It's unclear if Darius Walker will "be good for Chicago," but one thing is certain: Chicago PD Season 7 Episode 2 was damn good for Chicago.
"Assets" was a phenomenal episode with plenty of surprising moments and unexpected twists, a rarity for a series that follows a meticulously crafted procedural formula.
The plot involving a drug syndicate isn't fresh, but this time around it yielded some engaging moments for our less featured characters.
Chicago PD's strength seems to lie within cases of the week that put the spotlight on "minor" characters.
Don't get me wrong, Halstead, Upton and Ruzek are great, but they're played out.
How many times can these three sing the hero song?
How many times can they try to fill Antonio and Al's shoes?
And how many times can Upton's hard-to-crack exterior put punks in their place?
It's old and repetitive.
But Atwater has always been the show's secret weapon.
Anytime he's dropped into the middle of the action, the episodes have character.
And that's because Atwater is an all-around good dude who wants to do the right thing but realizes that when it comes to situations involving minorities, there's usually a gray area.
If this had been the episode that kickstarted Chicago PD Season 7, I would have said we were in good hands and on track for one of the strongest seasons.
Atwater shared the screen with show's newest character, Vanessa Rojas, (played by The Fosters' Lisseth Chavez).
Rojas can be best described as a tough, undercover cop who is 100% going to become Atwater's love interest.
Even before it got established that Vanessa was working undercover the sparks between her and Atwater were flying.
And though I've said many times that I'm over all these love interests, I don't mind this one because at least she's not in Intelligence.
Atwater has never gotten a proper love interest, and if Rojas continues working on a different team, their relationship has potential.
The two bonded immedietly because Atwater saw himself in her.
She may be a rookie, but she has what it takes to work alongside him.
She shot the suspects that were getting away without any hesitation and was so quick on her feet, Walker didn't even suspect when he caught her in his office.
Introducing a new character to a loyal (and critical, let's be honest) fanbase is tricky; we're very protective over our squad.
It's even more tricky now since we're on edge after two of our favorites, Al and Antonio, were brutally written off.
Ruzek: Lawyer says it's 50/50.
Voight: Yeah, well, your lawyer doesn't have to do the time if he's wrong.
Ruzek: Well, yeah, but what happens when I'm out? My career's over, I gotta find a new job. All I've ever known is being the police, Sarge. It's who I am. It's all I got.
Voight: Then we fight it.
It seems like Rojas is being slotted in as a sort of make-good for Antonio and Al, which are huge shoes to fill.
On the other hand, she's not competing directly with another character like Upton was when she got introduced as practically a Lindsey knock-off with the same no-bullshit attitude and approach to the job.
For now, Chavez has a recurring role with the option of becoming a series regular, so we'll see whether the fandom accepts her.
The good thing is that her backstory hasn't been devloped yet, so there's a good chance they won't make her a cliche character.
What did you think about Rojas? Do you feel she'll vibe well with the team?
Are you excited about the possibility of more women making their way into Intelligence?
Walker got touted as a serious threat to Chicago, but when Rojas and Atwater's teams clashed during the drug exchange, it proved that both sets of forces weren't able to infiltrate his inner circle.
Either Rojas and Atwater are just that good at being undercover or Walker was never as big of a threat as they made it out to be.
Either way, it was hilarious to watch it go down.
Walker was a complex character who made you feel hot and cold.
Everything he said to Atwater in the investigation room was true.
Regardless of his existence, drugs would be sold because addiction is a strong and often lifelong disease.
It's also profitable.
If Walker wasn't the one selling it would be someone else likely a young, reckless teenager with a bad or deadly product, who engaged in petty gang wars and didn't invest his profits back into the community.
His good deeds were sprinkled in throughout the episode, and Atwater took notice.
He helped the impoverished by donating leftover food, he paid for tuition and books, and he made sure drugs, even his own, were never sold in the vicinity of a school.
Despite selling heroin, Walker was doing good things for his people.
Walker didn't just talk the talk, he walked the walk.
And his speech was so well-crafted; it may have been the best writing ever for Chicago PD.
Atwater couldn't argue with anything Walker said, and Voight, well, he simply saw an opportunity that not only benefited him and Ruzek but also Chicago.
Instead of sending Walker to prison, the deal was to let Walker continue with his community as he simultaneously ratted out the competition.
Darius Walker: You just don't get it, do you?
Atwater: What don't I get? Hmm?
Darius Walker: Whether I'm here or not, users and still gunna use. Only difference is they're going to be buying the product from some 19-year-old punk with too much to prove. Some badass half a gang banger willing to shoot up a city block over a Twitter dispute or a spat with some fatass girl in tight jeans. But the biggest difference between me and the person who is about to replace me is that I reinvest my profits in the community. In the people.
Atwater: You a Robin Hood for black folk, huh?
Darius Walker: No, no, Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor. Hypothetically speaking, I take from the weak and give to the strong so they can get even stronger. LEt's be honest, brother, some folks out there ain't got no chance. They're weak, uninspired, all they think about is getting high, so I sell them what they want... heroine. With that money, I invest in brothers and sisters who got game, who got smarts, who are willing to put in the time and the effort to make something of themselves. Legally. Like it or not, that's the only way black folks are going to get out of these streets. It ain't pretty, it ain't fashionable to say out loud, but it's the truth. And I know none of y'all in blue want to believe this, but Darius Walker is good for Chicago.
I'd say Walker would frown upon being a rat, but he sang like a canary when Atwater asked him who killed those two Latin Kings, so he'll likely take the deal.
Walker is the only bad guy who has ever managed to have any staying power.
He was educated, self-aware, and knew how to get what he needed.
While most bad guys are disposable with one-episode arcs, Walker has proven his usefulness, and I'm not opposed to seeing him assist Intelligence in the future.
As I said, Voight saw an opportunity with this Walker situation and knew how to sell it to the new Interim Superintendent Jason Crawford.
After Kelton's death, his coveted spot opened up, and Crawford was hungry for it.
Voight's offer was an "I'll scratch you, you scratch me type of deal."
With Walker's help, Crawford would put away more bad guys thus making his force look bigger and better than before.
And in exchange, Crawford got the ASA to drop the charges against Ruzek due to "insufficient evidence."
See, all's well that ends well.
It wasn't surprising that Ruzek got off scot-free by the end of the hour.
With Voight's team depleted, they need all the man power they can get.
They couldn't keep him sidelined for too long, especially after Platt put the pressure on Voight because their boy "wouldn't make it one-month in prison."
Ruzek did a good thing for his friend and partner, but he was not ready to face the consequences.
The only good thing about this resolving so quickly is that they don't have to send Ruzek down a downward spiral.
Antonio's addiction was enough -- Ruzek doesn't need to develop a drinking problem just because he's off the force for a bit.
His behavior this episode -- throwing punches, drinking -- proved that Ruzek didn't learn his lesson at all.
He still doesn't think before acting, which is what got him into this mess in the first place.
If Chicago PD continues down this path of great storytelling and embraces the rest of its cast, not just the same three leads, Chicago PD Season 7 may find its footing again.
Be sure to watch Chicago PD online, and let us know your thoughts!
Do you like the new girl? Should she date Atwater?
Did Ruzek deserve to get his badge back?