Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pilot Review: The Chicago Code

The Chicago Code (FOX)
Premiered February 7 at 9pm

We’ve known about this show for a while since it was announced way back in May as part of FOX’s fall schedule announcement, back when it was known as “Ride-Along.” Now, it’s finally here, and I have to say I enjoyed the pilot. Even though it’s hardly “The Shield,” for which creator Shawn Ryan is also responsible, it’s an above-average cop show that certainly appeals to me much more than the likes of “Blue Bloods,” “Detroit 1-8-7,” and “Memphis Beat.” I’m very happy to see the two lead actors back on television, after first coming to admire them when they were co-leads in Showtime series, “The L Word” and “Brotherhood,” respectively. Jennifer Beals is still playing a fiercely type-A character, but now she commands respect since she’s the police commissioner. Jason Clarke was much more of a straight-shooter, at least when it came to politeness, in his former role as Rhode Island representative Tommy Caffee, and here he has no qualms about being openly rude and pretty much making it impossible for anyone to work with him. For me, the mark of true quality came at the end of the episode, where, as opposed to what happened in the final minutes of the pilot of “Detroit 1-8-7,” a shocking death was used to illustrate that these guys are going to need business because the competition is stacked against them, rather than that the world is just a dark and depressing place sometimes. This first installment is certainly more engaging, not to mention even, than the Canadian import “The Bridge” that got booted from CBS after only two airings this summer. I know that reader RI liked this pilot, and I definitely agree with him. I have high hopes for this show, and I’m happy that it’s on a not-so-crowded night like Monday.

How will it work as a series? I’m always nervous about cop shows since they can end up being nothing more than generic procedurals, but this one strikes me as a bold and energetic series that could make its mark. Having Beals and Clarke on board is definitely an asset, and I like the show’s tone. Plus, emphasizing the good and bad of Chicago should be an added benefit for the show to explore.
How long will it last? Its ratings couldn’t match those of “House” (not a surprise) but they were better than those for “Lie to Me,” so I think this show could have a chance. FOX is in need of a good new dramatic hit, and I suspect that this could be it, especially as other networks have their own cop dramas to tout. I wouldn’t count on a second season renewal just yet, but I think this one will be sticking around for the time being.

Pilot grade: B+

1 comment:

Greg Boyd said...

I wasn't impressed by Beals, but I liked the show very much. It certainly appears to be much more than a standard police procedural, although like "The Shield" I think there will be cases of the week to be solved alongside the larger storyline. The second episode will be telling.