The Chicago Code Rewatch, Episode 13: Mike Royko’s Revenge

“I’ve learned two things about fighting crime in Chicago. One: it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and you’d better be ready to go the distance. And two: go for the head; that’s where the teeth are.”
– Teresa (voiceover)

Over the course of the 12 previous episodes, The Chicago Code has presented a sprawling, tangled version of Chicago with a memorable, diverse cast of characters. But “Mike Royko’s Revenge” brings everything back to the show’s central duo, Teresa and Jarek, and their quests. Teresa’s quest is to finally put Alderman Gibbons behind bars. Jarek’s is to avenge the death of his brother, Vincent. Both quests reach turning points in this episode, but only one succeeds. Continue reading “The Chicago Code Rewatch, Episode 13: Mike Royko’s Revenge”

The Chicago Code Rewatch, Episode 11: Black Sox

“One thing about a bigot is: if they’re willing to kill one man over his sexuality, then they are certainly willing to kill more.”
– Teresa

It’s sad but true: hate crime is still a thing in this day and age. This particular episode of The Chicago Code centres around the brutal murder of a leader in Chicago’s Boystown neighbourhood. The gay community is up in arms, and now the Chicago PD have a mess on their hands. Continue reading “The Chicago Code Rewatch, Episode 11: Black Sox”

The Chicago Code Rewatch, Episode 10: Bathhouse & Hinky Dink

“Subtle’s for plastic surgeons and poets.”
– Jarek

Jarek talks a big game. He’s all swagger and bravado on the outside, but he’s really hiding a host of vulnerabilities and insecurities. In “Bathhouse & Hinky Dink,” The Chicago Code makes explicit the main source of these insecurities: Jarek’s brother, Vincent, was killed while working undercover. Now, Jarek is scared to get too close with someone for fear that they’ll leave him or end up dead. Continue reading “The Chicago Code Rewatch, Episode 10: Bathhouse & Hinky Dink”

The Chicago Code Rewatch, Episode 9: St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

“Doing your job is why they’re taking a vote in the first place. You have made a lot of enemies, Teresa, shaking things up.”
– Jarek

“St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” is a referendum of sorts on the Superintendent of Police, Teresa Colvin. The episode’s literal referendum on her leadership from the police union is perhaps a bit on the nose, but it dovetails nicely with what we’ve been told throughout the series so far: a lot of cops are dissatisfied with Teresa’s leadership. Continue reading “The Chicago Code Rewatch, Episode 9: St. Valentine’s Day Massacre”

The Chicago Code Rewatch, Episode 8: Wild Onions

“You know what? If I’m revoking sick days and calling off vacations, I’m certainly not going to do it from an air-conditioned office.”
– Teresa

“Wild Onions” is a slow-paced installment of The Chicago Code, evoking the dog days of summer in the way it unfolds. This is not an episode with a great sense of urgency, nor is it one where our heroes are overly concerned with nailing Gibbons to the wall. Their first priority here is dealing with the oppressive Chicago summer heat. The problem is, as is repeated throughout the episode, that the heat makes people go a little crazy. Continue reading “The Chicago Code Rewatch, Episode 8: Wild Onions”

The Chicago Code Rewatch, Episode 7: Black Hand and the Shotgun Man

“You know, this may sound sentimental, but I consider all my constituents family – the ones who voted for me, anyway.”
– Alderman Gibbons

Jarek and Gibbons have very different ideas about what constitutes family. For Jarek, family is the people to whom you’re related by blood. On the other hand, Gibbons sees his entire constituency as one big family. This may seem like empty political posturing on Gibbons’ part, but he sincerely means it. “Black Hand and the Shotgun Man” centres around these diametrically opposed views of family. Continue reading “The Chicago Code Rewatch, Episode 7: Black Hand and the Shotgun Man”

The Chicago Code Rewatch, Episode 6: The Gold Coin Kid

“If you want to dump me, it’s because of who you are, not who I am.”
– Caleb, to Jarek

“The Gold Coin Kid” is notable for the absence of Alderman Gibbons, whose presence usually looms over the series like a grey cloud. This gives it a chance to perform a character study of Jarek, through the prism of secrets and lies. Continue reading “The Chicago Code Rewatch, Episode 6: The Gold Coin Kid”

The Chicago Code Rewatch, Episode 5: O’Leary’s Cow

“The undercover guy, well, he never gets a second off. One slip-up could mean his life.”
— Jarek (voiceover)

The Chicago Code is not a cynical show. It is ultimately a tale of good and evil, cops and robbers, samaritans and thieves. It also has an optimistic view of its titular city, that it represents a higher ideal than the citizens who inhabit it. But The Chicago Code is also grounded in reality, and while it celebrates the great multicultural melting pot that is Chicago, it can also show what happens when cultures and ideologies clash. From a misunderstanding between a Chinese and a black community to a cop working undercover in a criminal organization, “O’Leary’s Cow” is about what happens when different people who have very different understandings of the world interact. Continue reading “The Chicago Code Rewatch, Episode 5: O’Leary’s Cow”

The Chicago Code Rewatch, Episode 4: Cabrini-Green

“They say you can never go home again. A truism for some, but me? I never left, not really.”
– Alderman Gibbons (voiceover)

Alderman Ronin Gibbons came from humble beginnings. He was raised in Cabrini-Green, a large public housing project in Chicago. At first, it was a peaceful place, but during the 1970s, it fell prey to crime and anomie, becoming a haven for graffiti, gangsters, and drugs. Seeing this breakdown of law and order, Gibbons made it his mission to one day tear down the project. Continue reading “The Chicago Code Rewatch, Episode 4: Cabrini-Green”