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REVIEW: The Chicago Code “Pilot” S1 E1

08 Feb

Oh look another cop show!  How fun.  Actually, it was.  The Chicago Code (CC) is a fast paced show that introduced us to the main players and set up the main story arc for the year…corruption in the name of Alderman Ronin Gibbons.  This is Shawn Ryan’s first network show since doing The Shield.  I never watched The Shield but have heard amazing reviews about the show and Ryan’s use of story and characters.  So I had high hopes.  And it didn’t disappoint.  Right away, I liked how they set up the main players and what this show (at least at this point) will be about.   Good cops taking down bad, corrupt politicians and the people who support them.  The lines that have been drawn are clear.  You know who is good and who is bad and I like that the show is not sugar coating anything or leaving anything up to interpretation.  It’s clear the show knows what direction it wants to go in and I think for new shows, that’s really important.  If the people behind the show don’t know what’s going on, how am I supposed to?  A show doesn’t always need mystery to work.  A clear vision with a solid cast is usually a blueprint for success.  It seems, at least initially, that CC is using that blueprint quite effectively.

The Chicago Code stars Jennifer Beals as Superintendent Teresa Colvin from the CPD, who is the first woman to hold the position.  My husband hates when shows use voice overs because he thinks they can be distracting.  I don’t mind them if they are used the right way and I think they were used very effectively here.  There was a lot going on in the pilot and the show runners wanted to give you the background on the main players as simply and quickly as they could to be able to set up the main storyline.  I also liked that it emphasized who we should be paying attention to as the main players.  We got to hear how Teresa became a cop and worked her way up the ranks faster than anyone else.  So not only is she the first woman to hold the post, but the youngest.  She’s smart, she’s tough, and she’s experienced.  But being in her position, as who she is, she has a tough road and not everyone is supportive of her.  This is amplified when she has to demote a veteran detective and he threatens her.  It was a short scene but it set up that not everyone is ready to jump in line with Teresa Colvin.  Her ex partner is Detective Jarek Wysocki (played by Jason Clarke.)  When I was first getting to know him, I thought to myself “oh great.  Here’s another detective who always takes chances but is always right and blah blah blah.”  Jarek isn’t like that at all.  He’s a great detective and he is very by the book.  I think he’s a good guy who really loves the city of Chicago and wants it to be a safe as it can be.  He’s tired of the lying.  He’s tired of corruption.  He’s tired of not being able to trust his own people.  It’s probably why he gone through a bunch of partners since Teresa got promoted.  But then he gets assigned a newbie who may work out.  The newbie is Detective Caleb Evers (played by Matt Lauria.)  I instantly like him.  He’s not as experienced as Jarek but he’s smart and seems to have good instincts.  Eventually, Jarek notices this too and tells him they can be partners, even though Jarek’s a Sox fan and Caleb’s a Cubs fan!  The other set of partners we are introduced to are Officers Isaac Joiner (played by Todd Williams) and Vonda Wysocki (played by Devin Kelley.)  If you ask me if Vonda and Jarek are related I may have to throw beer at you.  With a name like Wysocki???  Of course they are!!!  She is his niece.  His brother, who was also a cop, died and Jarek raised Vonda himself.  Needless to say, he is very protective of her and is always giving Isaac the old stink eye.  She denies a relationship with Isaac but that admission comes into question later when they are at the hospital (more on that later) and she is crying in her car.  Isaac thinks she’s crying for her own safety since she was in a tricky situation earlier in the day that could have been very dangerous and Isaac was able to intervene.  She tells him she could care less about her life but she is incredibly afraid for his.  Finally, we meet the Big Bad, Alderman Ronin Gibbons (played by Delroy Lindo.)  Ronin is a corrupt politician with huge power in the city.  People in the past have tried, but failed, at taking Ronin down.  But Teresa and Jarek think they would like a crack at him now and think they have the people in place to do it.  Especially since Ronin was the one who put Teresa in the position of Superintendent, he thinks he has an ally in her…a lackey.  But he is terribly mistaken.

This is one of the best pilots I have seen this year.  I have seen too many shows with a great premise but fail to deliver on interest and succinctness.  The Chicago Code was pithy and impactful.  It even had an element of surprise!  STOP READING IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED!!!   SPOILER ALERT!!! Near the end of the episode when Teresa is getting out of her car with her aide (I think his name was Anthony), shots rang out and she and Anthony are both shot.  She was hit by the first bullet and Anthony stepped in front of her to take the hit from the other bullets.   Just as I mentioned there are cops who have issues with Teresa, we learn that the cops who are behind her (Jarek and Anthony for starters) are clearly in her corner and would do anything for her…including taking a bullet.  Teresa ends up being ok but her aide is killed.  The weird thing is, when he was meeting with that gang on Teresa’s behalf, I said to my husband “I think this guy is going to die.”  Don’t ask me why, I just had a feeling.  Jarek meets her at the hospital and asks why she was wearing her vest?  She wasn’t wearing her vest, she tells him.  It was Anthony’s and he wouldn’t let me get out of the car without it. SPOILER END!!! I know a show is really good at character development when I have only know these people for about 30 minutes and I am already touched by them.  Or it could mean I am a complete and utter sap, I don’t know.  It’s probably the latter but I am going with the former and giving Ryan and the writers props!  That simple scene with the veteran cop also set up a side mystery…who wants Teresa out?  Is it them?  Is it Gibbons and his people?  Or someone else entirely?   Guess we’ll have to tune in to find out!  I know one thing is for certain, they have found a loyal viewer in me (and my husband!)

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