Where the hell is Chicago’s mayor?
On this week’s episode of Pearson, Keri (Bethany Joy Lenz) and Derrick (Eli Goree) deal with the absence of the mayor while Jessica (Gina Torres) searches for answers regarding the dead body seen at the end of episode one, ‘The Alderman.’
With Mayor Novak (Morgan Spector) on leave this week due to his wife’s illness, Keri and Derrick are expected to cover for him. They face Deputy Mayor Lloyd, who pushes his own agenda during Novak’s absence. He tries to get a street named after Fred Hampton, a leader of the Black Panthers. While Derrick is supportive of the cause, Keri knows that allowing such a thing would cause an uproar in the police department. Derrick allows Keri to push him over, getting Lloyd to do busybody tasks in order to delay him. This inaction irritates Yoli (Isabel Arraiza), Jessica’s personal assistant. She gets Derrick to face Keri and voice his opinions. Although she understands where Derrick comes from, Keri knows she cannot let it pass at all costs because it would harm the mayor’s reputation with Chicago PD. Derrick then steps up and forces Keri to talk to Lloyd and tell him the truth—that he is just wasting his time trying to get the street named. In the end, Keri confronts him about it, telling him it cannot happen. Luckily, he backs down, but he warns her that she should be careful not to become loyal to a fault. Although she doesn’t say anything, it’s clear that Keri is offended by the statement—her duty is to protect the mayor and she knows she’ll do whatever it takes.
Across town, Jessica investigates the demise of Karl Jeffries, the dead body which appeared in episode one and was mentioned by her aunt. Knowing that the photographs implicate her driver, Nick D’amato (Simon Kassianides) as the murderer, she tries to find out the truth about the whole situation. Of course, Nick tells her the truth, because she is working with the Mayor and acts as his fixer—she needs to know everything. Nick admits to merely paying Jeffries off to drop a lawsuit against the city. Despite the fact that Nick is telling the truth, Jessica doesn’t believe him and sets off to investigate.
She has to access the shadier parts of town, and as a “bougie” woman, as Yoli has described her, she doesn’t exactly get around well. Angela (Chantel Riley) guides Jessica, after Jessica offers to buy her relatives a house. Angela jokes that she needs Jessica alive in order to get the house, but she ultimately rejects the offer. We instead get to see one of the first heartwarming exchanges between the cousins, instead of bitterness.
Jessica learns that Nick did, in fact, tell the truth, and he was not involved in the murder of Karl. She apologizes for her assumptions, but Nick clearly looks uneasy at the accusations.
At the close of the episode, Jessica goes to church with her relatives and the scene creates a parallel with Nick’s adventures after work. The two both go to church; however, Jessica’s church is lively, with singing and dancing while Nick goes to an empty, deserted place of worship. He goes into confessional and begins to break down, saying that he was responsible for the death of a man named Tommy Deal. Despite the episode being about Karl Jeffries, Nick is confessing to a different crime. Who is Tommy Deal? How does he relate to Jessica’s story? What exactly did Nick do?
Ultimately, this episode felt more like filler than it did actual story-moving work. Although it was to be expected, with one of the main characters—the mayor—missing, it felt strange. After having such an intense three episodes, the ability to sit back and relax was very out of place. The story did not move along that much, but it was interesting to see the dynamic between Nick and Jessica this episode. Their characters clashed and the two actors—Kassianides and Torres—have great chemistry. The tension they create in their scenes is great, suspense-filled work. I’m very excited to see them interact more in future episodes.