As the creator of The Shield, Shawn Ryan knows his cops, and he knows his urban corruption, too. He brings that dual expertise to his new Fox drama, The Chicago Code, but whether it’s the change in location or the move to network TV, Code feels like a sanitized version of more daring police dramas. It sets itself up a bit like The Wire at first, with a driven police commander tasking an idealistic officer with tracing a web of crime all the way to the top. In this case, it’s the city’s youngest and first female police superintendent, Teresa Colvin (Jennifer Beals), who empowers hard-nosed detective Jarek Wysocki (Jason Clarke) to investigate murders and shady deals that ultimately lead back to a city alderman (Delroy Lindo). Wysocki, obsessed with doing the right thing no matter what the bureaucrats say, is reminiscent of The Wire’s Jimmy McNulty, and Lindo’s slimy alderman recalls any number of that show’s corrupt Baltimore politicians.
- The Chicago Code
- Mondays, 9 p.m., Fox
But Code is no Wire, at least not yet, thanks partially to its reliance on stand-alone procedural stories to augment the serialized elements and partially to its dependence on bland exposition, often delivered in distracting voice-over by various characters. The acting, also, ranges from competent to strained (with some terrible Chicago accents), and Beals in particular seems way out of her league as the steely, fearless cop planning to clean up the city. Lindo is entertainingly slimy as the crooked alderman, but without a worthy adversary, he’s just one great character stranded on a merely serviceable show.