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"As you know, we've been in negotiations on a new contract with the police department for the past six months. Tonight, I'm happy to announce that we've reached terms that both compensate the good men and women who serve our city and are consistent with keeping our city's budget in check. Now before I bring up Superintendent Hargrove to discuss the details of the contract, I'd like to introduce Jessica Pearson. Ms. Pearson played a critical role in putting this deal together, and she'll be an important part of my administration going forward."
Bobby Novak

The Superintendent is the second episode of the first season of Pearson and the second overall. It first aired on July 24, 2019.

Synopsis

The police contract is put in jeopardy due to Jessica's reputation in the press.

Plot

Jessica Pearson is looking through the crime scene photographs depicting the murder of Carl Jeffries when she receives a knock on her door, opening it to none other than her aunt, Lillian Cook. Lillian walks in and begins making breakfast, despite Jessica's statement that she is running late for work. Lillian tells Jessica to call her boss and tell them she'll be running late, and as Jessica calls to say she'll be fifteen minutes late, Lillian spots the photographs on the counter, wondering what Jessica is doing with photos of Carl, her old neighbor. After breakfast, Jessica heads to City Hall, where she officially introduces herself to Nick D'Amato, as they both work for Bobby Novak. Nick introduces himself back at her, warning her that Novak does not like people to be late.

Yoli & Jessica (Pearson S1E2)

Yoli Castillo meets Jessica Pearson

As Jessica attempts to go through security, she finds the line being held up by Yoli Castillo, a Spanish speaking woman who works for Jeffrey Epstein. Yoli claims that she knows everyone who works in the building, and is flabbergasted when Jessica reveals she works for Novak and can understand and speak Spanish as well.

Jessica heads to Novak's office, where he gives her the day off as he is in a good mood. On his way out the door, Jessica warns him that the building is full of press who wish to exact a statement from him. Novak and press secretary Derrick Mayes prepare to do so, although Novak becomes angered when one of the journalists inquires as to why he hired Jessica and demanding to know whether what Jessica does for him is legal, prompting Novak to storm out. In his vehicle, Novak lashes out at Derrick, as Derrick used to be a journalist himself. Derrick replies that he was bound to be asked this question at some point, only for Novak to point out that Jessica hasn't even worked 48 hours yet and that she isn't on payroll, and therefore the media should not know she works for him. Novak then orders Derrick to do his job and to find every question he would ever get asked about the matter as well as a respective answer.

Pearson S01E02Promo14 - Derrick Jessica

Jessica speaks with Derrick

Jessica is in her new office, trying to shuffle things around while dealing with her broken desk. She elects to get her own desk, informing the Facilities Coordinator that if she can get her friends to clear out the office soon, she would be rewarded with her own personal Nespresso machine. Elsewhere, Keri Allen attempts to secure a police contract, although union attorney Eric McBride, who represents the cops, refuses to sign the agreement since Jessica had gone up against the department before on a police brutality case, where she called the cops animals, and therefore the department no longer wishes to sign the Mayor's contract as he has employed Jessica. Jessica heads to Derrick's workspace to have him deliver something to Human Resources on her behalf, as she is unaware where it is. Sensing something amiss in Derrick's demeanor, she presses him for information and he reveals the morning's events with the journalists.

Pearson S01E02Promo08 - Jessica Bobby

Jessica discusses the news with Novak

Jessica proceeds to the entrance, where she sees Novak, telling him that she isn't sure if she hates the words "disbarred" or "fixer" more, while Novak refers to her as a liability, informing her that the police deal came apartment due to Jessica's targeting of the 13th Precinct. Jessica justifies her actions by stating that they brutalized a man in handcuffs, though Novak says it was just two bad cops whereas Jessica made the entire department look bad and therefore the police despise her, and that without the contract being signed, Chicago would no longer have an active police force. Jessica replies that he should have had an answer this morning to the question of why she was hired but they could now show the press why and suggests taking down McBride, the underpaid union lawyer who went after Novak in the first place; Novak merely replies that it is Keri's case and therefore Jessica must take it up with her.

Angela Cook goes home and notifies her family that she has passed a nursing test with colors. She tries to celebrate with pancakes for her sons, only to see that the eggs are missing even though they were there that morning. Lillian explains that she brought them to Jessica's house to make her breakfast, much to Angela's displeasure, who then makes chicken nuggets for her sons instead. Back at City Hall, Jessica goes to Keri's office in order to provide assistance on the police case, although Keri refuses, dismissing her and adding that she does not trust her.

Twitter

Yoli sees the tirade on Twitter

Elsewhere in the building, Yoli is notified by a co-worker regarding Novak's public tirade against the media this morning and views the meltdown on Twitter, realizing that it is regarding the woman she encountered earlier that morning.

As Jessica leaves City Hall, she calls her driver to ask where they are, only to be told that they're running late. She is then ambushed by several reporters who ask why she hired Mike Ross before Nick comes to her rescue, escorting her to his vehicle while informing the press that she is late for a meeting. He then drives her to a secluded area nearby, where she thanks him. He offers to let her back into City Hall through the secret mayor's entrance, although she asks if he could drive her to Avalon and 81st Street. Nick is initially hesitant as it is a bad neighborhood, but eventually agrees to do so.

Bobby Novak's Office (Pearson S1E2)

Keri heads to Novak's office

Inside City Hall, Keri heads to Novak's office, notifying him that the fire department will double their demands once they discover what the police department turned down. Novak wonders if this is McBride merely posturing as he is a lawyer and not a police officer, although Keri explains that he is practically one of them as he has been their union lawyer for 14 years; additionally, Keri adds that as someone with a police family, she understands the resentment towards Jessica. This prompts Novak to ask whether it was Keri who leaked Jessica's employment to the press, although Keri denies the accusation and voices her discontent that Novak would entertain the notion that she would ever harm him.

Nick drives Jessica to Avalon, although he refuses to leave her alone. Jessica claims that she is surprised he can wait for her, believing that his job was to be available to the mayor 24/7, although he replies that he has some autonomy. She then asks him if he could drive her places, calling her current assigned driver an idiot, but he politely declines and says he would find someone else for her. Elsewhere in the city, Novak goes to a pub to talk to police superintendent Chuck Hargrove. Chuck refuses to have the police sign the contract since Novak hired Jessica, who tarnished the entire department, and asks Novak why he would hire her. Novak replies that he has his reasons and that Chuck should trust him, reminding him that he had taken money out of Public Health to give the police a fair deal, to which Chuck replies that while he knows that, the rest of the police force does not. Chuck also reveals that since the other officers they believe he is too friendly with the Mayor, he had to cut ties with him to avoid losing them, and adds that so long as Jessica was part of Novak's administration, the city would not have an active police force.

Jessica enters the Cook apartment, where she meets her cousins Cory and Mark for the first time. She had brought groceries for Lillian, which Lillian thanks her for, stating that she cannot leave the house as a "blue flu" is impending, meaning that the police would be gone. Jessica states that the police are not allowed to go on strike, although Lillian explains that the officers would merely all call in sick and that while she isn't a fan of the police in her neighborhood, having no police around would make the neighborhoods dangerous. Jessica then leaves the apartment and heads outside, where Nick is waiting for her. She realizes that Nick knew and thus was the reason why he refused to leave Jessica alone in such a bad neighborhood; Jessica asks if Novak knew that the police force would go off duty, and Nick informs her that he does. Nick also adds that the Avalon neighborhood is not a priority for the city during the "blue flu", which angers Jessica as her family lives there.

Back in his office, Novak has a phone call with his wife, Stephanie, notifying her that he would not be able to come home as he is busy. She reminds him that he had promised their son that he would have gotten home before he went to bed, although Novak merely tells his wife that he would make it up to him some other time. As he ends the call, Derrick walks in with four statements Novak could give depending on how the situation played out, and discloses to Novak that a woman in the building has been retweeting the viral footage of Novak's run-in with the journalists with unflattering hashtags; Novak tells Derrick to do his job and handle the situation. As Derrick leaves, Novak turns on the television to a news broadcast, which Jessica is also watching in her apartment.
Breaking News

A news broadcast on the blue flu

The news explains that the last time the city had a blue flu was in 1993 and that crime had increased by 32%. A woman being interviewed on the news divulges that she and her daughter were mugged on the way home, with the mugger pointing a gun at her daughter's face, and that there were no police nearby. The news ticker displays that neighborhoods in South Chicago would be severely affected by the blue flu as Jessica looks on in discomfort.
The next morning, Derrick meets Yoli at a bagel truck, informing her that her retweets and hashtags violated the office's social media policy. Yoli attempts to justify her actions by claiming that it was tweeted by her private account as a private citizen, although Derrick replies that she is not a private citizen and that she cannot criticize the administration she is a part of. When she refuses to take the tweets down, Derrick notifies Yoli that she is fired.
Chuck Hargrove's Office

Superintendent Chuck Hargrove meets Jessica

Jessica goes to see Superintendent Chuck Hargrove, who tells her that she has some nerve to visit the precinct after exacting a $4 million settlement from them, calling the lawsuit frivolous, although Jessica merely replies that the man who was beaten and left for dead would not have found it so. Jessica attempts to smooth things out with Chuck, only for Chuck to reveal that the biggest issue with not renewing their contract with the city is the police pension fund Novak did not fill. Noting that they are at impasse, Jessica leaves.

Nick goes to Novak's office to bring him lunch, and mentions having driven Jessica around the other day, as well as Jessica's request be her driver. Novak refuses, reminding Nick that his job is to drive him only, only for Nick to ask whether staying outside Jessica's apartment all night was part of the job, adding that the last time he was stayed outside all night waiting for someone was for Novak's father.

Bougie Bitch

Jessica speaks with Yoli

Returning to City Hall, Jessica encounters Yoli again, who blames Jessica for the termination of her employment. Jessica convinces Yoli that she played no part in it, while Yoli reveals that she knows everyone in the building, having valued her job, and that she knows her rights and cannot be silenced. Before Yoli leaves, Jessica informs her that there is a difference between knowing her rights and knowing when to use them.

Jessica then goes to see Keri, notifying her that what Chuck and the police really want is their pension fund. Jessica explains that there is a loophole that allows developers to avoid paying millions in property taxes, and that if they closed that loophole, they could use that money to fill the pension fund. Keri is hesitant to accept Jessica's help, although Jessica expresses her guilt, as the blue flu which puts her family at harm stemmed from her presence, and asks Keri to trust her.

Jessica Pearson (Pearson S1E2)

Jessica gives a press conference

Keri goes to Chuck with Jessica's plan and it succeeds, with the police contract officially being signed. Novak goes to talk to her and realizes it was Jessica's doing, while Keri suggests that he could use the situation to justify Jessica's employment. Novak then holds a press conference where he announces that the police force is active once again, publicly giving Jessica the credit. Jessica then takes the stand and addresses the audience, informing them that her father was from Chicago and that she wishes to give back to the city, and allows the reporters there to ask her questions.

Back at City Hall, Novak goes to see Jessica in her office, where he reveals that he became aware that she leaked her own name and employment to the press. Jessica explains that she had done so because she knew it would eventually get out and that she wanted to be in front of it, while Novak states that she merely wanted the firestorm so that she could receive the credit for quelling it. He adds that she put his career in a dangerous position before returning to his office, where he sees Keri and Derrick. Keri suggests they go out for drinks, but Novak tells Derrick to have Nick bring the vehicle around while notifying Keri that he wants to go home so he could put his kids to bed.

Jessica Photographed

Jessica is secretly photographed

Jessica has her driver take her to Yoli's house, offering Yoli a job as her assistant, which she accepts. As Jessica is driven home, she encounters Angela outside her building. Angela gives her the money for the groceries she had purchased, claiming that she does not need Jessica's charity and that she could afford to feed her own kids. As Angela gives her a wad of cash and walks away, a hidden photographer takes several photos of her holding the money.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Morgan Spector as Bobby Novak
  • Juanita Jennings as Lillian Cook
  • Julian Acosta as Eric McBride
  • Jim O'Heir as Chuck Hargrove
  • Betsy Brandt as Stephanie Novak
  • Javier Lezama as Oscar
  • Jonny Berryman as Cory Cook
  • Ethan Ireland as Mark Cook
  • Cherish Monique Duke as Kenwood Mother
  • Winifred Freeman as Facilities Coordinator
  • Ian McQuown as Co-Worker
  • Michael Dearie as Driver
  • Carly Nyanken as Reporter 1
  • Michael Andrew Baker as Reporter 2
  • Matthew Klingler as Reporter 3
  • Pam Mack as Reporter 4
  • Crystal Porter-Bazemore as News Reporter

Major/Highlighted Events

  • The Chicago Police Department refuses to sign their contract with the city due to Mayor Bobby Novak's employment of Jessica Pearson, who had tarnished the department's reputation when she went after them during a police brutality case. As a result, the department refuses to serve and protect the city, placing low-income neighborhoods that are not a priority, such as the apartment where Lillian and Angela Cook live, in danger.
    • Jessica discovers that the real reason the police department is holding out on the contract is because they want their pension fund filled, which Jessica does so by closing a loophole that allows property developers to avoid paying millions in taxes, affecting Pat McGann.
  • After Yoli Castillo is fired as Social Media Coordinator for making negative tweets about Novak, Jessica hires her as her personal assistant.

Cultural References

Trivia

  • Goddamn Counter: 2
  • One of the Twitter accounts shown on the monitor is listed as belonging to a Nathan Perkins. Nathan Perkins is the name of one of the producers of both Pearson and Suits.

Quotes

Jessica: You know, we can keep slinging mud at each other, or we can talk like two grown women.
Keri: Oh, the feminist card. You must be desperate.
Derrick: You violated our social media policy for personnel with that last tweet you posted.
Yoli: What now?
Derrick: "Why is @MayorNovak staffing up with NYC? #SloppySeconds" "#CleanUpCityHall starts by taking out the trash."
Yoli: That's from my personal account. It doesn't say anything about where I work.
Derrick: Your handle is YOLOCastillo. You told the mayor to "take out the trash." You're the social media coordinator for Streets and Sanitation.
Yoli: Okay, True Detective. For the average viewer, that's just another private citizen speaking truth to power.
Derrick: But you're not just another private citizen. You can't publicly criticize the administration when you're a part of it.
Keri: It was all a negotiating ploy. They were looking for a reason to walk away.
Novak: And I gave it to them. Now look at that, she was right after all.
Jessica: Yeah, she figured out a way to pay for it, too.
Novak: Do I wanna know?
Keri: No, but you'll hear it from McGann at some point.
Novak: Fuck Pat McGann.

Gallery

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