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Series / The Chicago Code

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"When my father pinned the Chicago P.D. badge on me, he told me to shake hands with the good citizens of this city using a velvet glove, but keep a razor blade hidden between your fingers for the ones who forgot their manners."
— "Pilot"

The Chicago Code is an American crime drama television series set, unsurprisingly, in Chicago. Follows Detective Jarek Wysocki, his new partner Caleb Evers, and Police Superintendent Teresa Colvin as they try to take down the Chicago Political Machine created by Alderman Ronin Gibbons. Other characters include Wysocki's niece Vonda, also a cop, and her partner Isaac Joiner as well as Liam Hennessey, an undercover cop in The Irish Mob.

Notable in that it was the first project in over 20 years to receive official support from the Chicago Police Department. The uniforms, insignia, and equipment used on the show are all authentic.

The show premiered on February 7, 2011 on FOX, and lasted only one season. However, it had good ratings when it aired in the US.

The Chicago Code contains examples of:

  • Bulletproof Vest: Every overt police officer wears one out in the field. Truth in Television. The real CPD is one of the few in the US that requires all its officers to openly wear vests due to their city's high rate of gun crime.
  • Broken Pedestal: Jarek's brother was on the take.
  • Cut Short: While the Gibbons arc was brought to a conclusion in the final episode, the mystery of who killed Jarek's brother was never resolved.
  • Didn't See That Coming: In "Gillis, Chase & Babyface," Teresa's chief of staff goes to Gibbons and solicits a bribe in exchange for becoming Gibbons' mole in the Superintendent's office. It's no surprise that Gibbons is recording the conversation, but who could have imagined that Gibbons would take the tape to the prosecutor and get the would-be mole indicted on corruption charges, just to embarrass Teresa in public?
  • Even Evil Has Standards: the drug boss in "Black Hand and the Shotgun Man" lets his wife and 7-year old son go into witness protection so his son won't grow up in the drug trade.
  • The Fettered: Though Wysocki seems like a typical Cowboy Cop, he's obsessed with the rules and doing things "the right way".
  • Fake Ultimate Villain: Doubly averted. In "Pilot," Gibbons does everything he can to drop hints that he rules the city because he's so ruthless. In the second episode, "Hog Butcher," though, we meet Hugh Killian and it seems Gibbons can barely keep the mob from killing him and Killian is the real Big Bad. Then, in the very next episode ("Gillis, Chase & Babyface") Gibbons plants kiddie porn in Killian's house, then has the cops raid the place and arrest him, then uses the threat of a prosecution for possession of child pornography as leverage to get back in control. At the end of the day, Gibbons is the Big Bad after all.
    • Also occurs in "Mike Royko's revenge" when Jarek learns that Killian didn't kill his brother.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: A requirement, as it's a network primetime show, but nicely lampshaded in that Jarek Wysocki (raised Catholic) takes a dim view of strong language and doesn't let people use it around him. However, this sets up the rather amusing scene of a hard-boiled cop objecting to his partner's use of "ass" and "screw you."
  • Heel–Face Turn: Killian's daughter is totally uncooperative until she learns that Gibbons had her father killed. She immediately turns state's evidence to get even.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Detective Jarek Wysocki who guns down a suspect, narrowly missing a fellow officer in the process.
  • Indy Ploy: In "Greylord & Gambat," to prevent Hugh Killian's Mooks from killing a grand jury witness, undercover cop Liam surprises the would-be assassin with a butcher knife to the gut and then brazenly fast-talks other mooks into running off on a wild goose chase, and then uses the faux emergency to trick Killian's accountant daughter into showing him where the secret ledgers are.
  • The Irish Mob, somewhat improbably for Chicago (which has been The Mafia since Al Capone)
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Antonio, mid-narration in the pilot.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Wysocki and Evers are given permission to take whatever case they want, both allowing them to always get the best cases and lampshading that the leads on cop shows always get the best cases.
  • Large and in Charge: Gibbons. (Delroy Lindo is 6' 4")
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Just when you're getting tired of the constant expository voiceovers in the pilot, it cuts off just as two characters are shot.
  • Mafia Princess: Killian's daughter, naturally. Unlike most examples, she is fully involved in her dad's activities, she manages his money.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Gibbons, with respect to the "unofficial mayor of Chinatown"—and quite a few other people
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Liam, in "O'Leary's Cow," when he sees a body being removed from the house he torched, and twice in "Black Hand and the Shotgun Man" when Gibbons takes him to meet the family of the arson victim and later when he realizes Gibbons knows he was the arsonist.
    • Hugh Killian, in "Gillis, Chase & Babyface," when he realizes it was Gibbons who planted the kiddie porn in his garage.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Although Jason Clarke does a reasonably good job with his Midwestern accent overall, there are occasional moments you can tell he's an Aussie. Some native Chicago reviewers have complained about this.
  • Police Brutality: Pretty heavy in the second episode, when the whole force is out hunting a cop killer.
  • Police Procedural
  • Prayer of Malice: Jarek Wysaki, encouraged by a nun to pray about his worries, responds by praying that God will give him a steady aim to kill his brother's murderer.
  • Refuge in Audacity:
    • Gibbons in "Gillis, Chase & Babyface"
    • How Jarek and Teresa get the brothel videos in "The Gold Coin Kid"
    • "Greylord & Gambat" is basically an hour of Liam doing this
  • Scenery Porn: The show is full of beautiful shots of Chicago.
  • Shout-Out: "Mike Royko's Revenge" makes more sense if you're familiar with the famous Chicago Tribune columnist.
  • Smug Snake: Gibbons in the final episode. Though to be fair, how WAS he supposed to know that Jarek's dead brother kept files on him?
  • Taking the Bullet
    • Antonio, for Teresa, in "Pilot"
    • Vonda does this for Moosekian, in a metaphorical sense, in "The Gold Coin Kid".
  • Under Cover Cop Reveal
  • Unique Pilot Title Sequence: "Pilot" used a simple title card with no theme music.
  • Video Wills: Jarek's brother left one, explaining why he had been a corrupt cop. He also leaves dirt on everyone, including Gibbons.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Gibbons goes through one throughout the entire final episode, culminating in his arrest.
  • Western Terrorists: The CPD investigates bombing attempts in Chicago in "Cabrini-Green" by the former leftist group, the Chicago Liberation Army (CLA).
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: the conflict between Teresa and Gibbons, especially in "Greylord & Gambat" and "Mike Royko's Revenge."
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: a major cause of employee turnover in Hugh Killian's organization