Episode Title: "Hog Butcher"
Writers: Patrick Massett & John Zinman
Director: Clark Johnson
Previously on "The Chicago Code":
Police Superintendent Teresa Colvin (Jennifer Beals) went on a personal crusade to clean up the corruption in Chicago and targeted a dirty Alderman, Ronin Gibbons (Delroy Lindo). Teresa attempted to recruit her old partner, Detective Jarek Wysocki (Jason Clarke) for an unofficial task force to take on Gibbons. Jarek also got a new partner named Detective Caleb Evans (Matt Lauria), who he found to be extremely sharp if a bit too obsessed with pop culture and movie questions. Elsewhere, Teresa was threatened by Sgt. Worthen after she publicly demoted him.
During Jarek and Caleb’s investigation of a woman that Gibbons had killed, they met Liam (Billy Lush), an undercover cop in the Irish mob trying to build a case against Gibbons. They found the shooter and the man who paid him, but Gibbons covered his tracks too well. Later that night, Teresa and her driver Antonio Betz (Manny Montana) were shot in an assassination attempt. Because Antonio insisted that she wear his bulletproof vest, Teresa survived. But Antonio wasn’t so lucky. Angered by the incident, Jarek finally accepted her invitation to start the task force against Gibbons.
In a flashback to the assassination attempt, Teresa recalls returning fire with the driver and the gunman before holding Antonio in her arms as he died. With one of their own dead, the Chicago PD canvas the streets and make numerous arrests to press the underworld until someone gives them a solid lead in the case. Teresa visits Antonio’s mother during his wake and the women embrace. Antonio’s mother make sure that Teresa knows how much he loved working for her. Alderman Gibbons also shows up to pay his respects, but Jarek and Teresa suspect that he was directly behind the hit.
While Gibbons tells Antonio’s mother why he gave up his vest for Teresa and how it will cost her his death benefits, Liam calls Jarek with a tip about a man at a bar bragging about the hit. At the same time, Jarek and Caleb wrap up their investigation of the crime scene and move out, but the man who was bragging — Colin Brady — can’t be linked to any crime without blowing Liam’s cover. Jarek and Caleb also locate the shooter’s car via a twitter reward offer and lay a trap for the killers to reclaim it by going on TV with the wrong description for the car.
When a young woman shows up for the car, they strong arm her into giving up her boyfriend Danny, who was wounded by the return fire of Teresa. Jarek and Caleb find him shortly before he dies, but he doesn’t give them anything. Danny’s girlfriend can’t believe that he would ever shoot a cop because that was what he wanted to be more than anything. Through her, they find a link to Sgt. Worthen, the cop who threatened Teresa shortly before the attempt on her life. Worthen rails on them when questioned, but when he realizes that Danny and his friend may have acted on his behalf, he shuts up and asks for a union representative.
Furious, Teresa barges in and demands that he tell them everything. Jarek pulls her out of the room and he explains that her approach is alienating the cops on the street. Cooled down, Teresa returns and gets Worthen to open up about the remaining shooter, Kyle Lynch. She also moves him to tears when she gets him to relate why he became so jaded as a cop. Meanwhile, Jarek’s niece Vonda Wysocki (Devin Kelley) and her partner Isaac Joiner (Todd Williams) hassle Colin Brady until they catch him a large stash of Oxycontin, narrowly missing Liam. But the bust does get them on the Organized Crime Unit.
When Jarek and Caleb move to arrest Kyle, they discover that Worthen beat them to him and "cleaned up his own mess." He allows Jarek to arrest him for murder without incident. Around the same time, a city budget officer warns Teresa that Antonio’s mother will be denied benefits unless a special exemption is granted by a panel run by Gibbons. After an official ceremony honoring Antonio, his mother angrily approaches Teresa with a lawsuit to get her son’s benefits. Teresa chides her for going about it the wrong way, but she then swallows her pride and asks Gibbons for help.
Across the city, Jarek steps into his old church and makes a prayer to God to find his brother’s killer so that he can take his life in revenge.
The first question that popped into my mind after this show was this: is Gibbons aware of the moves that Teresa is making against him? Because she seems oblivious to the way that he turned Antonio’s mother against her almost immediately. There’s no way that was a coincidence. He smelled the blood in the water and went for it very effectively. He’s actually a very good villain because he seems to be able to cloak most of his activities as being noble or beneficial. I still don’t want the storyline of his downfall to drag out for years and years, but it’ll be a pleasure to see him exposed as the man that he truly is.
It was also a nice twist that the small moment of Teresa dressing down Sgt. Worthen during the pilot was actually the driving force behind the assassination attempt. There was also some nice pathos when Worthen revealed that it wasn’t any single incident that made him apathetic… it was everything over the course of his career culminating upon him as an ongoing burden. It’s hard to root for a guy who then goes out and kills one of the young men he incited to murder. But he at least became a more sympathetic character than the fat cop caricature that he was in the first episode.
I generally like Teresa as a protagonist, but there were a couple moments when she really does come off as irritating. Particularly when she yelled at Jarek for violating her press window of silence even though his plan worked. Jarek’s patience in that scene probably showed us why he was a good partner for her. He took her BS and stayed calm long enough to bring her back to rational thought. We still haven’t even met Jarek’s 27 year old wife-to-be, but we now know that he’s buckling under the affair he’s having behind her back with his ex-wife. His prayer to find his brother’s killer was also revealing. He’s obviously still driven by that and I’d lay odds that we’ll get some closure on that possibly by the end of the season.
Vonda and Isaac are still pretty bland for my tastes and their storyline tends to take us away from the more interesting parts of the show. Caleb was better this week because every other word out of his mouth wasn’t a movie reference. Pop culture jokes are not a short cut to character, so hopefully the writers will remember that as we go on.
This episode wasn’t quite as strong as the first, but there’s a lot of potential on this series. It really could be the next great cop show we’ve been looking for.
Crave Online Rating: 8 out of 10.