Series: Chicago PD

Chicago PD is an NBC Police Procedural, Spin-Off of Chicago Fire, and second show in the Chicago Trilogy, that debuted in January 2014.

The series follows Sergeant Hank Voight, a cop who may or may not be dirty, as he takes command of the Chicago Police Department's Intelligence Section. Voight and his unit brutally take on the city's most dangerous criminals using borderline, and outright, illegal tactics to keep Chicago safe.

See also Chicago Med, a medical drama that belongs in the same universe.


This show provides examples of:

  • Abandoned Warehouse: Both this show and Chicago Fire have an awful lot of calls that lead to these.
  • Action Girl:
    • Lindsay, of course.
    • Burgess, as well. She's been physically put through the wringer multiple times and always comes through with flying colors.
  • Acting Unnatural: Halstead is usually pretty good at undercover work... until he and Lindsay infiltrate a sex club to question a "bartender."
    Lindsay: (sexily) Well, what about you? Do you want to play?
    Halstead: (awkwardly) Playtime for my girl.
  • Adult Fear: Antonio's worst fears come true at the end of the pilot, when his son Diego is kidnapped.
  • Always on Duty: No matter what time of day or night, we never see anyone at the desk but Platt.
  • Antagonistic Offspring: Voight's son Justin, from their introduction in Chicago Fire through Season 1. It's not until Season 2, following a bit of tough love, that the father/son relationship appears to be changing a bit.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Platt is furious at Burgess and Roman for putting Nadia in danger during a ride along and even angrier at Nadia for willfully putting herself in the line of fire.
  • Asian and Nerdy: Downplayed with Jin. He's not especially nerdy, but he is the tech guy.
  • Badass Bookworm: Mouse, Intelligence's new tech expert, is slight-statured, twitchy, and speaks in a soft voice. He's also a former Army Ranger and a combat veteran who continues to suffer from PTSD.
  • Badass Grandpa: Voight becomes a grandfather in the gap between Seasons 2 and 3. The man who terrifies most of Chicago and the surrounding area by reputation alone turns out to be a doting grandpa who's more than happy to go to theme restaurants to spend time with his grandson.
  • Badass in Distress: Mouse, the Intelligence Section's tech expert and formerly of the 75th Ranger Regiment, is taken hostage. Judging by how quickly he disarmed the hostage taker and Halstead's annoyance, it's clear that Mouse could have gotten out at any time but chose to stay because he thought the man needed a sympathetic ear.
  • Bait and Switch:
    • In "Chin Check," Antonio's wife Laura demands he bring his CI Jasmine (a prostitute) on a date with them. Both Antonio and Jasmine think Laura's there to confront Jasmine and stake her claim. Turns out, Laura just wanted to thank Jasmine for helping them find Diego in the previous episode.
    • Sergeant Platt, as is her wont, pulls a double on Burgess and Roman, telling Roman that his new partner would be "Tim", instead of "Kim", Burgess and telling Burgess that Roman would be friendly while knowing that Roman has issues with female partners and would be belligerent towards Burgess.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Burgess takes a shotgun blast to the face and upper body (her vest stopped the worst of it). Her wounds remain visible for a few episodes but they quickly fade save for some scars on her shoulder.
  • Bilingual Bonus: So far, the Gratuitous Spanish has been unsubtitled.
  • Blackmail: Both Platt and Voight have no qualms about using this when needed (in Season 2, Voight even reveals that he rents a storage unit where he keeps potentially incriminating materials).
  • Blood Brothers: Mouse and Halstead first met while serving in Afghanistan. As Season 3 unfolds, it becomes more obvious just how complex the dynamics of their relationship truly are, thanks to the experiences they underwent together at that time.
  • Book Ends: The first season starts and ends at one of Chicago's many abandoned grain elevators with a dramatic view of the downtown skyline.
  • Briefcase Full of Money: Several times Voight has given huge amounts of cash to people in need, courtesy of the safe hidden in his basement.
  • Bullying a Dragon: A lot of people seem to think that they can be the one to intimidate Voight. He very quickly robs them of that notion.
    • A couple of crooks hear that Voight keeps a significant stash of money in his home and decide to rob him and torture Olive, the woman pregnant with Voight's grandchild, to get him to open his safe. The two find out the hard way why that was a bad idea.
    • A murderer (who is genuinely guilty) whom Voight put away with false information decides to try and kill him with a bomb planted in his car, nearly killing Voight's family in the process. Voight has to be physically pried off the guy when he's finally caught.
  • Butt Monkey: Burgess for Platt, although the latter has shown her softer side from time to time, actually complimenting Burgess when she does well.
  • Bystander Syndrome: Except for Halstead occasionally questioning his fellow cops' willingness to simply go along with Voight's methods, the cops of the 21st District will conspicuously turn their eyes away and let Voight and the Intelligence Section do what they have to do.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : Burgess and Atwater, in Season 1; Burgess and Roman, in Season 2
  • Class Reunion: In Season 1, Lindsay begs Halstead to escort her to hers, pretending he is her extremely wealthy and successful fiance in order to impress the snobby girls who ridiculed her as a teen. Although he doesn't approve, Halstead agrees to go, but just outside the hotel, Lindsay changes her mind about going inside.
  • Cold Sniper: Subverted with Halstead. Despite serving in this capacity for the military and now the Chicago police, he is very feeling. He simply knows that sometimes it's the only way.
  • Convicted by Public Opinion: Although there is no concrete evidence that Voight is a dirty cop, it seems most people think he is. Sometimes he uses this reputation to his advantage, sometimes it bites him in the ass.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Olinsky sees that Ruzek is getting cocky over being assigned to Intelligence straight out of the academy. In order to fix that, Olinsky turns Ruzek over to Platt, who is more than delighted to have the rookie as a plaything. The desk sergeant proceeds to treat Ruzek worse than she normally treats Burgess and Atwater, which doesn't thrill Burgess because she's partnered with Ruzek for the day. Ruzek is suitably cowed by the end of the day and Olinsky takes him back as his partner.
  • Cool Shades: Ruzek is regularly seen sporting darkened sunglasses on the job...even when it doesn't seem he'd need them and nobody else is wearing them.
  • Could Say It But: In "The Docks." IT is mixed with Deadly Euphemism when Halstead tells a hospitalized Antonio that Voight and Olinksy have captured Pulpo... but didn't arrest him.
    Antonio: I didn't see anything on the news.
    Halstead: I'm not sure you're going to.
  • Cowboy Cop:
    • Voight plays hard and fast with the rules in the name of keeping Chicago safe. It's eventually revealed the Voight and Olinsky have done truly horrific, outright illegal, things to get criminals off the street.
    • Jimmy Shi, Voight and Olinsky's friend from the old days, runs a deep undercover unit of Asian cops whose sole task is to violently take down gangs in Chinatown.
  • Crapsack World: The show isn't shy about showing how violent Chicago can be and occasionally touches on corruption and navel gazing within the CPD. In fact, the city's rate of gun crimes is so high, the Chicago Police Department is one of the few cities where all officers (uniformed and plainclothes) wear vests outside of their clothing while on dutynote .
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • Jin realized that working in Intelligence meant that he and the rest of the unit would inevitably come under heavy scrutiny. In order to counter that, he electronically monitored the activities of every cop he could, including some very high up the chain of command, and dug up a lot of dirt in order to have some leverage in the future.
    • Voight has his own stash of blackmail material, listed by season and year. Summer 2005 comes in handy when trying to get a memorial stone approved.
  • Crossover Ship: In-Universe. Thanks to Dick Wolf's decision to have the characters of Chicago Fire and Chicago PD regularly make crossover appearances, characters from both shows have entered into relationships.
    • Severide from Fire and Lindsay from PD started a relationship, which Lindsay ended after Severide, still reeling from Shay's death, kept bailing on her.
    • Starting in Fire's third season, Mouch and Platt from the two shows are in a relationship.
    • Although not confirmed in canon, there have been hints about Voight and SVU's Benson possibly being involved. There is a great deal of speculation across the internet. Jason Beghe said that there are undertones of romance in how he and Mariska Hargitay play their scenes but that Voight is currently still mourning the loss of his wife and not quite aware of the mutual attraction.
  • Daddy's Girl: Although she's not his actual daughter, either biological or adopted, Lindsay and Voight have an incredibly close relationship. She always defends his actions, even when everyone else is against him, and he in turn tries to protect her physically in an often dangerous job.
  • Day in the Limelight: "What Do You Do" is almost exclusively focused on Burgess returning to patrol after being shot. In fact, the Intelligence Unit is limited to a humorous subplot about getting TASER re-qualified while Voight and Olinsky spent most of the episode talking in his office (see Hand Wave about the details).
  • Death Glare:
    • Voight reserves his for whenever he's truly pissed and/or trying to break a particularly intransigent suspect. A mild version is enough to get a diplomat's bodyguards to give up their weapons.
    • Antonio has a fairly impressive one as well.
  • Descent into Addiction: Lindsay, at the end of Season 2, following Nadia's death
  • Desk Jockey:
    • Sergeant Platt works the desk of the 21st District's station house. She later explains that she was Antonio's training officer and took a shot to the hip while they were on patrol. Antonio managed to get her to safety but the injury meant that she'd be stuck behind a desk for the rest of her career.
    • Nadia takes a job as the Intelligence Section's secretary as of the Season 2 premiere, although she has ambitions to become a cop in the future.
  • Dirty Cop:
    • Voight is suspected of being this by a great many people. Chicago Fire seemed to set up that he's pretending to be dirty in order to take down street gangs, but developments on Chicago PD make things murkier. Voight finally reveals to the Intelligence Section that he indeed put himself out as a corrupt cop in order to catch criminals, but that does very little to make clear if his hands are truly clean.
    • The Season 2 Finale implies that Voight's reputation was blown out of proportion thanks to rumors. The only thing that's certain is that Voight has always acted extralegally (to what extent is yet to be seen) but also has Chicago's best interests at heart.
    • While there are a fair number of honest cops in the city of Chicago, and Voight's unit is indeed cleannote  (in the sense that they're working against criminals), Chicago also has its fair share of corrupt cops.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: Averted. The cops go to great lengths to help anyone who needs it, and Lindsay even opens her home to Nadia after the girl comes out of rehab.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Lindsay (quite understandably, as she is the child of a junkie mother and a father serving life in prison)
  • Establishing Character Moment: In the first episode, Voight forces a beaten drug dealer to drive outside Chicago city limits, kicks his ass some more, gets him to give up his supplier, takes his money (four thousand dollars of it), and tells him that if he ever steps inside Chicago again, he'll kill him. Then, he leaves him a hundred bucks for bus fare.
  • Everyone Can See It: Lindsay and Halstead, from pretty much the start of the show. Even Sgt. Benson, visiting from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, comments upon it literally the moment she sees them interact.
  • Facial Composite Failure: Ruzek, unable to use the new software, hilariously outsources the composite to a rookie cop for a hamburger.
  • Fair Cop: Pretty much everyone of course, but special mention should probably go to Detective Erin Lindsay, who's played by Sophia Bush, and Officer Kim Burgess, played by Marina Squerciati.
  • Evil Gloating: Gish, the pyromaniac who killed Shay traps Gabby in an elevator and spends enough time doing this for the team to show up and kill him.
  • Family of Choice: Lindsay and Voight. After a meeting with her mother, during which she is told that Voight is not her family, Lindsay goes straight to Voight, simply to tell him that he definitely is.
  • Fatal Family Photo: Detective Julia Willhite is introduced carpooling with her husband and kids, and dies at the end of the pilot.
  • Fingore: Voight uses a pair of pliers to break the fingers of a man to intimidate a woman into talking.
  • Fostering for Profit: Subverted, with Voight and Lindsay. It's never really been established whether Lindsay was an official foster child - meaning the Voights would be eligible to receive compensation for her - or if they simply got guardianship. In any event, it's clear that the Voights have gone above and beyond for Lindsay, even sending her to private school as a teenager, which would have been out of pocket in any event. However, a number of the cases that come to Intelligence have involved foster children in horrific situations, taken brutal advantage of by both the foster parents and crooked social service workers.
  • Freudian Couch: Averted. Lindsay has met with Dr. Charles in a coffee shop, and they've even chatted unofficially at Molly's.
  • Friend to All Children: Voight has a soft spot for kids and will go out of his way to help young people in trouble. God help you if you threaten one and he finds out about it.
  • From Bad to Worse: Burgess and Roman get caught up in a baby formula smuggling ring and have to deal with increasingly violent twists as the day goes on.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Antonio's a boxer and it shows whenever he has to face off against a perp.
  • The Gunslinger:
    • Voight, apropos because he's also a Cowboy Cop, will stomp up to a gun wielding perp and take them down. Sometimes he'll shout that he wants the perp alive before shooting to maim. The sound effect of his gun is even more booming (closer to a shotgun) than the other characters' guns.
    • Every character, except Platt (because she works the desk), has been shown firing their weapons. Not terribly surprising because, even with some of the toughest gun laws in the country, Chicago currently leads the United States in gun crimes.
  • Guttural Growler: Voightnote .
    • Lindsay also has a very husky voice.
  • Hand Wave: Voight's introduction on Chicago Fire painted him as an outright villain doing illegal things to intimidate Casey and Hailee. After his initial story arc, he was recast as a morally ambiguous but ultimately heroic figure. This discrepancy was eventually explained away in a brief scene in Season 2 where Voight admits to Olinsky that Justin's constant antics had put him in a bad place and he was lashing out at Casey due to his frustration.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The Intelligence Unit is involved in taking down some of Chicago's most violent criminals, but Voight and Olinsky, specifically, see themselves as people who will do the unspeakable in order to protect the public.
  • Hot-Blooded: Many of the officers, but Roman in particular. He even punched another cop when the guy disagreed with him in a crisis.
  • If I Want Your Opinion: Voight, to pretty much everyone. He even tells Lindsay, when she questions not being told something she considers important, that if she doesn't like what he does she's free to transfer.
  • I'm Okay: Burgess, a physically small, female officer, claims to be just fine after sustaining a beating from a man who just beat the crap out of two of her male colleagues (one of whom was a former Army Ranger).
  • Internal Affairs: Frequent antagonists to Voight, and two seperate IA cops have tried to be The Handler to Voight. Though Voight is implied to have genuinely been dirty in the past. In any case, both of them have been total Jerkasses and slightly dirty themselves.
  • In the Blood: Voight's father was a cop, as was Ruzek's
  • It's Personal: Voight takes this trope to new, terrifying lengths. Most cops know that it's simply easier to stand aside and find something else to do while he's on a rampage.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique:
    • Voight will use official interrogation rooms and techniques when investigating something that isn't time sensitive. But if the clock is running down, or he's in a really bad mood, Voight will show why the mere mention of his name will get many of Chicago's criminals shaking in fear.
    • With time running out to find Diego's kidnappers, Voight convinces Antonio to beat the truth out of a suspect.
    • In the crossover event with SVU, Olivia Benson has to tell Voight not to do this to the arrested child molester, because she needs to bring their perp back to New York to close a kiddie porn ring.
    • Olinsky gets properly angry when investigating people smugglers and Voight actually has to step in and pull his friend back from going too far with this style of interrogation.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Voight is one of the most vicious cops in Chicago but he does it because he wants to protect the public. He's also fiercely protective of his team and will go to great lengths to help those who genuinely want get out of a life of crime.
    • Platt loves nothing more than to toy with her subordinates but there are lessons to be learned (in a very roundabout way) from the hell she puts them through. She also takes Nadia under her wing and will do what she can to help the officers in her district if they're in genuine need of it.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Intelligence often clashes with the FBI, with the DEA or other agencies. Even when the other group pulls rank, somehow Voight generally manages to take over the case anyways.
  • Just A Flesh Wound: When Voight is shot in the arm in "What Puts You on That Ledge, he says he does not need an "ambo," just a drive to Chicago Med. His arm is in a sling at the end of the episode.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Voight more or less makes a hobby out of this trope.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • Detective Wilhite is killed in the show's first proper episode.
    • Jin is killed in the first season finale.
    • Nadia is kidnapped, raped, brutalized, and killed during a special three-hour crossover event with Chicago Fire and Law & Order: SVU.
  • Ladykiller in Love: A gender flipped example - Platt finds herself smitten with Mouch from Chicago Fire and they enter into a relationship.
  • Last Name Basis: Pretty much everyone, except for the cops' family members.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Averted only with Ruzek, who seems prone to a variety of brightly colored clothing. Everyone else in Intelligence generally wears jeans and dark t-shirts; Voight is often in a dark button-down. Olinsky always wears a dark woolen hat. The others, such as Platt, Burgess and Roman, are always in uniform unless they're at Molly's.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Used mainly as a means of showing another side of Roman.
  • Local Hangout: Molly's, for this group as well as the folks in Chicago Fire
  • Longing Look: Halstead at Lindsay, especially after Voight catches on to their unspoken connection and forbids them to date
  • Mama Bear: Platt has a strange way of showing it but she's fiercely protective of all the cops in her district.
  • Missing Mom: When she was 15, Lindsay's drug-addicted mother simply didn't come home one night. She appears in the Season 2 premiere, calling Lindsay repeatedly, only to have her ignoring the calls. Lindsay finally goes to meet her mother, whom she says she hasn't spoken to in eight years, implying there was some contact between the two after Lindsay moved in with the Voights.
  • The Mole: Voight is convinced someone in his unit is a spy for Internal Affairs, and strongly suspects Sumner who IA placed in his unit. Its actually Jin.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!:
    • Seeing their obvious attraction, Voight tells Halstead and Lindsay to stay away from one another. It's not that he really objects to the relationship in and of itself, but mainly just don't want romantic fallouts to get in the way of their focus on police matters.
    • Interestingly, he also claims to be doing it to look out for Halstead. Lindsay has left a trail of broken hearts behind her, and Voight can't have that screw up his unit.
  • My Way or the Highway:
    • Voight, to pretty much everyone, pretty much all the time.
    • Slightly lampshaded in (appropriately) "My Way." Voight comments that if Commander Perry ever actually compliments them, he'll take everyone out to karaoke. When asked what he'd sing, Voight replies "My Way."
  • Nepotism: Although Lindsay isn't Voight's biological daughter, he has raised her since age 15, making her addition to the elite unit he heads possibly a bit sketchy. However, the two have different last names, and never acknowledge any personal relationship within the precinct, although quite a few people have picked up on it.
  • Nice Hat: Olinsky is never seen without a dark woolen winter hat...not at work, not at the bar, not at home at his own family dinner table.
  • Non-Answer: Voight is a master at this, rarely answering questions he doesn't want to answer, even if his team is legitimately in need of more information about a situation.
  • Noodle Incident: When Ruzek's father walks into the precinct, Platt exclaims, "Disco Bob!" It's never explained why she calls him that.
  • Not Blood Siblings: Voight's son Justin has shown quite a bit of attraction toward Lindsay, kissing her on the mouth and showing jealousy at her perceived relationship with Halstead. Even though they aren't biological siblings, she was 15 when the Voights took her in, and Justin significantly younger, meaning he really should be thinking of her as a sister.
  • Old-Fashioned Copper: Probably the best way to describe Voight is that he is an American version of this trope.
  • Oh Crap!: Voight, when he realizes two of his detectives are walking right into the arms of El Pulpo.
  • One of the Boys: Lindsay, of course, having been raised by Voight alongside his son, then becoming a police officer.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Mouse, who was only referred to as Craig Gurwitch when he initially came to Intelligence.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Any time Sergeant Platt drops her jerkass persona and starts speaking earnestly means something's gone very very wrong.
  • Parental Substitute: The Voights for Lindsay, after he took her in at age 15. Lindsay is later moved to tears at the memory of Voight's wife and how the woman was the one who actually got her to clean up her act.
  • Papa Wolf:
    • Voight, Olinsky AND Dawson, with their respective offspring.
    • Voight goes out of his way to terrorize people in an attempt to protect his son. But he comes to realize the the kid needs a form of discipline that he himself isn't willing dispense so he drives his son to a recruiting station to get him away from Chicago, its influences, and to get him away from a number of felony charges.
    • Voight's protective streak extends to his fellow cops.
  • Penny Among Diamonds: Lindsay tells Halstead that when the Voights took her in, they transferred her to a private school full of rich kids who were only friendly until they learned the truth about her background.
  • Playing Drunk: The cops - usually Lindsay - often pretend to be junkies looking for a high in order to have a reason to get into a drug dealer's place.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Throughout the first episode, Voight continually clashes with Violent Crimes, with their Lieutenant, Bruce Belden, annoyed that Voight doesn't share information - to which Voight retorts that neither does Violent Crimes. Towards the end of the episode, Intelligence rolls up to an apartment where they believe a drug dealer is going to be killed... and Violent Crimes rolls up, telling Voight they're following up on the car belonging to some cartel hitmen, which was spotted at the apartment. It results in one Intelligence detective being shot in the neck, and pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: Season 2 featured more and more references to Chicago Med and Halstead's brother, a plastic surgeon looking to make a career change, started recurring as well. Combine that with out-of-universe industry news being filled with reports of actors being cast as doctors and nurses with contracts that have series options, it wasn't that difficult to guess that Dick Wolf and company were angling for a third series set in Chicago.
  • Promotion to Parent: Atwater, for his 10-year-old sister Vanessa. It's not yet clear as to why.
  • Properly Paranoid: Voight keeps all his money and valuables in a safe hidden in his basement. He also has surveillance cameras around his home and won't answer his door after dark without a gun.
  • Really Gets Around: Platt, if her stories about herself are to be believed. She's apparently been with dozens of men over the years, including a significant chunk of her class at the police academy.
  • Red Herring Mole: While Sumner was placed in the unit by IA, and is sleeping with the IA officer, she's not the Mole.
  • Reminiscing About Your Victims: In "A Little Devil Complex," Olinsky and Ruzek follows the arsonist into a hardware store. The arsonist waits patiently in line and the cashier has a burn on the side of her face. Her burns are from a fire the arsonist "heard about." The arsonist also reveals he was burned on the arm in a fire as child, which allows the Intelligence Unit to find out his real name.
  • Returning the Handkerchief: Subverted hilariously by Lt. Kelly Severide, crossing over from Chicago Fire. Wanting to see Lindsay again but not having a reason once his police business concludes, Severide steals a paperweight from her desk, then shows up at her apartment, claiming it fell into his pocket.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Platt carries a Colt revolver instead of an automatic; as a rookie, she nearly died in her first gunfight when her gun jammed. Her partner went and got her the revolver since it doesn't jam.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Do not piss Voight off. He'll burn down the city if it means catching people who target him, his team, or his family.
    • Voight gets robbed and the woman who's pregnant with his grandchild is tortured. He reaches a new level of brutality in trying to find those responsible.
  • Running Gag:
    • Characters thinking Olinsky isn't around only for him to announce "I'm here!" and come out from his desk, obscured behind a pillar.
    • Whenever Lindsay and Halstead are in a car together, she reiterates that he's not "allowed" to drive.
  • Sex with the Ex: Halstead has an ex-girlfriend from high school with whom he's still on great terms, as well as with her parents. Whenever she's back in Chicago, they hook up.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Burgess in "Chin Check," going for a night on the town with her flight attendant friends. Lindsay, too, when heading out to her high school reunion.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: When Mouse is first hired, Platt asks him questions about his military discharge. About all he can say is "that day," looking haunted, until Platt takes mercy and moves on.
  • Ship Tease: A little between Halstead and Lindsay. Also a little between Ruzek and Burgess.
  • Shirtless Scene: Halstead, a couple of times
  • Shout-Out: At the end of "A Little Devil Complex," Voight compares the arsonist to Henry Howard Holmes, the serial killer who terrorized the 1893 Columbian Exposition and the subject of Devil in the White City.
    Voight: Devil in the White City.
    Olinsky: Back in Hell where he belongs.
  • Shot in the Ass: Platt tells Ruzek that she was actually shot in the rear rather than the hip like she tells everyone, saying that her ass counts as her "high hip". She swears him to secrecy.
  • Standard Cop Backstory: Just about everyone has some tragedy in their past.
    • Voight's father, who was also a cop, was killed when Voight was eight.
    • Lindsay, whose mother was a junkie and father was in prison, bounced around foster homes.
    • Halstead, Olinsky and Mouse were all in the service.
    • Olinsky's marriage fell apart and he moved into his garage in order to be close to his daughter. He and his wife are starting to patch things up but then she kicks him out completely upon the discovery that Olinsky has a previously-unknown daughter from another woman.
    • Atwater has custody of his ten-year-old sister.
    • Dawson's job leads to his getting divorced and he rarely gets to see his children.
    • Ruzek's parents had an extremely vicious divorce when he was a child.
    • Nadia was a teenage drug addict working as an escort.
  • The Stoic: Voight practically invented the concept of poker face.
  • Street Urchin: Lindsay, growing up with a junkie mother, until she meets Voight at age 14 and is taken in by him and his wife at age 15.
    • Nadia has a similar backstory but didn't have the benefit of being taken in by somebody who could have put her on the right path. Lindsay and Platt eventually step in to guide her.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Nadia, who gets killed in the Chicago Fire-PD-SVU crossover to make the Intelligence squad suffer.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted when Lindsay starts talking to Dr. Daniel Charles from Chicago Med in "Actual Physical Violence." She's reluctant at first, but agrees at the end of the episode.
  • Torture Technician: Voight uses his reputation to terrorize suspects and uses pain on those who don't fear him. Olinsky often provides backup or runs interference while this is happening.
  • Tough Love: At the end of the first season Voight sends his delinquent son to the Army. When Justin returns in Season 2, it's clear that his father's desperate act was good for him, as his entire attitude is different.
  • Trickster Mentor: Platt loves to mess with the patrol officers in her district, her favorite targets being Burgess and whoever Burgess is partnered with.
  • The Verse: The show crossed over with Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, meaning that Chicago PD and Chicago Fire are set within the Tommy Westphall universe with Law & Order franchise, Homicide: Life on the Street, and so on.
  • Turn in Your Badge: At the end of "Nothing But Bad News," Lindsay takes out her badge and hands it to Voight. The death of Nadia and an attempt by crooked cops to kill her have soured Lindsay on police work.
  • Watch the Paint Job: In "Thirty Balloons" in season 1, Atwater and Burgess get a brand-new Chevrolet Impala Interceptor that's fresh from the factory (20 miles on the odometer). When Platt gives them the keys, she tells them to bring the unit back in one piece at the end of their shift, because the 21st District commander is going to use the vehicle as a show car in a Toys for Tots parade. Subsequently, while on patrol, Atwater and Burgess end up picking up a female drug mule who's suffered a psychotic break due to a cocaine balloon in her body rupturing. In the resulting scuffle to subdue her, the passenger's door mirror is knocked off the car. After taking the mule to the hospital, Atwater and Burgess contemplate taking the unit to a CPD garage, but decide against it because, in Atwater's words, the garage takes up to a month to fix a flat tire. So they take it to a street mechanic to have it fixed. The damage is repaired, but later, while parked outside another crime scene, a cinder block at a nearby construction site falls on the hood, leaving a dent.
  • Word of Paul: Fans thought a conversation between Bunny and Voight at the end of "Erin's Mom" was The Reveal that Voight is Lindsay's biological father. Sophia Bush had to take to Twitter to explain, no, Voight is NOT Lindsay's biological father.
  • Would Hit a Girl: When tracking down the crooks who robbed him Voight makes it abundantly clear he is willing to beat a woman with a baseball bat if she doesn't talk. But then her friend walks out of the bathroom and Voight decides to terrorize the woman by breaking the friend's fingers instead.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Despite being fairly ruthless toward criminals (and most people in general), Voight actually has quite a soft spot toward kids, particularly ones in trouble. Erin Lindsey, for instance, is the teenage daughter of a junkie and Voight took her in and raised her as his own, and has throughout the years helped a variety of kids he's encountered through his police work.
  • You Have The Right To Remain Silent: Voight is notable in that he doesn't
    Perp: "You're going to read me my rights, officer?"
    Voight: "You got the wrong guy."