Episode Title: "St. Valentine's Day Massacre"
Writer: Christal Henry
Director: Michael Offer
Previously on "The Chicago Code":
Bowing to pressure from Detective Jarek Wysocki (Jason Clarke), Chicago PD Superintendent Teresa Colvin (Jennifer Beals) finally assigned a new driver to protect her, Officer Ray Bidwell (Warren Kole). During one of the hottest days in years, Jarek's partner Detective Caleb Evans (Matt Lauria) became emotionally invested in a young boy whose father was murdered while selling ice cream. After Jarek called in a few favors from a C.I., the two detectives were able to capture the killer. But Caleb was openly upset about sending the boy into foster care.
Meanwhile, undercover cop Liam Hennessey (Billy Lush) went to work for Alderman Ronin Gibbons (Delroy Lindo) for the day with his Irish mob buddy. When Liam noticed an elderly woman passed out from the heat, he broke into her home to save her life. This earned Liam the suspicion of his friend in the mob. But Gibbons was impressed by his initiative and offered him a "no show" city job that may finally help the cops bring down the corrupt Alderman.
During an appearance on a morning radio show, Teresa is assailed by an "anonymous" cop who attacks her policies and embarrasses her on the air. But before she can offer a rebuttal, she is called away to a multiple murder in a local restaurant. As Teresa asks Bidwell to figure out who the anonymous cop was, she reflects to herself that the "St. Valentine's Massacre" of the '20s cost her predecessor his job. And the latest murder spree is an equally brazen shooting of five men in the middle of a restaurant. However, only five of the seven men showed up for their reservation.
In the wake of the murders, Mayor McGuinness puts Teresa under the metaphorical bus and he tells the press that if she can't control the streets he'll replace her with someone who can. Meanwhile, Jarek and Caleb track down one of the men who didn't show up at the fatal lunch, who then relates that the slain men were small business owners in bad neighborhoods who were attempting to break free from the protection racket of Wayne Luckett. At first, the cops make Luckett for the murder, but they soon find that he suffered a severe aneurysm three days ago in prison and he is now brain dead.
The cops soon turn their attention to Luckett's son, Dion, who happens to be a known gangster. To find him, they track down his sister, Bernadette, a court clerk for a notoriously anti-police judge. To pile it on even further for Teresa, the police union representatives attempt to stage a no confidence vote to help push her out the door. Jarek is vigorously defensive of her and he punches out a cop who suggests that Jarek slept with her while they were partners. He even threatens to leave Caleb by the side of the road when he briefly assumes that Caleb won't support Teresa in the vote.
Later, Caleb and Jarek set a trap for Dion and catch him attempting to shake down another shop owner. To their astonishment, Dion seems genuinely surprised by the restaurant murders and the news about his father's condition. While Jarek is baffled, Teresa points out that Bernadette may be the real power behind the gang. The cops soon cut Dion loose and as expected, they follow him straight to his gang and arrest them for the shootings. Teresa and Jarek also realize that Bernadette has been leaking info to the gang to keep witnesses from testifying against them.
Dion quickly makes bail, but he gets into a fight with his sister which allows the cops to arrest both of them. Teresa, Jarek and Caleb speak to Bernadette first, and she offers up her own brother to them because he is "worthless." Realizing that Dion would run the gang into the ground due to his incompetence, Teresa and Jarek show him the tape of Bernadette insulting him and they convince him to help talk one of the gang members into implicating her. Teresa then calls a press conference and announces the arrests shortly before the police union meeting.
At the meeting, Teresa's initial words go over poorly until she relates a more personal connection with the cops on the street and her desire to clean up Chicago. In the end, she wins the no confidence vote with a 54% margin. It saves her job for the moment, but almost half the cops on the force are now opposed to her tenure.
I often hear complaints that there aren't enough really well written TV series on the air, but I have to wonder if people are really looking that hard. In just the first four months of the year, we've had three great new series debut: "Lights Out," "The Killing" and of course, "The Chicago Code."
We've already lost "Lights Out" to poor ratings and I'm a little unnerved that Fox is promoting the next four episodes of "The Chicago Code" as the "Final Four." If "Human Target" comes back and "The Chicago Code" doesn't, I'm gonna be really pissed off.
Because "The Chicago Code" is the kind of show that made me a TV fan. The characters are sharply defined, the stories are well crafted and it seems to have found a good balance between stand alone episodes and the overall season arc. That sounds simple, but the majority of television programs can't even master one of those qualities.
It's understandable why Teresa is so unpopular with the cops under her command. She's kind of hard to like as a character, but I believe that's by design. Teresa really is committed to justice, almost to the exclusion of all other factors. She doesn't seem to be too concerned about whether the rank and file officers like her or whether the mayor will support her. And that's why she almost went down in this episode even without Alderman Gibbons pulling the strings. In short, she's a great cop but she's not very good at playing the political game. On the other hand, Gibbons is a master of politics and it was odd that he didn't show up in this episode to capitalize on Teresa's moments of weakness.
Regarding the accusation against Jarek that he Teresa slept together while they were partners, I can almost believe that they did. There's a closeness between them that seems more intimate than just friendship. That said, I can also buy Jarek as simply a firm believer in Teresa and what she's trying to do. It's usually not a good idea for characters to say exactly what they mean, but Jarek's declaration of respect for Teresa was actually moving. His overzealousness towards her almost cost him his partner in an amusing aside when he tried to dump Caleb.
Speaking of sleeping with partners, there was a subplot with Jarek's niece Vonda Wysocki (Devin Kelley) and Isaac Joiner (Todd Williams) giving a deposition about whether Isaac brutalized a suspect during a domestic abuse arrest. The "Rashomon" effect of seeing the same scene three times from different perspectives worked the first two times, but it got old by the third time. I did grow to hate Anna Chase, the lawyer who led the deposition against them. I almost didn't recognize the actress, Cathy Cahlin Ryan from "The Shield," but she did really well in the bit part. I hated her because we were supposed to hate her, but she did seem sincere in her distaste for cops and authority.
I'm also enjoying the grey morality that Teresa and Jarek sometimes employ to get the job done. They never go as far as Vic Mackey from "The Shield." But there's something darkly hilarious about the fact that they let Dion take over his family's gang because they know he's not going to be able to make it work like his father or sister. Even Jarek's line that Dion was the leader "because my gang says that he is" was a good joke just by itself.
Bottom line, "The Chicago Code" is one of the best shows on TV, period. If you don't watch it now, you may regret it when we lose another show to premature cancellation.
Crave Online Rating: 9 out of 10.