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The Chicago Code – episode 1 review

Jennifer Beals stars in The Chicago Code

Review by Tim Carson

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out 5

The Shield was one of the best cop shows ever – easily on a par with The Wire I don’t care what anyone else says – with brilliant characters and wicked twisting plots. It was created by Shawn Ryan who is the creative force behind The Chicago Code which means it was essential to watch at least the first episode.

And how did The Chicago Code stack up against its predecessors and the current crop of cops shows like Blue Bloods? Well, solidly enough.

Set in the Windy City of Chicago the pilot episode sees Teresa Colvin, the city’s first female superintendent, begin a crusade to tackle the corruption that infests the city. The first target in her sights is Alderman Ronin Gibbons, the politician who turned down her request for a corruption taskforce.

Determined to root out corruption Colvin ruffles feathers in the Police Department sidling troublesome officers and begins her own unofficial taskforce. She recruits her
ex-partner Jarek Wysocki and sets him and his new partner Caleb Evers to work on a suspicious murder in Grant Park that appears to be connected to Gibbons.

It’s an opening episode that combines the gritty police procedural and the political machinations that were evident in The Shield and, of course, which brings the show into comparison with The Wire.

While it might not be as richly layered as either of those two shows and seemingly with none of the blurry lines behind good and bad it’s got enough grit to make you want to come back for more.

Jennifer Beals seems an unusual choice for the tough superintendent; she looks much, much younger than her 48 years and seems at times almost too small for her uniform. She doesn’t look the part. But maybe that’s part of the beauty of the casting as it certainly reflects the way many of her enemies view her as not looking the part and therefore not being up to it. It’s clear that Beals and her character Colvin will prove us and the bad guys wrong.

Jason Clarke is perfect as the tough and uncompromising detective Wysocki and Delroy Lindo superbly slimy as the corrupt Alderman Gibbons. We also get glimpses into all the characters personal lives that are intriguing enough to add to the overall quality of the first show.

All the elements you’d want in a cop show are there and you can be sure Shawn Ryan will use them to great effect over the course of the next 12 episodes. Definitely worth tuning in for.

The Chicago Code is on Thursdays, 9pm, Sky1

Next review: Case Sensitive review