First Impressions

Chicago Code

Aired on: FOX

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            When I first saw previews for Chicago Code, I thought, “Another cop show?”  Not that I don’t like cop shows, but it’s my opinion that the market is currently flooded with shows about cops, doctors and lawyers.  However, in watching the previews, I also thought, “Hey, this looks a bit different.”  Chicago Code was a cop show, but it was also about taking down corruption in the city.  I figured I would check it out when it hit the airwaves.  Only one problem, when it did air on FOX on February 7, 2011 at 9:00PM, it was on against another show I really like, The Cape.  I decided to check the show out on the internet and see if I couldn’t watch the pilot episode there.

            Chicago Code stars Jennifer Beals as Police Superintendent Teresa Colvin.  As the first female police superintendent in Chicago, she has a great deal to prove.  As a human being who has lived under the thumb of corruption her entire life, Teresa has a distaste for how things are going in her city.  She has vowed to clean up the corruption in Chicago.  To do so, she must start in her own house and that alienates some of the very cops she may need to take down one of the dirtiest people in Chicago, Alderman Ronin Gibbons (Delroy Lindo), a highly respected public official with some dirty dealings on the side.

            Teresa realizes she is going to need someone she trusts to help her in her effort to clean up the city, so she turns to an old partner, Detective Jarek Winsock (Jason Clarke).  Hard-edged and tough on partners (none last longer than six months…if they can survive two days with him), Wysocki is a cop from a family of cops.  His father tried to take on corruption in his day and failed.  His brother was killed in the line of duty.  His niece Vonda (Devin Kelley) is a cop.  He’s a hard man to get to know, but a legend in his field and a friend.  Teresa trusts him to help her get the job done, despite his rogue style. 

            If putting himself in direct odds with some of the most influential, yet corrupt, people out there isn’t enough hardship for Wysocki, it would appear that his latest partner, Caleb Evers (Matt Lauria) has quite a bit of staying power.  With a sharp eye and good head for police work, Wysocki recognizes that keeping Evers around may be in his best interest.  The same goes for his ex-wife, despite the fact that he is engaged to someone else.

            As I sat down to watch the pilot episode of Chicago Code, I found myself mesmerized.  The show is well-written and the actors present themselves well.  I never found myself questioning whether any of them were who they were pretending to be.  Everyone had their role down well.  Whether or not they could handle the Chicago accent well was another story.  I liked the way they introduced the characters, allowing the characters themselves to explain why it is that they do what they do.  In their own words, the individual characters offer insight into who they are as people.  I was so captivated by the show and the storyline and the individual character subplots that I had to watch the second episode as well.

            I’ve always liked Jennifer Beals and I believe this role to be one in which she can show her diversity as an actress - soft when she needs to be and hard when it comes to taking on the bad guys.  I especially enjoyed watching her take down a bad guy when he tried to walk away from a shakedown - badass!  Jason Clarke is a good fit in his not-so-perfect detective role.  He and Beals make an excellent match, playing off each other very nicely.  Delroy Lindo is perfect as a well-respected corrupt politician.  There is just something in the way he carries himself, in his vocal presentation and his facial expressions that makes him perfect when shifting from kind and helpful Alderman to dark and dirty corruption king. 

            Chicago Code is a gritty police drama with a fast-paced style.  You’ll never be bored action-wise and yet there is still enough of a storyline that you can really sink your teeth into.  The characters are written well and the viewer will find his/herself becoming quickly wrapped up in their individual stories, wanting to know more.  Thankfully, the writers oblige, revealing a little bit more for you in each episode.  The music for the show is very well-selected and I can see a well-received soundtrack for the Chicago Code hitting the stores in the future.

            As for the fact that Chicago Code is on against a show I am already vested in…well, I have no plans on giving up The Cape for Chicago Code and, these days, I won’t have to.  I can watch both thanks to my trusty VCR!  And I will watch both, because I believe that Chicago Code is just what the doctor ordered for gritty cop shows that take on more than the street crime in the Windy City.  This show has done more than peak my interest and I intend to keep watching as the show takes on new directions in weeks to come.


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