For the 2nd show in our Give it a Chance series is on that is already endangered – Fox’s The Chicago Code. It’s no surprise that this show is good, after all it comes from Shawn Ryan, the same guy who gave us Terriers and The Shield. But much like Terriers, the ratings just aren’t there. Granted, it gets roughly 8 times the amount of viewers that Donal Louge and gang got, but on network TV that still may not be enough.
At first glance this may appear to be ‘just another cop show’, but it’s more than that. It’s actually what ABC’s Detroit 1-8-7 should’ve been. Where 1-8-7 looked at my beloved city and ignored the corruption, The Chicago Code has embraced it. Detroit is rotten almost entirely though with corruption reaching the highest levels of local government (Kwame Kilpatrick, Monica Conyers, Stephen A. Hill), 1-8-7 choose to ignore much of this and instead act a publicity piece for the city. The creators constantly sucking up to a city council that didn’t want them there and the characters continually defending the city as if they’d never been there. Refreshingly The Chicago Code instead recognizes the flaws of its setting, and it’s characters attempt to fix said flaws. Perhaps a fantasy of Ryan’s, as he grew up in the ‘Windy City’. I know if I were gonna make a cop show in Detroit I would want my version of the city to be fought for by my protagonist. And that’s whats happening on The Chicago Code.
The fight to save Chicago is done so with some inspired casting. First the guardian of the city and new head of the C.P.D. is Teresa Colvin (Jennifer Beals) and she is on mission to cleanse the city’s government of corruption. Her muscle – her Ex-Partner Detective Jarek Wysocki (Jason Clarke). Wysocki is joined by Friday Night Lights star Matt Lauria who plays his young partner Caleb Evers. The trio seem to have excellent chemistry.
Jarek and Caleb are given Carte blanche as far which cases they get to take. This is not popular among the other police which only makes their jobs harder. Also on the job is one of the stars of the short-lived NBC show The Black Donnellys – Billy Lush. Lush plays Undercover Detective Liam Hennessey and is known as a cop to only a very select few.
Liam is undercover with the intent of bring down the most powerful man in Chicago – Alderman Ronin Gibbons (Delroy Lindo). Gibbons not only controls the Police budget, but is also as corrupt as they come. This is the basis of the show. Colvin bringing down Gibbons, the man who appointed her.
Ok, so reading that it does sort of sound like ‘another cop show’, but the stories are woven together in a way that forces you to see the situation from multiple angles. The dialogue is well written, and while not as good as The Shield or Terriers, it’s about as good as you can hope for on network TV…
I’d rank this among the best cop shows on TV right now, right up there with Southland. I gave the show a chance because of Shawn Ryan, but I return to it each week because it is awesomely entertaining. I urge you to give it a chance as well…