The only good serial rapist, pedophile, and trafficker is a dead one.
At least, that’s what Hailey Upton would argue. On the one hand, she managed to nab Sean and bring him down on Chicago PD Season 10 Episode 9, but on the other, she didn’t get what she desired, and the man was still breathing.
As for Hailey, she’s circled back to her Dark Hailey Era. And she and Voight may be in their Daddy/Daughter Era again, too.
Sean has been a problem for most of the first half of the season. The team has been dedicated to taking him down, even though they had to contend with the Chief.
The team succeeded in doing that by the end of the hour, spearheaded by Hailey, who has thrown her entire being into this case because it distracted her from everything she doesn’t want to unpack in her personal life.
It’s standard for the job and a specific subset of people working it. We’ve watched Hailey struggle with self-care since Halstead left, burying herself into work to her detriment.
The Sean case consumed her more than anything else. She left a piece of herself in that one, and not only did the case get into her head, but Sean managed to do it too.
Voight: Paddy, your son led us to this. Shawn is involved in this. You can’t protect him. You can’t save him from this. Help me bring in Sean now.
Chief O’Neal: He’s my son you’re not bringing him in.
We’ve heard about their connection, and I’ve watched intently. While I can process what they may have been angling for with Hailey and Sean mirroring each other as broken people, or something to that degree, I still can’t say I’ve seen it.
Maybe they haven’t done the best job selling it, even though Spirandakos and White have an interesting chemistry that works well enough.
When Hailey spoke to Isla about Sean getting into her head and making her believe him or having a pull on her despite her being a cop, it was hard to react to that. Despite the time we’ve spent with Hailey and with Hailey and Sean, it feels like she’s also been inaccessible to the audience.
One can’t unpack what it means for her that it was easier to let Sean, a suspect revealed to be a monster, into her head easier than any of the people around her who care about her.
Hailey’s dogged pursuit of him led to her willingness to do anything to get him and deep emotional responses to the case.
She was in tears talking to Isla, trying to get her to open up and respond to Isla’s horrific experience with Sean, which prompted her to go on the run for six months. One of the standout moments of that scene was Isla checking Hailey on needling her for information to save other girls.
It’s too often a tactic that law enforcement uses when pressing a victim; understandably, they want to make their case and take a bad person off the streets.
But it was great how Isla pointed out how damaging that is on the victim by putting the onus on this traumatized survivor to push past what they’re battling to assist law enforcement and future victims.
It only further invalidates a person when we’re asking them, especially women, to set aside their trauma and feelings for the moment to think about and prioritize someone else’s well-being.
Some of this carried over when the ASA was ready to throw everything out because Isla was a “Bad Victim.” When talking about these survivors and their situations, the language will get your hackles up.
Isla pushed past her discomfort, got hauled in when she didn’t want it, and still gave up information to help when she didn’t want to for the sake of other people, and the implication is that she was useless if she wouldn’t get on the stand and also she was a bad victim.
It’s such reductive of the hell she went through and perfectly captured why survivors don’t feel like the system helps them or believe it’s exploitative in a whole different way.
Dark cases like this always have subtle ways of addressing these minor issues, and I appreciate that.
The unit got stonewalled at every turn in their attempt to capture Sean. There was obviously more hesitation because of his connection to the Chief.
For the life of me, I didn’t understand why Voight brought the Chief to the crime scene where they found that old body to prove that Sean was guilty.
Voight, a man who bent and broke laws to protect his own son, knows what it’s like to go to great lengths to protect a child; the job be damned.
All it did was give the Chief a head’s up on how to protect Sean, and it felt ridiculously contrived to keep Sean one step ahead, destroying evidence and so forth.
Without a dumb move like that, strictly conjured up for conflict and drama, there wouldn’t be much of an episode.
Voight and Hailey paralleled each other, each of them going to their respective O’Neal to talk to them.
Voight did his best to get through to the Chief, who was in denial about his son and what a monster he was and didn’t want to face the truth. He left him with that file of all the awful things Sean did and the case they built against him — the women and girls he hurt.
Voight: So you want to do that now, make cases any way you can. He’s in your head.
Hailey: I know.
Voight: So let’s go back to work. Me, you and the team. That’s how we’re going to get them. That’s how we’re going to save them.
And Hailey made one last attempt to talk to Sean, and she succeeded. I don’t know what she intended to do with the information he gave her or what the point was beyond whatever pull she had to him and this desire to know the truth to save the girls.
But in their own bubble, Sean had a rather chilling monologue about the complexities of him being a monster. He recognized that he was irrevocably broken and drawn to other broken things.
And there was some complexity to him because he did help most of the SafeSpace kids and did some good. When he was good, he was really good.
But when he was bad, he was a true monster.
He expressed that he tried everything to help himself, turned to drugs to battle his urges and thoughts, did every type of therapy, tried multiple religions, and spoke to his father about things.
But once he realized his father wouldn’t process what he was saying and see him for what he was, he knew it was a lost cause. I wonder if he spoke to therapists the way he claimed why they wouldn’t have reported him or something.
He set up some twisted rules for choosing which girls to rape, abuse, traffic, and kill. He created his own convoluted code of conduct and carried on with it.
He was smart enough to cover his tracks and had a father who would do the same. But the spell was broken when Hailey’s phone went off, and whatever his claims were about trying to be a better person in his way shattered when he didn’t tell her where the girls were.
Sean: Do you know how many programs I’ve done?
Sean: Joined six religions too, did you find that out?
Hailey: No. Sean: Six. I read all these books. Did every kind of therapy. Poisoned myself. Talked to my dad, once. Don’t worry, he didn’t understand what I was trying to tell him. His brain wouldn’t let him. He loved me too much. But I did try. I didn’t want to be like this.
Fortunately, Hailey and Voight were able to find them in a nerve-wracking few scenes that had you fearful someone would jump out of the shadows and attack them, especially when the radios weren’t working.
Anytime Hailey or Kim wanders off by themselves, there’s a fear of attacks, kidnappings, or whatever else.
Finding the truck with the girls in it was finally enough to get Sean, but by then, it was too late.
The Chief opting to put his own son down like a dog felt downright biblical. He loved his son too much but didn’t want him to cause any more harm or go away, so he shot and hoped to kill him.
Then he killed himself, likely because he could live with what he did, who he raised, and what he enabled.
But the Chief is dead, and Sean is alive. Of course, evil never dies easily.
And this brought us back to Hailey circling around to her Dark Hailey Era again. One thing that remains consistent is how inconsistently this single character is written to the point that I’m not sure which version of Hailey is supposed to be the correct one anymore.
There she was, encouraging Voight to let Sean die, refusing to help save him until the very end, as Voight, of all people, proceeded to do his job by the books.
The constant role reversal between these two can give a person whiplash. But this version of Hailey was a far cry from the woman who drove herself to a mental breakdown after a technically good shoot and shoddy coverup with Roy.
But it is like the Hailey who orchestrated a man’s death with a smile. Is it that sleep deprivation brings out another side to her?
She wasn’t too pleased that Sean survived that ordeal, and while this portion of the investigation is likely over, something tells me the mark Sean left won’t be gone anytime soon.
The hour wrapped up the Sean arc and investigation. But overall, it didn’t feel like a midseason finale in any way. And while it was heavily case-centered, the rest of the team disappeared, which is never fun.
The urges, they don’t go away, because they can’t. See, bad things do happen, Hailey. Bad things happen but you can control how they happen. You can control who they happen to, that is what I learned. you can sacrifice the ones who are already broken to save the rest.
Hailey and Voight are back to this complex dynamic sans Halstead, where he’s taken her under his wing a bit more, feels paternal, and may be trying to save her soul again.
And Hailey remains this complicated character with men playing such a constant, consuming part of her life all the time. Halstead is still in her head and heart, Sean got in her head and was who she was drawn to while alienating herself from everyone else, and Voight is a touchstone for her now.
She’ll likely still spend much of her time connected to him.
It was a rather dull hour, and there wasn’t anything particularly gripping about it to leave you with bated breath until the series returns.
It’s a good thing we’ll want to come back regardless.
Over to you, Chicago PD Fanatics. What did you think of this midseason finale? What do you make of Hailey’s behavior? Sound off below.
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Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.