A Dear John Letter for "Chicago Code"

A Dear John Letter for "Chicago Code"
Dear Chicago Code,
We need to talk.  It's not you; it's probably me. I mean, millions of people hang on your every word.  You look amazing.  My parents totally love you.  Maybe that's part of the problem.
Also, I think I've been ruined by ghosts of TV shows past.  I've had the real thing, Chicago Code, and it can be wonderful.  Every time I see a show like you pop up on my radar, my mind immediately reverts back to the few precious years I spent with The Wire.  The Wire was real.  The Wire was gritty.  The Wire took its time to develop stories that mattered to Baltimore and to the world at large.  The Wire offered real solutions to real problems.  The Wire spoiled me for every subsequent TV show.  
I know you can't help it that you're not The Wire, but I can't help it that I wish you were.  
I've seen shows like you before.  You have your Big Story that you hope to develop over time, if the scheduling gods allow.  You're fighting for ratings, and you're trying to win over the pedestrian Nielsen families.  But right now you're barely more than a "case of the week" procedural.  I hate to say it, Chicago Code, but you're Law & Order without the Law.  And you're better than that.
I know what you're thinking, "I can grow.  I can change.  Look at Fringe.  Fringe was not much more than a 'Freak of the Week' X-Files knockoff, and now it's one of your favorite shows."  That's true, Chicago Code.  You could be Fringe.  I hope you are.  The world needs more Fringes.  
So, I guess what I'm saying, Chicago Code, is that I need you to change.  You need to settle down, let me get to know your characters and your story.  You need to stay true to the city in which you are set.  At this point, I have a hard time believing any of your writers has ever spent more than a long weekend in Chicago.  Cubs/Sox rivalry bon mots do not a true Chicagoan make.  Nor does a discussion about Polish sausages.
Maybe I'm just having a case of the "Second Episode Blues."  Our first date was stellar.  I built up expectations, played out in my mind how things would go.  There was no way you, or anyone, could meet those expectations.  I'm readjusting.  I'm going to try to like you for who you are, not who I want you to be.  Hopefully our third date will go better, because you know what the third date means...(OK, now this is getting weird.)
I really hope we can make this work.


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  • Interesting. I hope that the show shifts gears a bit and does really well. It would be nice to have a show do really well in Chicago and you know, stay here. Unlike "Prison Break."

    That said I haven't watched an episode of this show yet. I'm kind of scared to (particularly for the reasons you've stated), but my Twitter TL blew up with people who saw the first episode. I saw more complaints than people willing to give this show another week to redeem itself. Hopefully, it does. :-)

  • In reply to Beyle:

    I am definitely hoping this show does well so the production can stay here in Chicago. It's nice to see a show that's set here, filmed here (a-hem, The Good Wife).

    I'm actually wondering what people outside of Chicago think about the show.

  • I think everyone should give Chicago Code a shot and quit freakin' out. Even the Wire was slow and boring for most of the first season. The reviews i've read all say the show picks up steam by the third episode. But lets have some faith...this is from the writer of The Shield, and in case you never saw it, its probably the best cop show ever made (not counting the Wire since it was more than a cop show).

  • In reply to EdDeline:

    Thanks for the comment.

    Regarding "The Wire," I agree with you. The first few episodes of each season were a little slow going. There was always a ramp-up period, but the payoffs were unbelievable.

    "The Chicago Code" has the opposite problem. It seems to be moving too quickly remains too unfocused. Crimes are solved too easily. It feels a bit like a bad season of "24" at this point.

    That said, I have faith in Shawn Ryan due to his work with on "The Shield." I really do hope this show succeeds, even if it ends up being not my cup of tea (plenty of shows have gone on to successful runs without my patronage, including the entire "CSI" oeuvre).

  • In reply to EdDeline:

    Julie, I agree with you. Although the show has great actors, the show just isn't gelling for me. It just doesn't "feel" real. Also, the situations and plots the characters are in seems kind of phony. I know Chicago; born and raised here. But the show seems more like a caricature or parody of Chicago.

  • In reply to Gerec:

    It's definitely bordering on parody at this point, almost as if their only research into Chicago involved watching old "Superfan" SNL sketches.

  • In reply to EdDeline:

    My problems with "The Chicago Code" are that it is predictable, derivative and at times unbelievable. Predictable in that the storyline of tough-talking cops, corrupt alderman and graft that "goes all the way to the top" is cookie-cutter stuff whenever a police show is based in a big city. I guess I shouldn't expect a show set in Chicago to NOT focus on this stuff, but it seems so cliche right out of the gate. Second, the Scorcese-style off-screen narration and sweeping camera shots were too obvious. Lose them. Finally... cops taking suspects to meet their GFs before hauling them off to jail (and a bunch of Chicagoans applauding when they announce they're getting married???)?...a Cubs fan pretending to be a Sox fan to get on someone's good side?...A Chicago police superintendent whose office is in the center of a big police room where everyone can see and hear their every word? And an elaborate wood-paneled alderman's office? As a former news reporter in Chicago, I can safely say that none of these things exist, at least they didn't when I was working as a reporter.

    And I haven't watched the second episode yet, but how can a show about Chicago politics and cops not have one scene with the mayor? Seriously???

  • In reply to skafiend:

    My theory on the whole Alderman-as-the-Big-Bad thing is that for some reason the show felt it couldn't take on the mayor, so it made the alderman the mayor's stand-in. Why couldn't they take on the mayor? I don't know. Maybe our (current) mayor is too recognizable a figure? Maybe because we're about to switch mayors? I don't know why they didn't just make Delroy Lindo's character the fictional mayor instead of an alderman. It just seems cheap. Everyone knows the mayor of Chicago runs Chicago.

  • In reply to Magistra:

    Now Julie, you know our mayor would have never allow such a thing. He probably had a hand in bringing the show production to the city...and you think they would have actually took on a corrupt Chicago mayor story line??? Naw, I don't think so.

  • In reply to Gerec:

    Conspiracy. I love it. Now that's a TV show about corruption I'd like to see :)

  • In reply to EdDeline:

    I agree with some of these comments but it's only been on twice and I think it needs more time. I'm a Chicago native and love the shots of the city and neighborhoods. Let's remember that this is a TV show and therefore doesn't have to be absolutely authentic to the letter; it's a story told through the writer's eyes. I'm know Wired and 24 were not always 100% realistic. I love Chicago Code and look forward to the next episode. Just my 2 cents....

  • In reply to EdDeline:

    I made it through 9 minutes of the first episode before I deleted it off my DVR. After The Shield, The Wire and Dexter, you really have to bring it to make me watch a cop show.

  • In reply to EdDeline:

    Ed can't see the chicgo code lasting much pass a season this show is lame. No cop is going to allow a criminal a chance to wave a gun around without being shot. No person under arrest will be driven to his girl friend so he can ask her to marry him. No officer would be given the power for a special unit unless they had rank, the sup walking around in high heels on a crime scene and no vest need I go on. The wire was the best, the most Realistic police show that was on TV, it show the life in the project as it is and how the dope controls human life.

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