It seems the Sean O’Neal case is nowhere close to getting resolved.
And unfortunately, by the end of Chicago PD Season 10 Episode 7, the chief learned about Sean and is in denial, and Sean is officially tipped off about the unit coming after him with Hailey leading the charge.
Now their job is harder than ever if they’re trying to take down a prolific trafficker protected by a cop who already knows they’re coming for him.
Kudos to the series because they’ve heeded some of the criticism and are working on it. For starters, they won’t have us coming for them over continuity when Hailey has been rocking that scar on her forehead for a good minute.
It coincides nicely with the timeline that reminds us it hasn’t been that long since Halstead’s departure, but she hasn’t been functioning well since then.
We had a few moments where we got some insight into her mental and emotional state regarding her husband. It may speak to how hard a time she’s having that she can’t even say his name.
Hailey hasn’t gone home since he left. It doesn’t feel like it’s her home anymore without him there, so that’s one of many reasons she’s thrown herself into working so much that she’s getting reprimanded about it.
She’s not getting any sleep either, and there’s only so long she can keep up this routine without it catching up to her. It’s a punishing pace she’s keeping, and taking a toll on her.
Her obsession with this case only enables her poor sense of self-care these days. And there were more than a few moments where it felt as if her mental and emotional state or perhaps lack of sleep could’ve cost them everything.
So far, she’s lucky in that she’s been on point and handled herself as well as one can hope for from her. Even the brief moment where it seemed she had gone off-book and jeopardized everything was a refreshing fake-out.
Everyone is aware of the state that she’s in and trying to support her as best as they can and as much as she’ll allow. But as with most things, Hailey only opens up on her own terms.
I haven’t really been home in a while. I haven’t really wanted to.
Hailey [to Kim]
We got a brief moment with Kim where she talked a little bit about her inability to go home, and it has been genuinely nice to see these two women working together more and talking and communicating like actual friends.
Despite the void Halstead left behind for many, a positive from this unfortunate development is how much the team opens up to each other and works together.
On the earlier topic of the season working to rectify many of its issues, the team element of this season has been a breath of fresh air.
Everyone is contributing to the installment and the investigation, showing that even when they center on a specific character during an installment, it doesn’t have to come at the expense of everyone else.
No matter how many people try to get on Hailey’s case about getting some sleep, gaining focus, and taking a beat, she’s not listening.
Voight: You can’t do it this way.
Hailey: What does that mean?
Voight: You got to turn down the heat. You got to go home and sleep.
But the most vulnerable and honest she’s been about her feelings, and the loneliness she feels since Halstead left was when she sat down with Sean.
Sometimes, the best lies are the ones closest to the truth. She was able to mislead and disarm him because she was actually being honest when she talked about her difficulties returning home and the void in her life since Jay left.
Through that conversation with the man she’s trying to take down, we learn she hasn’t spoken to Jay since he left for Bolivia. She has no idea where he is or what’s happening to him. He’s simply gone, completely cut off from her life.
It’s no wonder she’s doing whatever she can to distract herself. It has to hurt, and it’s surprising how easily they’ve leaned into this notion that Halstead cut ties and abandoned his wife, to put it bluntly.
Blessedly, they didn’t waste time reading the rest of the team on this case. It was exciting to see how Trudy orchestrated an entire decoy investigation to cover their tracks while they looked into Sean.
And not only did we see the return of the cage, although it didn’t get a throwback workout, we also saw the team using one of the stash/undercover apartments as their operation base while they looked into Sean.
We got a lot of the police work on display as they worked to come up with leads and followed them, whether they bore fruit or not.
And one of the best sequences of all was Hailey, Trudy, and Kim all taking time to talk some sense to Birdy. What I wouldn’t give for an all-woman episode of the series with the three of them working a case together.
Hailey’s obsessive surveillance produced Sean’s connection with Victor, the trafficker. And Ruzek heading undercover and happening across Birdy also gave them a significant lead moving forward.
Voight: I’m not investigating Sean for drugs. I’m investigating him for sex trafficking. Minors.
Once Hailey had to shoot him, Victor was a dead end, and it’s a surprise that someone who was slippery enough to go free constantly had such a basic final fate.
They could’ve nailed Sean once and for all if they didn’t have that issue with the warrant for that warehouse tipping of Chief O’Neal.
The warehouse was a treasure trove for their case, or at least it would’ve been if people hadn’t gone through and removed all of the incriminating data, records, and other evidence.
The moment they showed all the bleach cans, it was apparent what had happened. Sean gives off the impression that he’s playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers, so he manages to cover his tracks.
Sean: I think not being able to go home is the most natural thing in the world, but why did you come here?
Hailey: I can’t stop thinking about her, Abby. Everything that happened, I just can’t. I haven’t stopped working the case.
Sean: Good. You find anything?
Hailey: Maybe. A name that came up. Victor Holmes.
It’s upsetting that they didn’t get to those girls and couldn’t save them in time. Sadly, something happening to one of those girls will likely lead to the unit’s next crack in this case.
But for now, I don’t know where things stand with this investigation. Sean now knows that Hailey is surveying him and likely intent on taking him down.
He’s now aware that he’ll have to cover his tracks more and put an end to all of this.
Sean is playing with fire right now, but so is Hailey. It will be an interesting thing to witness.
Chief O’Neal’s confrontation with Voight shifted everything, too. He couldn’t wait to lay into Voight, calling upon their history and explaining why Voight should be more indebted to him.
He was pissed that Voight didn’t give him a heads up, but he had to understand how they usually play these things and why Voight operated as he did.
Chief O’Neal is in denial about his son. He was so busy assuming they were going after Sean because of his drug habit.
Sean may be sober, but he’s a pedophile and abuser, and there’s no amount of saving him from what, so who knows what O’Neal’s next steps are?
He’s my kid. He’s my son. Me and you, we came up together. And you have never had a better friend in the Ivory Tower.
His response to the news indicated that he wasn’t involved with Sean’s operation, but he’s so strongly in denial that he would not assist them either.
And what can they do now that Sean knows something is up, and the chief has the power to shut things down for them? The unit is operating in uncertainty now while the lives of many young women depend on a resolution.
I’m curious to see how they manage to drag this out and what it even looks like for them after their investigation was exposed to the O’Neals.
It would feel weird to go about things as business as usual as they focus on a new case, but we know that’s likely what will happen.
Over to you, Chicago PD Fanatics. What are your predictions? How will they take down Sean, and will O’Neal be in the way? Hit the comments.
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Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.