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Shawn Ryan Swims Upstream, Going from FX to Fox, with New 'Chicago Code' Cop Series
February 7, 2011  | By David Bianculli
 
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Most TV producers, and most quality TV shows, are fleeing from broadcast to cable TV in droves. (Or, at least, mini-droves.) Opportunities are better there, restrictions are looser, and many of the programs are more ambitious. But Shawn Ryan, who helped lead that revolution with FX's The Shield, is going against the grain -- by moving to broadcast TV for his new cop series, The Chicago Code, which premieres tonight at 9 ET on Fox...

I've seen three episodes of Chicago Code, and they've already drawn me into the characters and situations. Basically, it's the story of a powerful Chicago politician, a somewhat corrupt municipal system, and a few honest cops who team up to topple the powerful, cancerous man at the top. Delroy Lindo plays the alderman who's the devious target, and the police aiming to expose and unseat him are played by actors from a string of ambitious, original TV dramas.

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There's Jennifer Beals, from Showtime's The L Word, as police superintendent Teresa Colvin. Her former partner on the beat, and one of the only cops she trusts, is Jarek Wysocki, played by Jason Clarke, from another edgy Showtime drama, Brotherhood. And HIS new partner, whom he doesn't quite trust at first, is Caleb Evers, played by Matt Lauria. Just as Lauria starts this new show, he says goodbye to his old one: He plays Luke Cafferty on Friday Night Lights, which in two days presents its final episode on DirecTV 101 Network.

All four of these actors, and performances, are excellent. With this much talent in front of the camera, and with Ryan leading the team behind it, The Chicago Code ought to be very, very good. And it is -- but only after the opening credits. The pre-credits sequence, in which Jarek talks a fleeing suspect into surrendering -- during a high-speed chase in adjacent cars -- is cartoonishly absurd. (See for yourself, in the photo at the top of this column.)

I'd just about written off the show because of that feeble start, but I'm glad I didn't. After that, The Chicago Code pulls you in, and gives you at least four main characters to root for -- or against. And instantly, it becomes one of the better TV shows that broadcast TV has to offer.

For my review of The Chicago Code on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, listen to today's broadcast or, after about 5 p.m. ET, visit the Fresh Air website to read or hear the review by clicking HERE.

 

2 Comments

 

rkaldor said:

If this show is any thing as good as Terriers it will be a winner. Shawn Ryan is a talented writer and keeps coming up with a great story line.

Comment posted on February 7, 2011 4:27 PM


Sarah said:

I am glad you like it because I am kind of looking forward to it, mainly because I became a Jason Clarke fan during Brotherhood and didn't like when Showtime just cancelled it without giving it a real conclusion. It does sound like an intriguing idea and with good characters it should be given a chance. I didn't watch The Shield but I will DVR The Chicago Code.

Comment posted on February 7, 2011 4:57 PM
 
 
 
 
 
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