The Chicago Code New Fox Series on Monday Nights
Jennifer Beals and Jason Clarke fight corruption on The Chicago Code
The Chicago Code is a well crafted new Fox drama about corruption, revenge, and justice. The powerful production is from acclaimed writer-producer Shawn Ryan, who created The Shield.
Filmed entirely in Chicago, the series really showcases the Windy City. And true to its title, it has the underlining theme of a code, not only among police officers, but also a code between people and their politicians. It focuses on the trust and mistrust that comes with honoring, or turning your back on a code of conduct that separates the good guys from the bad.
Monday nights on Fox, The Chicago Code will follow Teresa Colvin (Jennifer Beals), Chicago’s first female police superintendent, who lobbies for a corruption taskforce. Up to the task is Colvin’s ex-partner Jarek Wysocki (Jason Clarke), a larger-than-life veteran of the Chicago Police Department. Squeaky-clean good-guy Wysocki, who has no tolerance for profanity, is the man for the job of fighting crime and navigating the city’s underbelly.
Part of the job is an ongoing investigation of the city’s career politician, Alderman Ronin Gibbons (Delroy Lindo), whose empire of corruption will be hard to bring down.
Starring with Jennifer Beals, Jason Clarke, and Delroy Lindo, are Matt Lauria, Devin Kelley, Todd Williams, and Billy Lush. The creator-writer-showrunner is Shawn Ryan, working with executive producer Tim Minear, and the technical advisor from the Chicago Police Department, John Folino.
Ryan talked about the genesis of the show at the recent Television Critics Association winter press tour.
“The original concept was to try to do a police show in Chicago that kind of made the viewer feel as if they were in the police car with the cops,” Ryan explained.
“But the concept evolved greatly over time. It became a show that I realized I wanted to be about a lot more than just police officers. So we used police officers to look at the city and the intersection of politics and its citizenry. But from that, it became much more than I originally intended.”
The show goes in an entirely different direction than Ryan’s previous hit police drama The Shield, starring Michael Chiklis who played the badboy cop who bends the rules to suit his needs and type of justice. “I didn’t want to repeat myself, and I liked the idea of approaching crime from the top, and from the perspective of a female character,” Ryan said about giving The Chicago Code a real heroic police commissioner, played by Jennifer Beals.
What was interesting for Beals was not only showing her character’s strength, “but her fragility in her position. It’s a very tenuous position to be a woman with that kind of responsibility. And especially to have been in the police force for such a comparatively short amount of time, compared to prior superintendents.”
Beals actually grew up in Chicago, which she calls “an incredible city,” and she is happy to “be filming in this city with big shoulders,” as the Carl Sandburg poem described it.
Regarding her character, she said, “What I want to do in this first season is to play that balance between what it takes to lead 10,000 men. I say men, primarily, because I think only 25 percent are women in the Chicago Police Department. But I want to strike a balance between what is feminine leadership and what is masculine leadership.”
To have the men under her command trust her and follow her orders, Beals asked the question, “How do you get 10,000 men to follow you? What does that leadership look like? I think we were constantly playing with that idea. Is she a transformational leader? Or, I’m going to say, is she a ball-buster?”
That’s The Chicago Code.