“Doing your job is why they’re taking a vote in the first place. You have made a lot of enemies, Teresa, shaking things up.”
– Jarek

“St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” is a referendum of sorts on the Superintendent of Police, Teresa Colvin. The episode’s literal referendum on her leadership from the police union is perhaps a bit on the nose, but it dovetails nicely with what we’ve been told throughout the series so far: a lot of cops are dissatisfied with Teresa’s leadership.

Teresa’s difficulties in running the Chicago Police Department have been a focus of the series since the very beginning. In the second episode, when we found out that Antonio’s killer went after Teresa in an effort to impress a disgruntled cop, we saw just how much some of the rank and file hate Teresa.

But now, concerns about Teresa’s leadership have gone public, and even the mayor is questioning if Teresa’s the right person for the job. Not helping matters is a gruesome five-victim killing in a Lincoln Park restaurant, making it look as if crime is on the rise. Teresa’s tenure as Superintendent of Police rests on this one case.

“Justice first and then my job.”
– Teresa

Throughout the case, we see Teresa’s commitment to her integrity. First and foremost, Teresa is a woman of principle, as we learned back in “O’Leary’s Cow,” when she refused to participate in her brother-in-law’s boneheaded get-rich-quick scheme. So it’s not surprising that she won’t hold a press conference to save her job after the killers have been caught, because she wants the mastermind behind it all first. That mastermind turns out to be a woman – the sister of the original suspect, in fact.

Teresa and this woman, Bernadette, are contrasted with each other. Both are intelligent women, but Bernadette opted for a life of crime, while Teresa chose to devote herself to public service. This provides somewhat of digression into gender politics, and Teresa’s gender is mentioned several times throughout the episode as a possible contributor to her unpopularity. That turns out to be a bit of a red herring. We know that Teresa’s unpopularity has little to do with her being a woman and more to do with her crackdown on long-serving cops who aren’t doing their jobs properly.

At the end of the episode, we learn two interesting pieces of information: 1) Teresa wins the referendum by small margin (54% in favour and 46% opposed). 2) Jarek actually dropped Teresa as his partner, back when they still worked together. When Teresa asks him why, Jarek provides a facetious answer. But the viewer can easily draw his or her own conclusions: Jarek suspected that he was holding Teresa back and knew that she was destined for great things beyond working alongside him. With Teresa now the youngest Superintendent of Police in Chicago’s history, it seems as if Jarek was right. Moreover, Teresa genuinely earned it, maintaining her integrity throughout her job.

Speaking of integrity, in this episode’s side plot, Vonda’s and Isaac’s integrities are under question. They have to provide testimony at a deposition; Isaac is being accused of police brutality. Of course, the accusation is bogus, but with only the testimony of those present to go on, a settlement is quite likely. The accuser’s attorney catches on to the fact that Isaac and Vonda are sleeping together, which allows her to make it seem as if Vonda’s testimony is unreliable. In the end, the Chicago PD is forced to make a settlement with the accuser. Vonda and Isaac get a taste of the kind of stuff that Teresa has to deal with on a daily basis; sometimes sticking to your guns and showing integrity plays out in your favour, like it did for Teresa in this episode. But often times, it yields unfavourable results, as Vonda and Issac find out and Teresa knows all too well.

Doing the right thing isn’t always rewarding. But at least our heroes can go to bed at night without the weight of dishonesty or deceit on their shoulders.

For more information on The Chicago Code rewatch project, please click here.

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