This week's episode of Chicago PD was not the episode to watch if you wanted to feel good about the world. Or if you had fond memories of your teenage years. In general, Chicago PD Season 4 Episode 13 was a downer all the way around.
"I Remember Her Now" told a bleak story about a facility for troubled girls that had been turned into a prostitution ring by an opportunistic resident and an equally deplorable security supervisor. It's the kind of story that's been used on crime dramas before, and it's depressing every single time.
It even had the whole speech from the perpetrator about how she should actually be appreciated for giving her victims a better life, because it's not as if the police care. You've seen and heard this before - maybe not this exact plot but at least one that's similarly about abusing the less fortunate.
And chances are you knew who was really behind the prostitution ring by the end of the first act. With Tonya's whole smarmy persona, this wasn't one of Chicago PD's most wily episodes.
Atwater: How the hell does a girl get checked in for rounds 24 hours after she dies?
Lindsay: Someone's lying their ass off.
It was, however, a showcase for Jesse Lee Soffer and he ran with it. Between having to break up a cafeteria fight, wrestle an uncooperative resident, and almost get groped, Halstead had a heck of an episode.
But Soffer had a heck of a week between this and clocking some considerable screen time representing Chicago PD in Chicago Fire Season 5 Episode 12. He got to show that he can be both a solid supporting actor and a great leading actor, and his performance was one of the bright spots.
The episode did stumble a bit when it tried to create some third-act tension as if Halstead was legitimately being accused of having sex with Ellie. It was so clear that Tonya's "accusation" was another smarmy line, and yet Jay had to sit there insisting to everyone that he did not do anything.
This idea might have been a good one if the accusation had been made convincingly and Halstead was actually in some real trouble. But instead it just looked like he was trying to argue his innocence for no reason.
Another plus here was the work of Danika Yarosh as Ellie, the girl Halstead befriends. You probably recognized her because she's done a lot of recent work on NBC. She appeared in three episodes of Law & Order: SVU and played Malina Bennett in last year's Heroes Reborn.
But the real MVP this week was Trudy Platt. Even when she's in the 'B' story and only getting a couple of scenes Amy Morton owns this joint. Platt's guilt over not remembering the victim, and her going with Voight to scatter Sam's ashes, was the most moving part of the whole episode.
(Plus, did you catch Casey and Dawson's DCFS advocate Tina conferring with Platt? Even the guest characters get around in One Chicago.)
And even in her angsty state Platt still had time for a quip.
My desk is not a coffee clatch.Platt
Everyone else pretty much sat on the sidelines in "I Remember Her Now." Rixton could have taken the week off. Olinsky got to get the autopsy report and be in one other scene with Voight. Atwater had two good scenes, one with Burgess and another with Lindsay where the two pretended to be apathetic uniformed cops.
At least Lindsay got to help Halstead trash a classroom. Who hasn't wanted to do that once, preferably while listening to "School's Out" by Alice Cooper?
What my polite partner's asking was if she was going to score drugs.Atwater
"I Remember Her Now" was not one of Chicago PD's best episodes. It had a well-treaded plot with an obvious guilty party and it dragged in the third act. But what saved it was the performances of the cast. Not unlike this week's Blindspot, a good cast can make an average script worth watching.
Chicago PD has had more suspenseful episodes and more strongly written episodes, and it will again. But if you're a fan, particularly a fan of Jay Halstead, it did the trick for an hour. Even if it probably made you start thinking back to your own teenage years and realizing that they could have been a lot worse.
Chicago PD is back next Wednesday, February 15 at 10/9c with Chicago PD Season 4 Episode 14, which is called "Seven Indictments." The team thinks a man was murdered in a fire, so how is he standing in their squadroom? The only way to find out is for you to watch.
Until then, if you want to re-watch "I Remember Her Now" again or catch up on any of Season 4 so far, you can watch Chicago PD online. And don't forget to leave your comments about this episode in the comments. Did you enjoy all the screen time for Halstead? Is Platt not awesome? Let us know and we'll see you next week.
Brittany Frederick is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.