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The Chicago Code Review: "Gillis, Chase and Baby Face"

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It's an old saying, but also a valid one: the key to a good story is its antagonist.

Give viewers a well-written, layered, intelligent villain, one that can match wits with his/her enemy and keep fans guessing about what comes next, and you're often in for a fascinating ride.

Through the first two episodes of The Chicago Code, we didn't know much about Alderman Ronin Gibbon. He seemed shady and Teresa was convinced he was polluting the city, but we hadn't really seen the man in action. But that changed on "Gillis, Chase and Baby Face."

Alderman Gibbons

In two different examples, we saw how Gibbons operates, always remaining one move ahead of anyone who threatens him, unafraid to take extreme, child pornographic steps when in need of leverage.

For The Chicago Code to give us a true feel for the power play at work in the area, we needed an episode that focused on Gibbons and the Irish Mob. Which side is really in charge? Who, exactly, should Colvin and Wysocki be going after?

The answer is clearly Gibbons, someone who now feels like more than just a shadowy figure in his office, making moves on his secretary and blindly accepting bribes. He didn't get to the position in which he's in via mere greed. And he also didn't help elevate Teresa to Superintendent without a backup plan. I initially shook my head over the notion that we were in for a 24-like situation when the Chief of Staff offered up his mole services to Gibbons, but I should have known better.

Shawn Ryan isn't one to ever go such an obvious route. But we got a double dose of trickery to close this episode, as Gibbons thinks he's pulled one over on Teresa. Viewers know better, however, and thank goodness for that. Again, the concept of moles has been done so many times before and makes for such an easy storytelling device - one side reveals a vital piece of information, cut to said mole, looking shifty! - that it's refreshing to see the series resisting the urge to go there.

Elsewhere, the dynamic that Wysocki's assignment has created for him and Caleb creates an interesting catch-22.

As Caleb explained, there are 10,000 policemen in Chicago. If they represent the best of the city, and he and Jarek are considered outsiders among this family, what are they actually doing? Saving people who begrudge their mission in the first place. There's a type of martyrdom at play here, helping to make the show in general feel different than any other cop procedural on TV.

I'll end this review with my favorite scene of the first three episodes. I was shocked and fascinated by Jarek's reaction to shooting that perp. No officer will ever be presented with a more clear cut kill. Wysocki saved an innocent man's life and took down a criminal who was spraying bullets in the street. But he only sees murder as a last resort.

If the rules had simply been followed, if his fellow members of the CPD had simply been as focused on their jobs as he is everyday, Wysocki would not have any blood on his hands. He didn't hesitate at the time, and he'd do it again, but I can't think of any other fictional cop who would react in such a way to a by-the-books incident. It's just another example of what makes The Chicago Code feel so fresh.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (31 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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There are many cop shows on today that make this show look like the amateur production it is. There is "no" way any Chief of any large city would go around playing street cop/detective like the lady chief in this silly show.
If you want a real good or excellent cop show try watching any of these: Detroit 1-8-7, Justified or Southland. These are real cop shows not one that has a flashy female running around the streets playing cop. Terrible show. Fox should be embarrassed for showing it.

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I was ready to not watch anymore, then the alderman got to work. brilliant. I am back on board.

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I knew we were in for a good Shawn Ryan ride in Chicago Code when in the pilot, he cut off the voice-over backstory of the driver just as he gets gunned down. This episode, it was a host of little scenes, Gibbons giving up Colvin's Chief of Staff, who offered him a bribe to stay one step ahead of the Superintendent; it was Colvin throwing her drink at the TV - Jarek shoving Caleb in the locker room without an apology. I like that the relationships are not settled, and the characters are all fresh and unpredictable (with the possible exception of the niece/cop). It's still much more prosaic and predictable than the Shield,(which was on FX and also so unique that it really can't be compared to other shows) but it's still the only real 'cop' show I can stomach these days.

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How long do you think this series will last?

Jimg

I am happy to say that it feels like Beals is finally snuggling down into the role and starting to "be" the character instead of just "acting" like the character... Was a good episode.. great review!

The Chicago Code Season 1 Episode 3 Quotes

Caleb: If we can't even trust other cops to have our backs, this job gets dangerous.
Jarek: Yes it does.

I don't mind sucker punching Gibbons as long as it knocks him out.

Colvin