Monday, February 7, 2011

A brief review of "The Chicago Code"

Some months back, I wrote a "Not For Review" piece on a mid-season series called "Ride-Along." It was a cop drama from Shawn Ryan, mastermind of the great FX series "The Shield," and I really loved the pilot. Well, they say don't fix what ain't broken, but, since then the show has been re-named "The Chicago Code," and the pilot episode has been revised. The series premieres tonight at 9 on Fox and, though I didn't feel it needed changing, none of the changes destroy what I loved about the show in the first place.
It tells the story of prickly, but decent, Chicago cop Jarek Wysocki (Jason Clarke), who regularly alienates his partners, engages in quasi-reckless behavior, but fiercely loves the city he has sworn to protect. One of the few ex-partners who doesn't bear a grudge against him is Teresa Colvin (Jennifer Beals), who happens to be the city's new police superintendent. She's quietly raging a battle against a corrupt alderman, play by Delroy Lindo, and also trying to clean up her department. Into all this walks Wysocki's new partner, Caleb (played by "Friday Night Lights'" Matt Lauria), an ambitious sort who sees his partnership with the volatile Wysocki as a learning experience, not a burden.
As you might expect from Shawn Ryan, it's a muscular, somewhat dark drama with lots of strong performances. As much as I liked the original pilot, I actually prefer the one you'll see tonight, as it makes Lindo's character more of a complex anti-hero than the slightly cartoonish villain he was before. At any rate, it's a smart, entertaining drama, and I encourage you to check it out.

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