read in.
He certainly saw the situation at the crime scene when Borkowski threatened Dante. Voight didn’t say anything about it, but you damn well he filed that away for later.
It was even brave of Torres to be honest with Ruzek right out of the gate, even when he knew that Ruzek was close to Borkowski. In some ways, it felt like a test for him to assess who he’ll be working alongside, and he wanted to see how Ruzek would respond to and handle the situation.
We’ve known since Torres’ introduction that he doesn’t trust anyone easily, and he’s always on guard. It makes sense that as he makes his way through working with each unit member, he needs some one-on-one time and beyond to get a feel for who they are.
Unfortunately for Ruzek, Dante had to assess Ruzek through how he chose to handle the situation. And thankfully, Ruzek didn’t give Torres any reason not to trust him.
Ruzek has definitely had the best character growth over the years. Instances like this are when it’s on display, and you can marvel at how he reacts to something versus how he would’ve seasons ago.
Ruzek is nothing if not loyal. He’d walk through fire for the people he’s closest to, and he’s the guy you always want on your six.
But he’s also the guy who has a blindspot when it comes to fellow cops. He’s a legacy kid, and he’s been conditioned to give them the benefit of the doubt and take their word.
It took him a brief moment to get over his disbelief and accept what Torres said, but instead of challenging Dante, he focused on the need to get enough evidence to prove Borkowski was a bad dude and get him properly reprimanded for it.
This more mature version of Adam can recognize the importance of getting everything in order and operating from a focused place that doesn’t involve allowing one’s emotions to rule them.
And the conversations he had with Torres also harkened back to some of the same ones he’d have with Kevin. One of the best things was noticing that Ruzek didn’t get in his feelings when Torres reminded him of his privileges.
This is why I became a cop.
Ruzek is known for getting defensive and sometimes even being willfully obtuse when it comes to anyone pointing out his blindspots. We’ve seen it before with Kevin.
The case and this situation with Dante easily could’ve been something reserved for Dante and Kevin to deal with coming from similar places, but it was far richer having this work with Ruzek instead.
We got the Ruzek who could fully embrace that someone like Torres has a totally different viewpoint, experience, and knowledge about cops than he does.
And Ruzek backed him without hesitation, which seemed to catch Dante, who isn’t used to anyone having his back, off guard.
It would’ve been too easy if they could expose Barkowski and get him off the streets. Instead, Torres had to grapple with what the job entails and what he’d be up against as he continued with it.
Dante has a straightforward reason for why he became a cop, and through his actions, he showed that better than he could’ve ever explained. He put himself and his life on the line, literally, to ensure that Bartowksi wouldn’t cause harm to persons of interest in their case and other things.
He was visibly on edge when Bartowksi resorted to intimidation with ease during the interrogation. He had that man’s number and could predict his next moves.
It wouldn’t be Chicago PD if they didn’t revisit this and Bartowski didn’t return down the line. It genuinely sucked that Dante quickly realized that sometimes the job gives you solutions that don’t have the best outcomes.
Ruzek dropped so many pearls of wisdom and was a great mentor for Torres throughout all of this. I loved how he broke down the various solutions for handling the Bartoskwi situation, protecting Alex, and letting Dante make the best choice for Alex.
But it still hurt that part of doing what was good for Alex meant he didn’t get to do what was morally right. It was truly bothering him that he had to lie under oath.
And you could hear from how he spoke about it that the idea of him becoming part of the very thing he despised and actively got into the field to combat, how tough this was for him as the realization of how tough the gig is and what it asks of you.
The rest of the team fell into the background for this case, but it worked here. Torres and Ruzek dominating the hour were refreshing and worth every second.
The case was interesting, and my heart ached for that poor woman who got sexually assaulted in front of her husband.
But if Dante didn’t have a spot for him with this unit, he could easily start working in a special victims unit because the soft, gentle, and conscientious way he handled that rape victim was enough to move one to tears over how well he did with that.
It was a strong installment all around and a great return for the series.
Over to you, Chicago PD Fanatics. Did you love this episode? Do you think Borkowski will return? Sound off below.
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Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.