Now that Steve Graham has given me a nice shout-out in mentioning that I’ve been blogging about The Chicago Code, I feel obligated to say something about last night’s episode. Actually, I’ll start with my wife’s review: “That one didn’t suck.”
Yeah, this was a pretty good episode. It made better use of the modern television trick of mingling two separate stories. About half of this episode was the mythology, the ongoing story of the cops who are taking on the crooked politicians, and the rest was a separate story about the pursuit of a violent bank robber.
The bank robbery allowed the episode to start with a chase scene which was pretty good. It was great to see cops driving and running around some typical Chicago scenery, including some classic train stations. And unlike the chase that began the pilot, this one seemed more likely to be within the department’s chase policy since the offender was armed and dangerous. The bank robbery also involved something resembling policework, or at least the kind of policework I’m used to seeing on television cop shows.
The other half of the story was Delroy Lindo’s chance to show off why he was cast as Alderman Ronin Gibbons, and it establishes just how sneaky and ruthless he can be, and why he’s going to be hard to catch.
This episode also finally shows us that the Chicago Police Department does not exist above all the corruption. A few people in the department are dirty too. It’s good to see that the show’s producers aren’t going to whitewash over that historic fact just because they have police cooperation in making their show.
Corruption in the department is also necessary to explain–both in the show and in real life–why the police haven’t been very effective in fighting corruption in the rest of the city. It’s hard to do good police work when not everyone is on the same side. It’s not just a matter of a few street cops tipping off the bad guys, either. One well-placed commander with organized crime connections can derail dozens of investigations.
It doesn’t even have to be police officers who are compromised. Some years ago, someone in the Chicago Police Department’s Human Resources office was found to be feeding officers’ home addresses and duty schedules to a gang. The officers would return from work to discover their homes had been broken into and their personal firearms had been stolen.
On a lighter note, it’s amusing to hear the street addresses used in the show. Filmmakers and television producers like to avoid using addresses where there might be real people or real businesses. For example, in 1987’s The Untouchables, Malone’s home is said to be at 1634 Racine, which doesn’t exist because that’s where Racine crosses the Chicago River.
In this episode of Chicago Code, I heard 1650 West Harlem (the real Harlem Avenue runs north and south) and 1260 East Chestnut, which would be about a mile out into Lake Michigan.