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Mondays aren't the same without 'The Chicago Code'

Mondays used to be cool, when they meant new episodes of FOX’s The Chicago Code. This was the best cop drama to come along since The Shield—appropriate because it was the brainchild of The Shield‘s creator, Shawn Ryan. Featuring Jason Clarke (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) and Jennifer Beals (The L Word) as fearless Chicago cops determined to fight crime and corruption in the Windy City, Chicago Code never reached the heights of The Shield, but it came pretty damn close.

This was the cop show for people who loved cop shows, because it delivered the good guys vs. bad guys brawl with gusto. At the same time, it was also the cop show for people who complain about too many procedurals, since it was a procedural in the same way that Survivor is a travel program. Chicago Code wasn’t about the case of the week; it was a story about the city of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department, masterfully acted by an ensemble of people who should be household names, and with writing that stepped on the gas from the end of the pilot episode onward. By the time we got to episode 13, you were lucky if you still had fingernails.

If you missed the series when it aired four years ago, we’ll break it down for you: Teresa Colvin (Beals) becomes the first female Superintendent of the Chicago P.D. and decides that she’s going to clean up the place. To be the James Bond to her M, she recruits her old partner, Jarek Wysocki (Clarke), who drags along his new partner, fresh-faced Caleb Evers (Matt Lauria, Friday Night Lights).

They get some help from the patrol cops, most notably Jarek’s niece, Vonda (Devin Kelley, Resurrection), and her partner, Isaac Joiner (Todd Williams). But they square off against a powerful city alderman with the awesome name of Ronin Gibbons (the equally awesome Delroy Lindo) and his henchman, Liam Hennessey (Billy Lush). This show was so intense that even its promos were cool. Video:

What was brilliant about The Chicago Code was that it was tough. Legitimately tough, not the “we’re going to gratuitously kill and/or torture somebody so you think we’re tough” of many a TV show past. This show had an air of strength about it, which can be credited primarily to the performances of Clarke and Beals, who from the start felt like they owned the place. When they said something, even as an audience member, you listened. When they did something, they never did it halfway. And when their characters threatened somebody, you knew they meant it. Jarek Wysocki and Teresa Colvin were characters you didn’t want to mess with and couldn’t take your eyes off of.

They were backed up by a tremendous supporting cast; there wasn’t a weak link in the bunch, even though there was only one major name on the list (in Lindo, who played Gibbons as a worthy opponent that you just begged to see taken down). Lauria was often a stand-in for the audience as Caleb came into Jarek’s world, providing a counterpoint to his partner’s emphatic enthusiasm. Kelley and Williams didn’t settle for just playing line cops; they got the most out of their characters. Lush, too, was a surprise in more ways than one. Even the smaller players were great, particularly Manny Montana (Graceland) and Warren Kole (The Following) as fellow CPD officers. Everywhere you looked, everybody brought their A-game.

Why wouldn’t they? With The Chicago Code, Ryan wasn’t out to replicate The Shield. He created an entirely new universe that was just as rich, and a story that could’ve been just as brilliant if it had been allowed to keep going. Characters were complicated; sometimes you loved them, sometimes you wanted to punch them in the face, but you could always grasp their actions. You’d bristle and cry and feel the heat right along with them. The plots honestly kept you guessing as to what would happen, because nothing was for certain and no one got the easy way out. One thing would come together and something else would fall apart. Chicago Code truly made you feel like you were in the trenches with these characters as they were fighting their war, and you desperately wanted them to win.

Unfortunately, while Jarek and Teresa took down many a criminal, they couldn’t stand up to FOX, which pulled the plug on the series after just one season. For me, this remains one of the most disappointing cancellations in television history. With excellent writing from one of TV’s best minds, formidable performances from an all-around great cast, and a story that reached well beyond your ordinary cop show, The Chicago Code was brilliance that just needed to be recognized. Every Monday night, it is still very much missed.

The Chicago Code is available on Amazon Instant Video.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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