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Television Mon Feb 07 2011

The Best Thing about "The Chicago Code": It Really Was Made Here

This commentary was submitted by Margaret Larkin.

"The Chicago Code" premieres tonight at 8pm on Fox 32. If you want a light viewing experience -- something with a plot and fast-moving action, with characters you don't have to figure out -- then feel free to enjoy it, as I'm sure many people around town, and the nation, will.

But if you want to avoid Hollywood stereotypes, don't bother. It has the predictable characters we often see: strong men and weak women. We're supposed to believe that the first female police superintendent, played by Jennifer Beals, has paid her dues by toughing it out on the streets to eventually beat out all the guys to reign, but the toughness she shows conveys an adeptness at memorizing her lines rather than reflecting the battles she fought to get there. I was actually looking forward to seeing her in the show, since she's from Chicago and already has a long acting career, but was surprised that she doesn't have the gravitas that her male coworkers seem to effortlessly possess.

When I saw another female officer, I was hoping she'd demonstrate the strength that the guys have, but that was missing from her as well. Maybe the show's execs (all men) don't know that there really are female cops in Chicago, and they make Beals look like she'd be more comfortable attending a police social event than a crime scene.

But Hollywood did get one thing right, in addition to a pleasant script, entertaining plot, and references to corruption: they really did shoot the show here. You can see many neighborhoods, streets, and well-known sites throughout the show, which is a whole lot better than the few external images we usually get of cliché Chicago stuck between plentiful scenes shot in New York or LA.

 
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Jay / February 7, 2011 6:21 PM

I've seen the previews of this new show on Fox; it stinks, which is a shame; Dumb plots, even dumber situations the 'cops' find themselves in. I was hoping that a series about cops filmed in Chicago would have been better than this. I'll stick with watching Southland on TNT.

Bart Shore / February 8, 2011 9:37 AM

I liked the fact that this was "Chicago", the scenes were real, the plot was far fetched and way way out there, this show will not have staying power.

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »

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