'The Chicago Code' Review: Good Cops vs. Bad Politicians
Monday, February 7, 2011
In 2002 creator Shawn Ryan redefined the cop drama with The Shield. His new show, The Chicago Code
(premiering tonight at 9pm on FOX) is a lot like that, only without the
moral ambiguity. If Vic Mackey was a different kind of cop, The Chicago Code's Jarek Wysocki is the good cop.
The show centers on a small group of cops trying to take down city corruption personified by Alderman Ronin Gibbons (Delroy Lindo). He's the bad guy, plain and simple.
The good guys are led by the young, noble superintendent of police, Teresa Colvin (Jennifer Beales). She enlists the help of her former partner Jarek (Jason Clarke) to form Chicago's answer to The Shield's Strike Team, a small group of cops whose sole purpose is to stop Gibbons.
Mini voiceover biographies help paint who these characters are, and The Chicago Code's only real problem is how black and white everything is. Teresa grew up in a family that was destroyed by city corruption. Jarek hates profanity and, despite a little infidelity, it's obvious that his intentions are good.
This is a show about heroes and villains, good guys against bad guys. The cops are noble and righteous while the politician is corrupt and twisted.
However, the performances are still what matter, and they are quite good across the board. Clarke is a charming leading man, and anyone who saw him in Showtime's Brotherhood knows that he deserves this big break. His character is joined on the road by a new partner, Caleb Evers (Friday Night Lights star Matt Lauria), who is a lot smarter than he looks and sounds.
As a huge fan of The Shield, it's hard to ignore the obvious plot similarities between Ryan's two shows. Both feature a subplot of two young rookies, only this time one of them is the main character's niece. There's also a fairly surprising twist at the end of the pilot that should remind fans of The Shield of the end of that show's pilot.
What The Chicago Code lacks in complexity, it makes up for in spirit. The characters are all entertaining and fun to watch while the overall story is simple enough to follow without much thought. At its core, The Chicago Code feels like a watered down version of The Shield, but sometimes a little water helps the drink go down more smoothly.
(Image courtesy of FOX)