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Review: ‘The Chicago Code’ – ‘Blackhand and the Shotgun Man’: Proof of life

A review of last night’s “The Chicago Code” coming up just as soon as I keep track of your energy drink consumption…

“Welcome to the family.” -Gibbons

“Blackhand and the Shotgun Man” was another episode where the central case itself wasn’t that interesting – in particular, I don’t feel like the story made the necessary transition from Romero the defiantly evil mastermind with no need for law-enforcement to Romero the guy willing to go to prison forever for the sake of his family – but where the personal material and arc stuff made up for that.

The highlight, as per usual, involved Alderman Gibbons, here working a number on Liam without realizing exactly who his new driver is. It was about time these two characters got put together, as it finally makes Liam feel like an essential part of the show, and the arson murder issue gives everything far greater emotional stakes than the familiar question of whether Liam’s cover will be blown. And I think Billy Lush’s nervous energy makes a great contrast to the smooth, calculated power of Delroy Lindo.

I also liked the subplot about Jarek’s dysfunctional personal life. It’s as much a cliche in its own way as the conception of Jarek as the good cop in the bad town, but it felt like there was a specificity to it in the way Jarek was simultaneously screwing up with his ex-wife, his fiancee and his partner (a relationship that’s often as close as that between spouses, if not closer), and Jason Clarke was very good throughout. That subplot also built well on the Jarek/Caleb scenes from last week(*), and it’s starting to feel like this partnership is really taking shape, as opposed to just being Batman and the Boy Wonder.

(*) Between the follow-up on that and Vonda and Isaac still on punishment detail for the gun incident, it’s clear that this episode was designed to air soon after last week’s. Last week’s, though, still fits uncomfortably into the chronology, even if Ryan, Minear and company decided after the fact that that’s where they wanted to place it.

I’m never a huge fan of cop shows where our local heroes immediately hate the feds (or vice versa), so I was glad to see Adam Arkin’s character turn out to be reasonable in the end. Arkin can be very professionally charming, and it certainly seems they’re setting up some kind of ongoing relationship between him and Teresa – even if it’s just two professional equals who enjoy flirting – which I would welcome.

What did everybody else think?

By Alan Sepinwall – Jarek and Caleb work a kidnapping, while Liam gets to know Alderman Gibbons

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