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'Chicago PD' review: Going by the book of cliches

Jason Beghe as Hank Voight in "Chicago PD,"

Jason Beghe as Hank Voight in "Chicago PD," episode 101, "Stepping Stone." Credit: NBC

THE SHOW "Chicago PD"

WHEN | WHERE Wednesday night at 10 on NBC/4

WHAT IT'S ABOUT In this "Chicago Fire" spinoff, Det. Sgt. Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) has been picked to run the Chicago police department's Intelligence unit -- involved in getting the worst of the worst off the street -- but it's not clear why. He had been in the slammer himself for some illicit activities while on the force (also not made entirely clear what those were here, but Voight's story is a continuation from his role on "Chicago Fire"). He's a good cop who has one goal -- make the streets safe, with whatever it takes. He gets a like-minded team in place, including Antonio Dawson (Jon Seda), more bound by the book than his new boss; Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer), formerly in active service in the Middle East; and his partner, Erin Lindsay (Sophia Bush), with her own interesting past, before Voight helped her out of her hole.

MY SAY If I happen to meet a cop on a network TV show this season who doesn't Play by His Own Rules (yet who has a gruff manner that masks both a Heart of Gold and a Troubled Backstory), then -- by God -- I'll shake his hand, buy him a beer and offer my sincere thanks. But the oldest trope in the TV kingdom dies hard, and in fact dies not at all on "Chicago PD," the latest from "Law & Order" creator Dick Wolf, who sleepwalks through this show, or at least doesn't bother to wake up long enough to rewrite any of the rules he's established over the past 30 years. Wolf -- who's assembled an all-star production team that includes Matt Olmstead and Mark Tinker -- certainly knows how to make great cop shows. "PD" -- so deeply content to marshal every TV cop procedural riff from here to "Dragnet" -- is not one of them. A shame, really, because Beghe's a good veteran actor with a voice that could stop birds in flight. Raspy, wheezy, it's a character in its own right. But from the minute Voight roughs up some drug-dealing punk in the opening frames -- then sends him off with a warning, "Don't ---- with my city" -- you know you're in for a long, wearily familiar ride.

BOTTOM LINE "Chicago P.U."


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