Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Chicago Code-"The Gold Coin Kid"

Jared and Caleb investigate a murder on "The Chicago Code"
Credit: FOX

My review of this week's episode of The Chicago Code is after the jump.

Serialized vs. Standalone

This is something that is discussed very often in the TV business . I generally see a lot of discussion of this when shows have a combination of self-contained storylines and serialized storylines and don't go one way or the other. "The Chicago Code" is one of those shows that has an ongoing arc while having a self contained storyline every week. This week however, the episode's focus was almost entirely on the case of the week.

Although a focus on the episodic aspects of a show is what usually makes me dislike procedurals, especially if the cases are boring last night's episode of The Chicago Code did this right. Although this episode was largely self contained, it worked because the case held my interest for the hour. It was a much stronger and a much more interesting investigation from the previous couple of episodes and it also showcased what the show does right. It not only had a murder case, but it showed the politics of the investigation, rather then showing a plain old murder investigation.

The case of the week was fairly straightforward, but seeing Jarek and Caleb work around corruption that had nothing to do with the main arc made the plotline better then average. It helped broaden the show's portrayal of Chicago, realistically Gibbons is not the only corrupt person in the city and it was good to see the show acknowledge that. It was much more interesting then the previous few weeks becasue of this. The actual case was better then average. It was interesting to se the reasons for Teresa putting Jarek on the investigation, she wanted to help a big philanthropist, who could possibly help her obtain her radios. My mind didn't start to wander during the investigation, because of how interesting it was and how well it focused on the politics, not just solving a murder.

Those radios made for an interesting plotline, showing Teresa working around non-Gibbons corruption and intersecting with the main plotline in a very cool way. Seeing her have to "stop" Wysocki in order to get her radios created an interesting dynamic between the two of them. It was a cool way to illustrate their relationship and show a dynamic between the two of them that isn't really seen before. This is something that I, like others, want to see explored on a much deeper level then it already is. The show is capable of showing that deep of a relationship and I hope that at some point they do that. Also, Teresa has power. In they pilot they showed her being put in the position because she wouldn't try to stop anything and because she wouldn't be powerful but she clearly is. Jennifer Beals is really good at showing the power, even if the writing isn't.

I also enjoyed the Caleb storyline in the episode. I specifically enjoyed having some backstory of his character shared. Even though he went to Northwestern, he became a cop. This information, along with the development of the relationship between Jarek and Caleb helped me get even more invested in the partnership. This was one of the aspects of the show that wasn't quite working in my mind but now I'm more invested. If the dynamic that was established (especially with the added tension) in this episode continues it will convince me that this is something that is really working.

As for Vonda and Issac, I'm still not convinced on the reasoning for their existance, but I didn't hate their presence in the episode. Those were the parts of the episode where my mind did begin to wander, but I didn't dislike them.

Overall, even though the episode was fairly standalone, I found it very interesting because of the way that they continued to establish world and because of the interesting ways that that establishment of world fit into the case.

What did everyone else think?

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