17.10.19

DICK WOLF'S CONTINUED ACTS OF CONTRITION.

I've suggested previously that the Dick Wolf Chicago-based procedurals are NBC's way of acknowledging that the Tragic Vision has some purchase.  Last night, they offered a crossover episode, meaning the shows might appear out of order, with some sort of linking event for each part of the cast.

It started with the first responders mostly enjoying a common day off, which happened to include the Bears hosting the Packers for a daylight opening game, and lots of opportunities to wear Bears gear and burn some bratwurst.  We were spared the sight of yellow mustard being slathered on those sausages, or Aaron Rodgers delivering yet another dagger on that crappy Soldier Field turf, as a very sick man collapses not far from where the Fire crew are tossing a football around.  "I’m not sure when the last time viewers saw all of our favorite One Chicago characters just kicking back and having fun, but the beginning few minutes were the type I want to see more often."

That wasn't going to happen, as the man was ill with a virulent bacteria infection, and the fire house had to make plans to participate in Chicago's Oktoberfest parade which was going to coincide with the Cowboys coming into town to play the Bears.  (Yes, the real Oktoberfest takes place to the north, but taking liberties with Midwestern things is common in the series.)  Then a fire breaks out at a research laboratory on the mythical Central Chicago University, which has enough elements of UIC, The University, and Chicago State to provide for any plot complication.

There is a connection between the fire and the sick man, but that has to wait until a large number of cases of virulent bacteria turn up at Chicago Med.  That gives the hospital administrator a chance to say what nobody dare say to Chuck "Truculent Chipmunk" Todd.  "[S]he had to deal with so-called journalists that wanted to spread fear, a mayor who cared about how the situation would affect his approval rating above all else, and [Detective Sergeant] Voight's insistence on questioning terrified people while they were being held in quarantine."  Meanwhile, the firehouse crew have to protect a local taqueria that was being mobbed account their food truck was on the stadium grounds not far from where the first patient collapsed.  Fake news can still be used to virtue-signal, at least there didn't appear to be any mob members in red hats.

Now it's up to the Intelligence crew to figure out what's going on and why a number of patients come from the same building.  It transpires that somebody had masqueraded as an exterminator.  That somebody was a university biomedical researcher who was even helping out at Med.  "The company first mentioned in Chicago Fire by the initial carrier of the virus, BRT, refused to give [researcher] Seldon funding for his research because it wasn't profitable."  Notice ... the sponsored research scam getting an indirect mention.  Rather than randomly infecting people at the Oktoberfest parade (the one thing the show got right is that Chicago doesn't give an Oktoberfest parade and nobody comes) the disgruntled researcher decides to kill off the board of the company if they don't restore his funding.

Real academic science is probably not that blatantly corrupt, and yet, calling attention to sponsored research corruption to accompany run-of-Chicago political corruption (where the stories are a bit more lurid on television than they are in real life) and the seamy side of life away from Wrigleyville and the museum campus is probably a good thing.  I wonder how many of the additional watchers caught any of that.

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