THE CHICAGO Code “Mike Royko’s Revenge” (Series Finale) Review

THE CHICAGO CODE “Mike Royko’s Revenge” Season 1 Episode 13 – Back in February, when this show premiered, I was very excited. The pilot offered a new twist on the cop procedural: strong acting, great directing and some quality writing. I indicated in my review that the show was not like Shawn Ryan’s previous cop drama The Shield, which was a monumental pioneering effort of subverting a genre. Instead, I likened it more to The Good Wife, which worked within the parameters of the genre yet worked so well.

Unfortunately the next few episodes dropped the ball a little, which often happens on new shows: I doubt anyone would call the second, third or fourth episodes of Alias its strongest, and I personally believe that the first few episodes after the pilot of The West Wing are among its worst, often drivelling with self-righteousness and false sentimentality. It’s difficult for a writer to go from hoping to get a pilot picked up to suddenly being thrust into a situation where they need to hire a writing staff, get a crew, settle on the tone of the show and start building episodes around the arc they’d envisioned for the series. Ultimtely The Chicago Code did not live up to the promise of its pilot.

But The Chicago Code really picked up in the last few weeks, as the case closed around Alderman Gibbons and in last night’s episode it delivered a fine season finale which happened to be its series finale. Personally, I think it worked really well as a series finale. Though I enjoyed the show, I did not fall in love with it. Maybe given a few more weeks I would have: I actually liked Vonda and Isaac’s pairing, despite the fact that it was probably the most rickety, tacked on bit of the show. I really liked the relationship between Wysocki and Evers and Wysocki and Colvin. I even grew to like Liam, who finally stopped acting like a cop undercover and became an undercover cop – those shifty eyes almost killed me in the first few episodes!

One thing I have to mention is that the show really utilized its location well, depicting Chicago in all its cold beauty through some of the best stylish directing on television this year.

Sure, there were a few things about this episode that screamed convenient: Wysocki’s father just so happened to have a box filled with Gibbons-incriminating material? Really? And where has he been all season-I wish the dynamic between Jarek, Vonda and Papa Wysocki had been given more (and I mean more as in any) attention, instead of wasting time with Wysocki’s insufferably clingy fiancé.

That Gibbons had such a hold over his secretary/ear nibbler that she would gun down the star witness against him is only believable because I know crazier things have happened, but it was still a moment which brought me out of the show. If they’d established more of a connection between the two, if they’d had a storyline with an arc in at least one episode it might have been a more powerful moment. Instead it was just Gibbons secretary gunning down Cillian, creating more problems with Wysocki.

I loved the fight between Wysocki and Colvin. If there’s one thing I appreciate, its conflict arising out of two disagreeing characters with motivations which make complete sense. Of course Wysocki wanted justice done for his brother. As soon as he got the photo you could just tell his mind switched gears and suddenly Gibbons was no longer a target, just a guy in information. With Colvin, whose entire career and, as Gibbons’ secretary pointed out, life was hanging in the balance, all that mattered to her was Gibbons. Sure, she was sympathetic to Wysocki, but like him she had developed tunnel vision. You could almost see the disappointment on Jennifer Beals’ face as Wysocki stormed away. It was like, “Really? After all this time you’re going to abandon me to the media and political snake pit knowing that this is a setup?” Of course The Chicago Code didn’t need to spell it out: it’s not half as dumb as me.

With Gibbons behind bars and Wysocki finding out his brother was a dirty cop, the show would have certainly been intriguing next year, but as a series finale this worked out pretty well. Colvin, sitting at a bar pretending to be a tourist at a convention in order to get some action was an inspired scene. Being the first female Chief of Police, with all of her sexual relationships up for front page grabs, strips her of an identity. Seeking justice in Chicago sucks.

What did you think of this episode? Did it work as a series finale? Sound off in the comments below.

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