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« Local Artist Blends History and Culture to Create New Generation Art Passing Strange »

Television Mon Apr 25 2011

The Chicago Code: Windy City Dirt with a Grain of Salt

ChicagoCodeWhen The Chicago Code premiered in February, it had its share of critical acclaim. Chicagoans of the Twitterverse wasn't quite so sure. My favorite opinion came from @Joethecop (an actual chicago cop, as the handle suggests). He called the show a "new guilty pleasure."

Those closest to the city's police and government systems are the most likely to balk at the details of The Chicago Code. One of the lead characters (the openly Polish Jarek Wysocki, played by Jason Clarke) is a cop who's been given a free reign to take on whatever case he wants. He's constantly interrupting high-powered Superintendent Teresa Colvin (Jennifer Beals), waltzing in and taking her away from city meetings to talk about specific investigations. Another is the dirty-yet-untouchable Alderman Gibbons (Delroy Lindo) whose mysterious "ward" seems to roam around the city as the plot deems necessary and who is supposedly "more powerful than the mayor." Keen-eyed viewers might also wonder why Alderman Gibbons' office appears to be located inside one of Northwestern's Chicago Avenue Law School buildings.

But taking liberties with setting is a normal part of fiction, and making up hierarchical details is a long-treasured purview of crime dramas. Chicagoans who can relax about details like a purported crime scene at "623 E. Jackson" (maybe a boat-by shooting?) will be able to enjoy a compelling cop show that is in many ways more realistic than the norm, totally free of insanely high-tech analysis equipment and relatively low on tell-all confessions. Citizens willing to let a few details slide might really revel in timely details, as when the demolition of Cabrini-Green was worked into the plot of an episode entitled, appropriately, "Cabrini-Green" and aired around the same time as the final building was really going down.

That the show is really shot here in Chicago is one of its greatest assets, and the city -- OUR city! -- is a beautiful backdrop for the fast-paced show. Ina single episode you might catch a glimpse of your favorite hot dog stand, your office building, and your LSD exit. So take a chill pill, pretend the Irish Mob still has Chicago by the throat, and enjoy the scenery.

 
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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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A/C is the arts and culture section of Gapers Block, covering the many forms of expression on display in Chicago. More...
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