52 Shows, 52 Weeks: #19 The Chicago Code

Of course I started watching The Chicago Code because of Jennifer Beals.  When The L Word ended, I lost my guaranteed access to fresh Jennifer Beals.  I mean, I could still watch my The L Word DVDs and rent Flashdance, but those things have already happened.  I need new Jennifer Beals, and that is what The Chicago Code promised.

And did it ever deliver.  On this show, Jennifer is solid once again.  Teresa Colvin is nothing like Bette Porter, except that they both walk with the same deliberate gait.  I will never love anyone the way I love Bette, but I have grown quite fond of Superintendent Colvin.  After all, I have a soft spot for women in kick-butt jobs and the head of the entire Chicago Police Department is pretty kick butt.  In addition to the rad job, Teresa takes herself very seriously and seems to have little personal life, which are the kinds of traits I’m drawn to in a TV character.

But I expected to like whomever Jennifer Beals was playing.  What I didn’t expect is how much I like the other characters on The Chicago Code.  The truth is that it would be a good show without—gasp!—Jennifer Beals.

What surprised me most was how deftly the show makes Chicago a character.  I’ve already explained how much I like shows set in Chicago.  Chicago is my favorite metropolis.  I’m a city kind of lady, and I’m not too discriminating.  (Remind me to tell you the story about Cincinnati some time.)  I pretty much like any city you show me.  Just take me downtown.  Show me your tall buildings, your fenced square miles of grass that you call “parks,” your coffee shops with sidewalk tables, and serve me sushi at a high top table, and I will declare your city my favorite city ever.  But unless your city is Chicago, I’ll be lying.

At first, I was nervous that The Chicago Code was too Chicago and would alienate viewers who aren’t over the moon for the city the way that I am.  After awhile, I decided that the show’s commitment to Chicago is one of its strongest points and if viewers don’t appreciate that, they aren’t worthy of watching the show.

The Chicago Code is filmed on location in Chicago, which adds to its charm.  The Chicago accent is tricky and most shows set there just ignore it.  This show, of course, ambitiously tries to use it.  It works in some cases better than in others.  That is really my only complaint about the show.  In all other ways, it just works.

The stories are even interesting, especially for a cop show.  A lot of them, like the episode that revolved around tearing down Cabrini Green, are so Chicago and character specific that they couldn’t happen on any other show.  Not many other cop shows can make that same claim.  I used to watch NYPD Blue and still enjoy an on-and-off relationship with Law and Order: SVU, but other than those two, I don’t usually get into cop shows.  This is just another reason I was so surprised by my overwhelming infatuation with The Chicago Code.

Needless to say, my heart broke when I learned that Fox decided not to bring The Chicago Code back in the fall.  I wanted the show to have a chance to dig deeper into Teresa’s background, and I was anxious to see if it could sustain the pace and quality it had at the beginning.  As it turns out, all we’ll ever have is that beginning: thirteen episodes, each one better than the last.