The Chicago Code (2011)

Why am I the last to know?  And how come this was never mentioned at the bar before?

*mumbles* Y'all need to cut back on y'all drankin'....

Anyways, Jennifer Beals (and Delroy Lindo) had a show on FOX for a hot minute, cancelled after a measly 13 episodes - really?  Seriously?  And - from what I'm watching and reading so far - it's a good show.  It actually had a decent reception, and the episodes are pretty good.

I shouldn't be surprised, of course, considering this is the network which cancelled shows like Lie to Me and, oh, anything by Joss friggin' Whedon.  Talk about suicidal behavior.

Before you run to Netflix to watch the eps on streaming, prep yourself for the fail.  There is fail.  Delroy Lindo is the big, corrupt scary black man.  An alderman in Chicago, he's corrupt and ruthless, and the primary antagonist of the season.

That a black male politician from Chicago is characterized as a villain on FOX really didn't really come as a shock to me.

Then, there's one primary Latino character...and he dies in the very first ep at the ripe old age of 25.  Which sucks royally, especially when you see how awesome he is.

There's a white female cop whose entrance onto the show involves getting bruised by a suspect, right when you're expecting her to open a serious case of whoop-ass.  She's rescued by her partner, a bald black man with whom there's a hinted romance.  He's young, brash, and impulsive, and by the second ep there's already WWT being shed on the chance something might "happen" to him on the job - I told you there would be fail.

To get to the point, I like Jennifer Beals.  I respect her, I've always admired her acting ability, and though she's approaching 50, you really can't tell.  She plays the Superintendent on the show, whom every cop in the city answers to.  She made Superintendent in 8 years, making her the youngest ever and the first female.  And she loathed.

Dubbed "That Bitch" and considered the "Wicked Witch of the West", Beals's character has zero tolerance for corruption and incompetence.  It's ironic because Lindo's character gave her the job (he thought he'd be able to control her).  Upon becoming Superintendent, she organizes off-the-books task force to take on corruption, and she drafts a hit list of diry and/or incompetent cops to start firing.  Naturally, that doesn't go over too well.

In addition to it's leading lady, The Chicago Code's storytelling style is also memorable.  The characters introduce and explain themselves via voiceover and flashbacks, showing where they come from and why they do what they do.  Even the villain has a voiceover, letting you know how he rolls.  That's clever, really clever.  By the end of the first episode, the main characters are well on their way to being fleshed out, and it doesn't hurt that the acting is fairly decent.

The show, in many ways, is a love letter to Chicago.  The show's creator is from Chicago, it's filmed and set in Chicago, Beals was born in Chicago, and some voiceovers provide the historical background of Chicago - need I go on?

This really show had potential, and fans clearly want it revived on another network.  Personally, I wouldn't mind.  I haven't finished the first season yet, but I already know that by the end, I'll be curious as to where it was going to go next.  There's just so much corruption to work with, from day-to-day interactions between (seemingly) ordinary citizens, to financial competitions between businesses, to the murky inner workings formal and informal politics - it's liars, thieves, and traitors galore.  By the third or fourth episode, you start to fully understand the hellish strain Beals' character is under, once she realizes just how daunting her mission is.  I mean, the woman had turn in her own kin to the FBI....

In conclusion, big ups to Beals & Co.  I hope this show gets another shot somewhere else, or at least a miniseries or some TV films.


  1. Leo Princess7/20/12, 6:03 PM

    Pretty much given up on anything that looks good AND debuts on Fox. I was lucky enough to get a copy of a pilot that Fox was considering picking up and then dropped at the last minute. Not one of the shows they O-Ked instead lasted a whole season.

    I don't know who's in charge of show picking at Fox, but I wouldn't trust them to give me lotto numbers. Not a chance.

  2. The show was excellent and they did manage to wrap up most of the plot lines ... especially the big one with Lindo. There were some great supporting roles for Black women in this series as I recall.

    Anyhow, enjoy the 13 episodes. The odd thing was that Jennifer Beals left another good show ('Lie To Me') in order to get the headliner role in 'Chicago Code'.

    Anyhow, great post!

  3. There were some great supporting roles for Black women in this series as I recall.

    So I've noticed!

    The odd thing was that Jennifer Beals left another good show ('Lie To Me') in order to get the headliner role in 'Chicago Code'.

    *sigh* And both were cancelled.

    Meanwhile, I just noticed that Warren Kole was on this show. Why am I not surprised he went on to continue playing a cop on "Common Law"?

  4. I admit, I've never been a fan of Jennifer, only because of her seemingly elistist attitude about her heritage. Otherwise she is a great actress.

    I agree with Leo. FOX have not been the same in the last 15 or more years. They don't know what good programming is. I remembered this same thing happening with shows like 21 Jump Street and other great shows during the day. It's like they are allergic to them. Not only them, but just prime time Tv in general. We're living in the crappy television era. TV has not been right in the last 20 something years. Gone are family oriented , minority and civilized shows and in are senseless, reality shows. Other than a few programs, I haven't watched a lot of Tv in god knows when.

  5. Aldis Hodge!!!!! ALDIS HODGE HAS AN APPEARANCE!!!

    Watched it to the end and now I really, really need another season.

  6. I thought this show was excellent. Gritty and real without the usual sexual objectification of males and females working together. Beals completely made the role her own, especially with that accent! I just knew the show was going to last.

    "Pretty much given up on anything that looks good AND debuts on Fox." - Leo Princess

    AGREED! I have to stop getting emotionally invested in shows premiering on Fox.


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