‘The Chicago Code’ Series Premiere Review and Discussion

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The Chicago Code The Chicago Code Series Premiere Review and Discussion

As I was watching the pilot episode of Shawn Ryan’s new show The Chicago Code, I was reminded of a line from Brian De Palma’s 1987 film The Untouchables. Early in the movie, there’s a scene where Sean Connery’s character, the incorruptible Jimmy Malone, tries to explain how things work in Chicago to Kevin Costner’s Eliot Ness.

In the scene, Malone tells Ness, “You wanna get Capone? Here’s how you get him. He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue! That’s the Chicago way, and that’s how you get Capone!

In The Chicago Code (whose title is a sort-of spiritual successor to “the Chicago way”), Detective Jarek Wysocki (Jason Clarke) and Police Commissioner Teresa Colvin (Jennifer Beals) embark on a similarly difficult quest: rooting out crime in a city known for corruption and taking down a powerful alderman with ties to the Irish mob. Like Malone, however, the pair aren’t afraid of the job, giving us one of the best new pilots of the year.

Shawn Ryan’s previous attempt at a police show (not counting the critically-acclaimed but canceled private eye drama, Terriers) was the popular FX show The Shield. Unlike The Shield, however, which explored the moral gray areas of law enforcement via the notoriously corrupt cop Vic Mackey, The Chicago Code is a much more straight-forward “good guys vs. bad guys” drama.

Don’t confuse straight-forward for boring though, as the pilot episode offers plenty of excitement and hints at an engaging overarching plot that is a refreshing change of pace from the many “case of the week” cop shows on TV already.

The Chicago Code Cast The Chicago Code Series Premiere Review and Discussion

The cast of The Chicago Code gives uniformly excellent performances in the pilot episode. Of particular note is Jason Clarke as veteran detective Jarek Wysocki. At first I wasn’t sure about Wysnowski. I hate it when writers try and give a character depth by forcing odd quirks onto them (for example, Wysocki doesn’t tolerate cursing, but he’s content to cheat on his fiancee with his ex-wife).

Over the course of the show though, Clarke’s performance wore me down. By the end of the episode, I believed in Wysocki’s mission, and I trusted his instincts as a cop. Of course, one reason I was able to click with the character was because of the very solid performances from those around him, including Beals and Wysocki’s partner, Caleb Evers (played by Matt Lauria of Friday Night Lights).¬†On his own, Wysocki could easily be just another tough guy cop, but the other cast members balance him, helping to make sure the show isn’t dominated by one personality.

One other performance worth mentioning is Delroy Lindo as corrupt alderman Ronin Gibbons. Lindo is an underrated character actor who rarely does bad work, and here he provides a nice foil to the blue collar Wysocki. In the pilot, Gibbons strikes me as a bad man, but not an evil one. In a voiceover, he talks about why he’s successful as a politician, explaining that he gets things done for the right people. Isn’t that what politics is all about?

the chicago code pilot episode The Chicago Code Series Premiere Review and Discussion

In all honesty, the city of Chicago itself may be the best supporting actor in The Chicago Code. From the gang turfs of Humboldt Park to the posh Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park, The Chicago Code uses its authentic Chicago locations beautifully, lending an impressive air of credibility to the show.

As a longtime resident of the Windy City, I have to say I was impressed at how much of the city the crew explored. They didn’t just use tourist shots of the skyline or Wrigley Field, but actually went into the city and found unique locations to help enhance the show’s aesthetic. The authentic Chicago locations also made it easier to buy some of the dialogue, such as when Wysocki and Evers are arguing about the White Sox and the Cubs.

So far, I’ve avoided getting into the plot of the pilot episode too much to avoid spoiling it for those tuning in for tonight’s premiere. Suffice it to say that the pilot offers a strong introduction to each character, their overall goal, and a basic outline of how they’re going to achieve it. It also shows the viewers that cleaning up Chicago isn’t going to be easy, and that the possibility of death is a daily reality for each character. As a standalone episode, the pilot of The Chicago Code is very good, but as the beginning of the series, it is excellent.

The Chicago Code airs tonight on Fox at 9/8c. Check it out tonight and come back to Screen Rant to share your thoughts.

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  1. This show is awful. First off, they should have hired at least some Chicago native actors. New York accents working for CPD is unrealistic! Second, the cops on the program have no EDGE to them… CPD cops have an edge to them, including the women. Jennifer Beal is awful and her fake accent is nerve racking! They should have done their homework.

    • What? Did you want everybody to talk like Mayor Daley?

      J/K

      For what it’s worth, I didn’t hear any New York accents. Also, what do you mean by “edge” exactly? Did you expect to see more police brutality or just some meaner looking cops? I’m actually considering finding some Chicago cops to give me their thoughts for a follow-up article.

    • um… isn’t Beals FROM Chicago? I thought the episode (and she) were great. Pilots are usually stilted and just sort of necessary. This one made me reach for my DVR to ‘record series.’

      • Yup, Beals was born on the southside. Not every one in Chicago talks like Mike Ditka. I actually thought Jason Clarke did a nice job with the Chicago accent, given that he’s an Australian actor.

    • I don’t feel the show captures the true essence of Chicago. I didn’t connect with any of the characters even though the show attempted to shove their stories down our throats.

    • I thought it was pretty darn good and i didnt hear any NY accents, i thought it was a very good pilot and am looking forward to seen more.

    • Jennifer Beals is from Chicago. I think Jason Clarke’s accent was horrible(I am from Chicago) and watching thinking this the whole time I was watching the show. No one else’s accent stood out.

    • I like the show. The levels of plot twists and intrigue are a bit dizzying at times, the same way “The Shield” was. As far as Jennifer Beals’ “fake accent,” she was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago by an elementary school mother and a grocery store owner father. The “fake accent” you’ve been hearing is when she talks without it in other roles. She probably had to do some work to get rid of it.

  2. I agreed with every single part of your review. I was a big fan of the shield….terriers….the unit….but I loved the premiere of The Chicago Code tonight. It was amazing. Thoroughly entertaining and absolutely amazing. Every actor showed up to do a great job.

  3. One more thing. I don’t care if it is just to show how real it can get……they should of never killed off the character of Antonio.

    • That was totally unexpected. I really liked that character and thought he was going to be an important part of the whole season. It’s nice to see them take risks like that in the pilot though.

      • I found it to be rather shocking. It was in the middle of his narrative lol.

  4. Not exactly sure what chitowngurl is talking about.

    They should have “done their homework?” I found the realism quite refreshing, especially little details like a gunshot wound trauma going to illinois masonic.

    Great pilot. I’ll stick around this show for a little while.

    • The biggest Chicago detail that didn’t work for me was the double homicide at Buckingham Fountain. When I saw it, I was like…”Seriously? Two well-off white people get killed during a morning jog at one of Chicago’s most famous landmarks and everybody is just going about like it’s business as usual?”

      That kind of crime would set off a firestorm in Chicago. Alderman Gibbons talks about it a little bit when he’s saying this crime needs to get solved before any other crimes, but still…it’s definitely reaching.

      Other than that, I liked the show and am more than willing to give it a chance. I’ve noticed a lot of Chicago people on Twitter are upset over little details, but I think the show utilizes the city well.

      • Didn’t it set off a storm though? I mean, an alderman’s involved. The police sup is part of the investigation.

        I didn’t get the feeling it was downplayed at all.

        • My problem is that I compare every cop show to The Wire (aka the greatest show in the history of television).

          On The Wire, a murder of that magnitude would have been the focus of the entire episode and we’d of seen it from four different views (police, criminals, media, politicians). I don’t think it took anything away from the episode, but it was the one moment that made it hard for me to suspend my disbelief.

          • Rob, I watched the show last night. I found it to be pretty good, BUT I also feel the show would be grittier on say FX or AMC. I guess I was just expecting more shootouts. My only complaint is that the give the dude a new hair style LOL.

    • Where is 1650 W. Harlem? Love Jason Clarke,find his accent adorable. I am waiting on pins and needles to see if he finds his Chicago accent before he finds 1650 W. Harlem.

  5. Fast paced, well dialogued, gritty, big city episodic that leaves you begging for the next slice of drama pie. I like the pilot however unles it’s mindless canned laugh tracks or a reality show then it’s an endangered specie. Fox has taught me that it irreverently walks the line so that may move the needle and give this some longevity. There’s a lot of potentiality when you factor in levels of corruption, a rogue maverick (easy on the eyes) police chief and the Irish Mob. Hoping Code is not a flash in the dance pan series!

  6. So you vilify Chicago’s Humboldt Park – a near equivalent of Central Park in New York – by calling it the “gang turfs of Humboldt Park.”

    Sorry, Mr Frappier, the gangs in Chicago are everywhere in the City. They have take over the suburbs as well. So before you glorify one of the most beautiful parks in the country, complete with a rowing lake, swimming lake, fishing area, miles of cycling paths, a great little league park donated by the Chicago Cubs and run entirely on solar and wind power – which has been accomplished no where else in Chicago, incidentally – take some time to do some research and get your facts right.

    Quit glorifying the gangs. CHICAGOCODE may be a great production, but if all the writers are going to do is promote gangs, then they either need to find another job or not review the production. How can CPD and residents eradicate them when you give them stardom and promote the lifestyle.

    • I know the facts. I said gang “turfs” because I was referring to the areas of Humboldt Park where gangs operate. If you don’t think that there are gang bangers in Humboldt Park, then you’re not being realistic. Here’s a Tribune headline from yesterday: “2 seriously wounded in Humboldt Park drive-by.”

      I agree that Humboldt Park (the park) is beautiful, but there are parts of Humboldt Park (the neighborhood) that are dangerous. Also, I agree that crime can happen anywhere in the city, but there are certain areas where gangs are more prevalent. You’re not going to see many drive-bys in the Gold Coast or down Michigan Ave.

      Lastly, I don’t think The Chicago Code promotes gangs at all. In fact, gangs factored into the pilot episode very little. The most compelling dialogue related to the gang subplot was when Commissioner Colvin talked about young kids being killed in gang crossfire. Does that sound like giving gangs stardom?

      • Yeah, I don’t see where you were “glorifying” gangs, perhaps I missed something ::shrug::

      • I have to say I think everyone is expecting way to much for a 50 min premiere, I say give it a chance stop judging something that has not even begun really yet..The first episodes are always introducing the charactors, People are to fast to judge these days with out seeing the full picture of things thats why nothing good ever last…I for one will be watching I thought the opening episode was great and gripping and I love the cast. And I am from New York and not everyone in Chicago has accents lol. That is like saying everyone In california sounds alike.. I say give it a chance before you judge it at least a couple of episodes. We lose to many great shows because they are never given a chance..

  7. I loved this show and look forward to following it. Jennifer Beals always is a stellar act and it’s nice to see her back on a good show that shows off her acting chops well. Great article. Totally agree with everything thats in it.

  8. I thought “Chicago Code” had a good premiere, and like some of you said, thought they showcased things that are very Chicago (at least to me) beyond downtown or famous spots like Wrigley and Navy Pier, showing places like Devon Ave (where I live around) and Illinois Masonic Hospital (that one stands out to me only because it’s where my mom and a few friends work). I don’t get into many cop shows, mainly Law & Order SVU, but like a whole lotta other people I got very into it; it shows the gritty-ness of Chicago, not just the typical parts. Plus, Jason Clarke and Matt Lauria aren’t too bad on the eyes. I searched the blogs and woohoo! found a little behind-the-scenes of what the season finale will be like — someone WILL get shot, haha. I saw it on this blog http://bit.ly/dMkbQb. Also, I read elsewhere that in terms of Chicago accents, they had a professor from Northwestern University working with Jason Clarke from the beginning to end of production to help authenticate his Chicago accent. Looking forward to seeing what the rest of the season will be like and where this show will go.

  9. Thanks for the info re Jason Clarke (ie, his Australian heritage). I was intrigued by his speaking style through the entirety of this fine pilot episode and was planning on snooping out his provenance. Excellent as was his performance in every other way, his accent didn’t work to express native Chicagoan roots – he needs to enunciate much harder “r”s and more open “a”s. I agree that he struck me more as a New Yorker. Having said that, I found his character fascinating and this premiere effort gripping. It’s nice to see a gritty, no-punches-pulled cop show that isn’t anchored in non-stop profanity. TBS’s formerly outstanding police series Southland is, regrettably, taking this course for its new season. My wife and I are big fans, but I think we’re going to drop it from our viewing schedule for this reason. Similarly, FX’s dramas are generally artistically excellent, but flatly too coarse. Yes, I know people actually speak that way, but folks do all kinds of gross stuff in real life – there’s no need to fixate on it in our fiction. I have to believe gifted writers, directors, and actors, properly motivated, can somehow manage to craft compelling stories without forcing viewers to wallow in the sewer. I look forward to Chicago Code demonstrating that is, in fact, possible.

  10. Though I am not a fan of Fox, I have to say it usually creates good TV shows. In my opinion Chicago Code is not one of them. It did not capture my interest, or give me any desire to see more episodes. Maybe because the plot (which was supposed to be believeable, I think) wasn’t. Anyhow, I recorded it, and when I viewe it, deleted it around the halfway mark. I won’t be back.

    • I love it and thought it was great, I for one will keep watching, there are shows for everyone and for some this may not be for you. But I very much enjoyed it and agreed with the review above on it, And lets not forget the first episode you are just meeting the cast and charactors, So I think it is to soon to judge this show.. But I can say from what I have allready watched I will keep on watching…

  11. In all honesty, the show is decent. I don’t particularly care about the whole accent issue, because there’s so many variations depending on what part of town your from. In any case, I found the dialogue to be a little on the cheesy side, the banter between the characters was not enough to keep me seriously attentive to what was going on. There were a few too many cringe lines. For instance, the line where the greasy alderman requests a teasing kiss on the ear from his secretary. I was sincerely like,”what?! Really???”

    I do give credit to the actors, though. I believe the characters and their stories and the feelings they portray. And there is definitely a “real” feeling to the scenes because they, as many have all ready mentioned, are not shot in the usual touristy spots. However, I agree with whomever mentioned the issue with portraying Humboldt Park, the neighborhood, as a gang infested hood. Ok, real talk, I live in the hood and, honestly, that is not the best reference to a so-called bad area of the city. There’s any number of other neighborhood’s the writer could have chosen that are REAL trouble spots with serious issues. Englewood for example, would have been prime real estate for the setting they’re trying to drive at. Or the Wild Hundreds. All I’m saying is choose the places that are KNOWN to be dangerous and full of crime, because besides the head line that Frappier mentioned above, any one will tell you that Humboldt Park is not it.

    I just hope that the dialogue gets a little more sophisticated and contains less cringe moments in the future.

    Side note: I agree about the killing of Antonio. He was so cute!! :)

  12. I mean that Antonio shouldn’t have died so soon, of course. But it was an excellent plot twist.

  13. When I commented that I bailed out of the show 30 minutes into it, some people replied that I ought to get the show a chance because they like it. Well, I am a firm believer in to each their own, but I have to say that shows like House Fringe Lie to Me and Human Target gripped me from the getgo. I didn’t have to give them a chance, they sold themselves.

  14. Skimmed through a couple of the posts and I think a few of you hit it on the head. The thing that made this show click for me was the dialogue, for what its worth Chicago Code and Detroit 187 are my new favorite cop shows. The way they weaved each characters back story into the pilot was probably the best introduction I’ve ever seen in a pilot episode. It made you care about who you were watching. I just hope FOX doesn’t cop out and yank the show if the ratings don’t soar initially.

  15. This show is awful, the storyline is boring, the acting is boring,i had to force myself to watch this show ,Hawaii 5.0 is way better, I guarantee this show will be canceled after only one season and on top of that there is no hot babes in the show

    • Oh Monsanto… (heavy, sympathetic sigh here)… Jennifer Beals doesn’t work for you? Smart, sexy, and carries a weapon isn’t your style? Oh well, move along.

  16. This show is terrible i wasted and hour of my life watching the first episode . FOX i want that hour back in my life. Shame on you you made great shows like the Shield and then you offer this to us were not Sheep….

  17. The show’s “okay”…..I didn’t care for the Alderman having such an elite office, and secondly, and more importantly…..an irish mob?? Are they serious?? The “outfit” as it’s known here in the windy city, is thee, crime syndicate. Yeah, we had, as in past tense, an irish mob, at the beginning of the last century.

    I grew up by Humbolt, as a mere shemlock, my family moved to the burbs when I was 2…..Yet I can still see my grandma pulling us in a wagon through the park, way back in the day. (early 60′s)

    I watched it once, and haven’t watched it since. Hawaii Five-O, I won’t waste my time……

  18. Please end this show It’s like a horse with a broken leg…

  19. Where on earth, or in Chicago, is 1650 W. Harlem? Jason Clarke and his Aussie accent are adorable. I’m waiting on pins and needles to see if he finds his local accent before he finds his way around Chicago!

  20. Harlem runs north and south

    • I get it;) An obvious gaff that was easy to rectify, and repeated twice no less…. is ANYBODY in production from Chicago?…. creative license would be a silly excuse.

  21. Not a good cloaked attack on Chicago.How about an out in the open one.Chicago style politics and corruption serves as an all too familiar rant from the rightwing,nowonder Fox has its backing. Bad(low) ratings won’t decapitate this show by next season.Its like what 24 did for the terrorist threat post 9/11 days.Good show though.Chicago code is not.I await the episode of the community organizer joins a harsh radical rant sermon church,writes a book about his fatherless life yet being raised by his moms family who dies before he becomes uh…….Anyway I guess Chi-towners don’t care what image their city gets. Must been starving to death to get that NewYork copshow love that even cities like Pittsburgh are able to get.Pittsburgh..where is that city anyway? Again Chicago code sucks.

    • I agree 100% with the last comment this show really sucks It’s terrible please end it…………..

  22. Fred… you’ve now posted 4 (four) times how much you dislike the show. How many more posts can we look forward to?

  23. Capesquad

    You must be a fan of the show then or i upset you well i think I’ve made my point pretty clear but thanks for thinking about me enough to post the last comment . I’m done for now

  24. this may be the WORST police show since cop rock,,, Thank God its gone cancelled, dropped, over with done, etc. Acting bad, Plot ZERO Beals as a police commander ?? Really its unwatchable laughable and awful It may be the ONLY TV sho worse than Glee seriously Lie to Me was WAY WAY WAY better and Detroit 187 KILLS this hunk of tripe

  25. This is actually a comment that I posted on the Chicago Tribunes’ Facebook page on a wall post entitled “A lot of TV shows have been set in Chicago. Got a favorite?” from February 7TH as well as a reposting of this same comment on another wall post entitled “Does “The Chicago Code” get what our city is about?” from February 16. So this is actually the third time I have posted this comment on the Internet.

    No T.V. Show set in or filmed in Chicago has ever gotten it right. None of them has ever managed to capture the spirit, culture and personality of the City Of Chicago. They all try to transplant L.A. and New York into Chicago. This is due primarily to most of the Hollywood screenwriters being from either L.A. or New York. Probably the worst example of this was that damn Steve Harvey Show. Even though it was supposed to be set in a Chicago Public High School, all of the kids had these super-thick New York accents and spoke in this obnoxious New York-Hip Hop dialect. Here is a typical example: YO, YO, YO, YO, YO, YO, YO WAZ UP MISA HIGHTOWA? Dear god! I could shoot myself listening to that crap! It was just awful. In these shows the L.A. and New York writers always script in social and dialectal inaccuracies. Sometimes these shows’ characters bring up Junior High or Middle School. There is only Elementary School and High School in Chicago, none of that Junior High, Senior High or Middle School business. Other times the characters will talk about “car pool lanes” or “compact parking spaces” or “three strikes laws”. That is all California stuff. None of it exists in Chicago, or Illinois, or even most of the Midwest for that matter. Then when when the characters in these shows go for a bite to eat they’ll say something like “let’s go get a Pastrami on Rye or a Roast Beef Sandwich”. That is New York stuff. In Chicago you go get a Hot Dog, or a Polish (not a Polish Sausage Sandwich; it’s just “a Polish” in Chicago Speak), or a Gyros, an Italian Sausage, an Italian Combo, a Pizza Puff, a Pork Chop Sandwich or an Italian Beef. Not a “Roast Beef Sandwich”. That’s what they eat on the East Coast. In Chicago we eat Italian Beef Sandwiches and we usually don’t even bother with the word sandwich. Yet you will probably hear about these L.A./California and New York/East Coast things in episodes of E.R. Early Edition, Family Matters, Chicago Hope or According To Gym. More to the point you will almost never hear about any genuine Chicago/Midwestern things in said shows. Other examples of this sort of thing include when the characters say “Freeway” instead of Expressway, “Living Room” instead of Front Room, “Sneakers” instead of Gym Shoes, “Police Precinct” instead of Police District, “Patrol Car” or “Cruiser” instead of Squad Car, “District Attorney” or “D.A.” instead of State’s Attorney, or the worst of the bunch “Soda” instead of Pop. When they actually do try and give these shows some authentic Chicago flavor they always fall short and wind up coming off worse then when they just imitate New York and L.A. They always overuse Chicago icons and resort to cliches. Like how the EL seems to be a gratuitous backdrop in every outdoor shot even though the majority of Chicago’s neighborhoods don’t actually have an elevated train running threw them. Like how on E.R. the outdoor scenes away from the hospital always seemed to take place at Michigan & Wacker. As if the whole freakin city just hangs out on the Michigan Avenue Bridge. Or how they’ll casually mention getting on the Dan Ryan Expressway even though: A) they’re clearly somewhere on the north side and B) most Chicagoans call it simply the Dan Ryan or “the Ryan” for short. Which reminds me they’re always on the damn north side. On the rare occasion that their is an episode of a Chicago based show concerning the south side they’re A) not actually on the south side, they’re still on the north side, they’re just saying they’re on the south side B) it’s an episode about a murder or C) it’s some feel good episode about some white person helping or saving some “at risk” black youth or single mother from poverty, drugs or gangs. Then they always have to throw in some lame sports reference to the Bears, the Bulls and of course the Cubs; as a means of authenticating the shows “Chicagoosity”. This intern leads to contrived and overdone arguments between Sox Fan and Cub Fan characters. Even that however is only a recent development. Before the 2005 World Series and Barrack Obama’s supposed White Sox fandom the Chicago based T.V. shows regularly referenced only the Cubs and completely ignored the White Sox as did most of the main stream media prior thereto. Their is never any reference at all to The Loop and let’s not overlook the complete and utter absence of an authentic Chicago accent in any of these shows. And no Jim Belushi in According To Jim does not freakin count. Because Jim Belushi is not a Chicagoan, he’s a suburbanite. Wheaten is not Chicago people. So rather than giving an accurate portrayal of Chicago life what these shows really wind up doing is almost a parodying of Chicago and its personality. These shows, their characters and their story lines become poor imitations of Chicago at best and bad caricatures of Chicago at worst. The best and most accurately I have ever seen Chicago portrayed was not on a T.V.show but in a movie: The Fugitive. That is most likely due to The Fugitive being directed by native Chicagoan and southsider Andrew Davis. But not a single Chicago based T.V. show has ever gotten Chicago right. And oh yeah, The Chicago Code sucks

    • I know That’s what i keep telling everybody but some just Won’t listen..

    • I agree with you 100%. I grew up in Chicago and I now live in the Bay Area but it drives me nuts when these shows do these over the top Chicago accents that sound like- either Fargo or a weird Boston type thing. I’ve been watching Shameless recently and it does get the Chicago vibe down, it really does, but Emmy Rossum’s Chicago accent is totally lame. I’m still waiting to see some Archway cookies being eaten on a show :D

  26. I gave it a try…didn’t like the 1st episode and couldn’t sit all the way through the 2nd one. It’s just all too implausible…a mentor accepting a vest from someone already considered in the line of fire? A cop who doesn’t swear…in Chicago? I wasn’t remotely beginning to care about any of the characters. Great actors, all – god awful writers. It can’t last long.

  27. Why are all the bad guys drinking Jarek’s Kool-aid and spilling their guts with very little prompting?! Btw, his first name should be pronounced with a ‘Y’ sound and not a ‘J’- are you listening out there production staff?!’-

    So, when is JB gonna stop acting so constantly coy and dis-believeable? Writers could do a little homework.
    Attention Mr. Ryan: the shop simply isn’t being watched. Help us and get a real group of Chicagoans to advise!

  28. I understand how distracting it can be when West Coast types foul up the little things in their big dollar productions – trees ablaze with oranges and reds in what is supposed to be a September scene,for instance, because way out in LA they think that’s when New England reaches its peak foliage season; or the inescapable snow storm on Thanksgiving episodes because writers who live in parts of the US in which there are only two seasons don’t understand it, indeed, can be frigid on a Midwestern Thanksgiving Day; but it can just as likely be nearly balmy, as well. When the creative forces behind film and tv production bungle it in the local color department, I find it as irksome as the next guy; probably more so, actually. However …

    … some of the gripes I’m reading here about Chicago Code strike me as a bit much. First of all, far as I am concerned, it is an immensely enjoyable cop drama, period; whatever the shortcomings of its verisimilitude. Decent plots, interesting characters, all tastefully executed. I’ll take y’all’s word for it that they are missing it on a bunch of the regional detail stuff. I grew up in the Midwest near Chicago and Illinois, surrounded by 2nd City natives, but I’m hardly an expert on the area. However, I do know a Chicago/Northern Illinois accent when I hear one and this series is hardly lacking in them. Someone griped early on that Jennifer Beals doesn’t sound like she is from Chicago. Huh??? She veritably reeks (honestly, no insult intended) of that region’s tones. “Cops” becomes “Caps”, in her mouth; “car” is “caarrr”, etc. Actually, a good part of the cast sounds like they are straight from Windy City central casting. Oddly, the most glaring exception is main player Jason Clarke, whose attempts to cloak his Australian speech produce a weird, New-Yawkish brogue. Don’t get me wrong – his character is likable and intriguing, and a good part of the show’s attraction for me – it’s just that Jarek Wysocki sounds nothing like a dyed-in-the-wool Chicagoan. Again, from experience, I know it is not unheard of for someone to grow up in a region and somehow escape absorbing the prevailing dialect; I suppose we could chalk up Wysockie’s peculiar, irregular inflections to that phenomenon. I do have to say, as I tune in this series and as much as I look forward to it every week, when watching Detective Wysockie do his thing I do often find myself thinking , “Hey, guy, could you try to make your r’s a little harder or flatten out your a’s just a bit?” Nonetheless, I give Chicago Code “two thumbs up” (to quote another couple of well-known Chicagoans) and hope it makes it to renewal.

  29. What a nicely balanced critique, Steve. Clearly focusing on the minutia distracts from the broader goal. Yet, I differ, as the definition of opinions often does, in that some of these details can be so easily vetted out and the point of so many of them simply points to a lazy production, or one that is relying on misinformed self promoting experts. Additionally, the story line, with great potential, is actually fairly shallow, indicating and leading, which may appeal to… I’m just not sure. I believe that Jennifer Beals is actually miscast, or needs to experience some beneficial backstory coaching. Her behavior is peculiar and her voice is very thin, shrill-ish. Sorry, just hard to deal with for someone in her position. Minutia directed- why is her office without energy or life, like she is never there. Props look plain silly, her ‘police’ uniform appears caricature-ish. Some of those day players seem disconnected as well, too isolated as if they are in their own bubbles and the show IS existing in a vacuum. This all makes for a production that is NOT grounded, quite a different perspective than the city itself. Chicago is a very grounded place and the show’s attributes and embellishments just don’t reflect that vibe. This show just feels like it is riding on some laurels, maybe Shaun Ryan’s, and the writing or production just doesn’t ring true. Maybe I am expecting more, but I don’t think so, I’m just expecting different, believable, ‘real’ and Chicago Code isn’t delivering. Wish it would!

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