Dump Chicago Code, but keep Ald. Ronin Gibbons


Delroy Lindo as Ald. Gibbons on the Chicago Code

I've been of two minds about Fox TV's "Chicago Code. and the last-ditch effort by its Chicago fans to save the now-cancelled series.


Jennifer Beals--NO

The female Chicago police superintendent (Teresa Colvin, played by Jennifer Beals) is ludicrous, and the singular importance of her side-kick, Dectective Jerek Wysocki, played by Jason Clarke, is goofy. So is the idea that an alderman, not the mayor, runs things. That goes for the idea that the Chicago police department--or for that matter, the Cook County state's attorney (i.e. the Good Wife's husband) or even the Illinois Attorney General--would go after corruption in Chicago is as untenable as Saturday's Apocalypse. And the idea of an Irish Mafia was such a desperate creation to not offend politically correct sensibilities makes it laughable.

But the cancelled series rose to great heights with the creation of Ald. Ronin Gibbons, beautifully played by Delroy Lindo. This character accurately and uniquely captured the moral ambiguity of the Chicago Way. No other portrayal or series that comes to mind so flawlessly describes the mixture of good and evil of the Chicago Way. Do for others so that you can take care of yourself.

Chicagoans get it, but the moral subtleties and gray areas of the Chicago Way are not easily grasped by outsiders. Of course, it's not necessary that they do, but if they do, it would be, as it is said, a teachable moment for the nation. At the least, it would help America better understand President Barack Obama, the Chicago Way's spawn.

The Chicago Code writers went too far to turn the all-powerful alderman Gibbons into a murderous sort. It's a tempting thought, but aldermen mostly are petty thieves elevated by a sanguine electorate to the big time in a medium-size pond.

So, the problem is how to dump the series while saving Gibbons. I don't know how the series will end on Monday, but I presume the evil Gibbons get his, leaving the rest of the cast to carry on, if the series had been renewed.

My suggestion is to forget the first year of the Chicago Code ever ran, much like the critically successful and popular Boston Legal rose from the charcoals of The Practice. Thankfully, we never had to hear from, or even recall the existence, of the self-righteous as Bobby Donnell (played by Dylan McDermott).  

Disappearing and reappearing acts are not unprecedented in TV series. Most notably was Dennis Franz, who first appeared in the series Hill Street Blues in which he played two characters during the show's run. He first appeared as the corrupt Officer Sal Benedetto who ends up killing himself. The Benedetto character proved so popular that Franz was brought back as Lt.Norm Buntz. Later, the popular Franz played one of the most memorable TV characters  Andy Sipowicz, a hard boiled police detective in NYPD Blue

So, start a new series, focusing on the exploits and troubles of Ald. Gibbons as protagonist/antagonist, and populate the show with other morally conflicted characters who slip between goodness and evil. Bring back Franz--a Chicago-area native--for the series, maybe as Chicago mayor or as the aggressive assistant U.S. attorney who's determined to take down Gibbons. Surely, they also could find a role James Spader.

As for writers, Chicago could cough up plenty who, understanding the nuances of the Chicago Way, could do a bang-up job. Guys like Rick Kogan.


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  • Ronin Gibbons looks like 3 or 4 west side aldermen. Probably could be appointed to one of those seats after another one gets convicted. Maybe Ari Emanuel will get him the gig.

    On the other hand, if Toni Preckwinkle looked like Jennifer Beals, what a feeling.... According to IMDb, she even qualifies as a Chicagoan.

    Meanwhile, back to the world of Fox reality, I bet that Superintendent Chalmers defrauds the government on yet another grant within the next two years.

  • Oh as I was born, raised, and still work in the heart of the City of Chicago, I can't agree with you more on Chicago Code, and the Chicago following. You said it! "Chicagoans get it, but the moral subtleties and gray areas of the Chicago Way are not easily grasped by outsiders. Of course, it's not necessary that they do, but if they do, it would be, as it is said, a teachable moment for the nation."

    Growing up here, our moms didn't talk about Desperate Housewives. They talked about "Dallas, Magnum PI, and our shady alderman. It wasn't a secret. The thought of other towns and cities NOT corrupt is what really shocks me.

    I think, this show was cancelled cause it hit too close to home.

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    I mean it is people like the author of this article that just pollute the art that is reporting and writing. If Dennis Burne had done any research whatsoever, he would have found that in Chicago, Alderman Ed Burke, has been the most powerful man in Chicago, for four decades. He was more powerful than the SECOND Daley to be elected mayor, who then served for more than twenty years, and still did not eclipse Alderman Burke when it came to power. Yes the Mayor is the head of City council, however this Alderman in particular, controls everything from the purse strings to the people of Chicago, through a presence on many committees. Alderman Burke, has tactically, and very methodically positioned himself in a way that nothing in Chicago can happen without his say so. Literally.

    So, to the hack who wrote this article; you are everyhting that is wrong with media, and reporting right now. You did no research for this opinion piece. You simply spouted off, much like most cable news channels do nowadays.

    But your worst crime sir, is that thousands of people read this article, and trusted that you were delivering to them the truth, or at least an opinion that was based in some sort of factual premise. But nope. You literally wrote a fantasy story, and published it as if you had some sort of knowledge of Chicago, or its politics, when you actually used a general understanding of how most metropolitan cities function, and applied it to Chicago. which could have worked, had you not picked the most unique city in America.
    Shame on you, and shame on your disregard of your sacred obligation as a writer. Which is not to just state all facts in a neutral manner, clearly because you were writing an opinion piece, but to at least base your opinion on some sort of fact. Instead you just made some stuff up, that sounded okay, and wrote it down. What a disgrace.

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