'The Chicago Code' 1.01 'Pilot' Advance Review

A funny thing happened to me when I started watching The Chicago Code. I wasn't seeing it the way a lot of people might. You see, I've had a rocky relationship at best with Shawn Ryan's previous shows; I didn't catch on to The Shield until season six, and I'm still trying to forget the disappointing fourth season of The Unit. I mention that because I want to make it clear his pedigree didn't win me over when it came to this series. Nor did the persistent advertising campaign. What turned my head was the final product: a series that is everything the best police dramas should be.

It seems like every other series on television over the last decade has been a cop show, yet as much as I love the genre, it just isn't what it used to be. It's not that hard to kick in a door, pretend to be tough, or use some neat gadget to process evidence. What many of these shows are missing is real substance.The Chicago Code is a complete, complex police drama - the kind that doesn't come around very often anymore.

That begins with the characters: fully formed individuals that we learn about both through their own eyes, and the eyes of others. By the end of the first hour, through some effective voiceovers and their interactions with each other, we have a real sense of who these people are, not just the inkling to be developed that comes in most pilots. At the core of the show are Teresa Colvin (Jennifer Beals), Chicago's new female Superintendent of Police, and her ex-partner, Detective Jarek Wysocki (Jason Clarke). Both of them have compelling stories to tell, and they also have a complicated relationship between them worth exploring. Refreshingly, there's no fawning over the fact that Teresa is a woman, and no hinting that she might end up in bed with Jarek, either. She's a cop who just happens to be female, not a woman who just happens to be a cop, and she's allowed to have a close relationship with a male colleague that is strictly platonic. Of all the female characters Shawn Ryan's shows have featured, Teresa is on her way to becoming my favorite, thanks to that stereotype-breaking writing and an excellent, poised performance by Jennifer Beals, who likewise doesn't need to posture to prove tha t she's a tough woman; from how she carries herself alone, you know this isn't a woman that you want to mess with. Read More...



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