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Series debut Monday Feb. 7: The Chicago Code

In television on 02/06/2011 at 6:00 pm

Series name
The Chicago Code (formerly called Ride-Along)

Debuts
Monday, Feb. 7, 2011 at 9 p.m. ET on Global and Fox

Regularly airs
Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Global and Fox

Premise
Couple of stalwart Chicago cops decide to clean up their city from top to bottom. One knows and the other comes to agree to get the former, keep your eye on the latter. Motivations? Family colours both of their paths, but dramatically different shades.

Primary cast and crew

Jennifer Beals (Lie to Me, The L Word) is Supt. Teresa Colvin, the first female head of the 10,000-man (mostly) Chicago police department, but that “first” doesn’t mean crap to her. She has a score to settle and it’s laudable and dangerously personal. She’s a tough broad, but “as soft as she needs to be.”

Jason Clarke (Rabbit Proof Fence, Brotherhood) is Det. Jarek Wysocki comes from a cop family, latest member being his niece. He’s Colvin’s former partner, which is how he gets caught up in her ambitious plan to clean up Chicago, although it’s not an easy sell. He’s a good cop who can throw a decent punch and identifies strongly with his Polish Chicago heritage. He has an ex wife and no patience for the partners foisted on him by the department.

Matt Lauria (Friday Night Lights, Lipstick Jungle) is Det. Caleb Evers, who is ambitious enough to volunteer to partner with Wysocki. Ha.

Delroy Lindo (Mercy, Kidnapped, Domino) is Alderman Ronin Gibbons, former real estate developer turned city politician aka lord of the manor called the city of Chicago. While one character calls him the second-most powerful man in Chicago after the mayor, that character is mistaken. Few in Chicago do not owe him a favour. Creepy. Nearly comic-book evil. But not quite.

Shawn Ryan (Terriers, The Unit, The Shield) is creator and exec producer. This is very good.

But what do I know anyway? After having seen the pilot and half of the second episode (stupid Internet) I predict…
If you could make the perfect cop show, what and who would go in it? While you’re pondering that, make time to watch The Chicago Code. Is it perfect? Let’s wait seven or eight years to decide. But from the start, it vaporizes the question that we bring to all new shows – Is this going to be worth fitting into my Monday-night TV-watching routine? It teases, starting with the kind of lofty premise that can fit like a noose  (Jimmy Smits on Outlaw: “I am quitting the Supreme Court to pursue REAL justice because my father …” blah blah cancelled!). Chicago Code’s opening scenes has Beals’ superintendent declaring war  (in voice-over!) on Chicago corruption. In the blink of a scene, she is shut down. Snap goes the cliche. Ryan takes another whack at cop drama conventions, laying claim to the usual character traits of profanity, eccentricity and papa-bear paternalism and yanking each of them inside out in Wysocki. If he doesn’t overdo it, Ryan even has made good use of the voice-over, revealing a wrinkle in the motivations of fresh-faced Det. Evers. I also love the pace of the show. Where other dramas lean too long and too often on the tortured visage of their stars to communication EMOTION (like Blue Bloods’ Tom Selleck’s NYC police commissioner Frank Reagan), The Chicago Code has not time for dramatic pauses. Story is all. Pay attention, not because it’s difficult to follow, but because it moves. And because, if you’re like me, you won’t want to miss a moment. But again, what do I know. Let me know what you thought of the pilot in the comments below or by emailing me.

Other reviews

Six critics, including Entertainment Weekly’s Ken Tucker, give the series an average rating of 77 out of 100.

Reuters’ Tim Goodman says Chicago Code is not a game changer, but bets you wont’ be able to take your eyes off Clarke and Lindo.

The New York Times’ Ginia Bellafante is not a big fan, with no praise for Beals, but plenty for Lindo.

— Denise Duguay

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