Worked With:

Ron Perlman


Jake McLaughlin


Seth Green


Antonio Banderas


Jason Clarke


Michelle Trachtenberg


Ed Asner


Mariska Hargitay


Jeremy Sisto


Laz Alonso

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The 11 Best From 2011

December 31st, 2011 11:00am EST
Southland
2011 was a fantastic year for entertainment. Here are my eleven favorite things from the year that's about to wrap, in chronological order...

1. Southland, TNT

(Season 3 began January 4)

I have to admit that I didn't keep up with TNT's gritty Los Angeles cop drama as much as I would have liked; it fell victim to sharing Tuesday nights with three other shows on my watch list. Yet when I did find time to catch it, I was no less than impressed every time.

There's been talk about the show's TV-MA content (allegedly the reason that NBC axed it), but the real talking point should be the st...
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Shawn Ryan Says 'Chicago Code' Won't Return

June 15th, 2011 6:09am EDT
The Chicago Code
The Chicago Code creator Shawn Ryan was the bearer of the worst possible news on Tuesday: the acclaimed police drama is officially dead.

"Exhausted the last network possibility to keep The Chicago Code alive," he Tweeted. "Unfortunately, the show won't be back. Thanks to all who watched."

That sound you hear is a collective cry of anguish from the show's legion of devoted fans, who had been campaigning since FOX cancelled the freshman series last month in the hopes that the net would reverse its decision or that another might strike a deal to spare it from the TV graveyard. Ultimat...
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Blu-ray Review/Interview: 'The Big Bang' Director Tony Krantz Talks Film Noir

May 26th, 2011 10:00am EDT
The Big Bang photo
Noir detectives, hot women who speak physics for pleasure and iconic actor Sam Elliott looking to pull back the curtain on God – is moviemaking great or what?! We’re taking a look at the new to DVD/Blu-ray stylish outing called "The Big Bang" (out now from the movie folks at Anchor Bay Entertainment!) starring Antonio Banderas as a private eye in search of a mysterious girl who gets a lot more then he bargained for. We review the flick and extras, followed by an insightful one-on-one Q&A with Director Tony Krantz – enjoy the alternative.

Title: "The Big Bang"

Grade: 4

Cast: Ant...
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The Chicago Code 1.13 'Mike Royko's Revenge' Review

May 24th, 2011 1:21am EDT
The Chicago Code
I knew I was going to be moved by the finale of The Chicago Code. I didn't expect just how much.

The show set up plenty of dominoes over the season, and in another display of its trademark efficiency, starts knocking them down within minutes. We learn that Liam/Chris isn't dead yet (just missing a spleen), Lieutenant Kelly is finally getting arrested for being a tool, and both Elizabeth Killian and not-so-innocent secretary Lily have been found. Things would be looking up for our heroes, if Alderman Gibbons wasn't on TV calling for Teresa's resignation, and privately trying to con...
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Farewell To 'The Chicago Code'

May 23rd, 2011 3:08pm EDT
The Chicago Code
Dear The Chicago Code,

Well, this is heartbreaking. Just two months ago, I was writing you a love letter. Now, it's time for us to say goodbye. I hope it's not forever, but I don't know, so I'm going to say everything right now, just in case.

You've really been spectacular. My disagreements with you have been minor at best. That's virtually unheard of, given how high I set my standards. But you and I have had a relationship that I haven't had with a TV show since Sports Night was axed eleven years ago. In my world, there's Sports Night and everything else; you're the first show I'...
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Saving 'The Chicago Code' - The Fans' Story, Part 2

May 23rd, 2011 12:00pm EDT
The Chicago Code
Last week, I brought you the exploits of devoted fans of FOX's The Chicago Code. This week, the story continues.

It's been about two weeks since The Chicago Code was axed, and as the initial furor has died down, some of the less fervent fans have moved on. Yet the die-hard fans are as dedicated as ever, perhaps even moreso because they know tonight will be the last we ever see of this series unless we continue to push for more.

For some, this is a nearly full-time campaign, and being dedicated to something so completely isn't without stress and strain. The day after I wrote my fir...
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'The Chicago Code' 1.12 'Greylord & Gambat' Review

May 17th, 2011 9:40am EDT
The Chicago Code
The cruel fate of The Chicago Code hasn't dampened my goodwill towards it. Possibly because this show was written and wrapped months ago, there's no sign of giving up or backing down.

I've mentioned previously how much I appreciate that this show hits the ground running, and it does: after giving us a quick, efficient catch-up on the events of last week's episode, we find out that Teresa's star witness has gone missing just before he's scheduled to testify, and Gibbons is now aware of the existence of a mole, though he doesn't know that it's Liam, who's being blatantly hit on by ...
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Saving 'The Chicago Code' - The Fans' Story

May 16th, 2011 11:10am EDT
The Chicago Code
FOX's The Chicago Code is an outstanding series. What's equally worth talking about are similarly great efforts of its fans to save it. It's my pleasure to bring you my insider's blog as the fans fight to bring The Chicago Code back.

Day 0

Late Tuesday, May 10, 2011, word leaked that The Chicago Code would be no more. FOX's decision to axe the drama came as a surprise; its ratings had gone up 7% just the night before, and with no shortage of critical praise, it had been considered the strongest of the network's "bubble" shows. Surprise quickly turned to anger for the show's devoted fan ...
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Dearly Departed: Eulogizing 'The Chicago Code' & 'Human Target'

May 11th, 2011 9:45am EDT
The Chicago Code
FOX, I'm not talking to you anymore. Not after you cancelled my two favorite series, The Chicago Code and Human Target.

No, this article is directed at the people still coming to terms with the network's decision to bring the hammer down on those two series Tuesday night. This is for the dismayed fans, for the casts and crews that are now in need of other jobs. I had the pleasure of working on both Code and Human Target for their entire runs. (In addition to fellow victim Lie To Me this season.) I wasn't just a critic, I was also a fan. I'm just as upset as the viewers, and I sure a...
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'The Chicago Code' Is Cancelled

May 10th, 2011 11:31pm EDT
The Chicago Code
Here's a shocker from FOX: it has said goodbye to The Chicago Code.

Alan Sepinwall broke the news (you can read his original article here) and it's been retweeted by Shawn Ryan, so this is for real. Despite Ryan's name behind it and considerable critical acclaim, the network has axed the promising Chicago drama starring Jason Clarke, Jennifer Beals, Matt Lauria and Delroy Lindo after only one season.

Allow me to step outside my critic's box for a moment: as a fan, the cancellation deeply upsets me. I haven't loved a show this much in a long time. Having to report this news is sho...
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'The Chicago Code' 1.11 'Black Sox' Review

May 10th, 2011 6:03am EDT
The Chicago Code
This week's The Chicago Code touches a subject I know all too well: hate crimes. When Lance Dolan, a prominent gay man, is murdered, it's a firestorm of a case. As tough as the idea is to tackle, the writers handle the material with class, and it's another solid episode from a show that's hardly missed a beat all season.

An episode about a hate crime contains sensitive subject matter by its very nature, and this one is no exception. Dolan's companion, who survived the attack, is a married man with a kid who's resistant to testify and risk destroying his family. In fact, that's wha...
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'The Chicago Code' 1.10 'Bathhouse & Hinky Dink' Review

May 3rd, 2011 1:04am EDT
The Chicago Code
Among the many things I love about The Chicago Code, one of the biggest is that it is never formulaic. While there's an individual story each week, it's more often than not just a springboard for the sprawling tale that the show really has to tell, with us uncovering new pieces every episode. This is one of those episodes. It starts simple enough, but it's not at all like it first appears. This is television at its smartest.

This week, after a city Waste & Sanitation official named Darren Wall sees his corruption trial end in a hung jury, the prosecuting attorney (Tamlyn Tomita, ...
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Interview: Shawn Ryan Takes Us Inside 'The Chicago Code'

April 18th, 2011 5:11pm EDT
Shawn Ryan
To the television world, Shawn Ryan is A Name. He's the critically acclaimed genius who brought us The Shield, The Unit and Terriers, did a season on Lie To Me, and used to write for Angel. They don't make resumes much cooler than that.

To me, he's the guy that I want to hug and thank profusely for creating The Chicago Code, my favorite television series of the season, and potentially one of my most favorite in a long time. It's the show that got me excited about TV again. Oh, and he once also validated my entire career. Shawn is one of those people who's got an open invitation to dr...
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'The Chicago Code' 1.09 'St. Valentine's Day Massacre' Advance Review

April 15th, 2011 5:00pm EDT
The Chicago Code
Here's how good The Chicago Code is: I saw this episode last Friday and I'm still excited to talk about it.

It's our most grisly case yet as Jarek and Caleb are assigned to a multiple murder in a restaurant not far from the location of - you guessed it from the title - the infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre. As if a few dead bodies weren't bad enough, Teresa is called out on live radio by an irate police officer, and then thrown under the bus on live television by the mayor (John Heard). As the police union rallies against her and the mayor looking for any reason to fire her, sh...
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A Catch-Up Guide To 'The Chicago Code'

April 10th, 2011 3:00pm EDT
The Chicago Code
FOX's The Chicago Code - my favorite show on television - returns tomorrow night at 9 PM ET/PT with the first of two all-new episodes. In case you're still trying to jump onboard (and what are you waiting for?) here's a primer on what you might have missed. (For more information about each episode, you can also consult my The Chicago Code reviews.)

The Chicago Code is anchored by the character of Teresa Colvin (played by Jennifer Beals of The L Word), a Windy City native who grew up witnessing corruption first-hand in her father's hardware store. Thus motivated, she went on to become...
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'The Chicago Code' 1.08 'Wild Onions' Advance Review

April 8th, 2011 6:00pm EDT
The Chicago Code
The Chicago Code is back, and it's different backdrop, same amazing storytelling.

I've said before how much I enjoy this show; I'm so impatient that these last two weeks of reruns have seemed way longer than that (though that didn't stop me from watching anyway). The fundamental reason why is that it's refreshingly free of BS - it's simply a fundamentally great television series. "Wild Onions" is a perfect example of that principle in action. Rather than sensationalizing itself, the script by Virgil Williams creates simple drama with the characters, and plays some damn fine emoti...
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My Love Letter To 'The Chicago Code'

March 22nd, 2011 10:00am EDT
The Chicago Code
Dear The Chicago Code,

I love you. More than I ever expected to. You came along at just the right time - when I needed something to get me excited about TV again after the season (series?) finale of Human Target - and you made me fall for you. Now I'm to the point where I know you're on tonight and I'm actually impatient for you to get here. More than I am for Chuck or Hawaii Five-O, despite my soft spot for Alex O'Loughlin. Why do I love you so much? Well, let me count the ways.

You know I love crime dramas. Always have, as far back as I can remember. And you? Are one smart, unapo...
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'The Chicago Code' 1.07 'Black Hand and the Shotgun Man' Review

March 22nd, 2011 7:22am EDT
The Chicago Code
Who doesn't love busting a major drug dealer? Certainly not Jarek Wysocki, who gets to lead a task force to do just that this week. Because he's Jarek, this takes all of six minutes. (I certainly don't want to see him coming at me with a gun.) This only leads to bigger questions: can they keep him, can they fend off the FBI, and most importantly, can they rescue his kidnapped son? Basically, this episode of The Chicago Code starts where most other crime dramas would end.

I'd call this episode the most familiar of the season, but I mean that as a compliment, because it proves that e...
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'The Chicago Code' 1.03 'Gillis, Chase & Babyface' Review

February 22nd, 2011 7:05am EST
The Chicago Code
The Chicago Code certainly doesn't start soft. This week, we're thrown right into a bank robbery, onto a train and led to the dead body of one of the perpss, all within the first four minutes. This is before we revisit the political demands of Teresa's job and Liam's undercover pressures. Seven minutes in, a guy's getting beaten. I, for one, love this kind of show, the type that forces the audience to hit the ground running and hang on for the ride. We clamor for smarter television every day; well, here it is. Now watch it.

Jarek brings Teresa another bit of information from Liam: a...
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'The Chicago Code' 1.02 'Hog Butcher' Review

February 15th, 2011 10:16am EST
The Chicago Code
When done right, episodes of police dramas about cop shooters or killers are, by their very nature, some of a series' best. I remember being rocked by Homicide: Life on the Street's "Fallen Heroes" two-parter in 1998, and by Cold Case's "Officer Down" just the other day. When I think of those shows, I'm going to think of those episodes. And so it is with "Hog Butcher," the second episode of the so far stellar Chicago Code.

The episode picks up from the pilot's most shocking twists: the death of Teresa's driver and bodyguard, Antonio, who laid down his life to protect hers. Within mi...
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'The Chicago Code' 1.01 'Pilot' Review

February 8th, 2011 9:24am EST
The Chicago Code
The pilot episode of The Chicago Code doesn't simply avoid cliches, but pretty much laughs in the face of them - and that's why I like this series.

In this first installment - which breaks from the tradition of most opening hours being substandard and filled with exposition - we're introduced to a pair of fascinating characters brought to life by magnetic performances. The first is Teresa Colvin (Jennifer Beals, and if you still associate her with Flashdance, you've got another thing coming), who has just months earlier been named the first female Superintendent of Police in Chicago...
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Interview: Jennifer Beals Comes Home For 'The Chicago Code'

February 7th, 2011 4:23pm EST
The Chicago Code
Tonight FOX premieres the highly anticipated new drama series The Chicago Code. In anticipation of the debut, I sat down with series star Jennifer Beals, who plays Teresa Colvin, to talk about what it's like to play the first female Superintendent of Police in her native city, what she saw while preparing for the role, and what sets the Shawn Ryan drama apart from other cop shows.

The role of Teresa Colvin is so delightfully complex that I don't even know where to start with her. What attracted you to this part?

I found it so interesting to play somebody who was walking into unchar...
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Brittany's TCA 2011 Blog: FOX - 'Chicago Code,' 'American Idol,' 'Terra Nova,' & More

January 12th, 2011 12:00pm EST
Chicago Code
FOX had its Television Critics Association presentation Tuesday, and from my front-row (literally) seat, I confirmed what I felt has been the case for awhile: while the network has consistently strong dramas, it still needs to find some reliable comedies - at least when it comes to ones that aren't animated.

Here's how the day played out:

The Chicago Code

The highlight of my day was easily the presentation for Shawn Ryan's new drama, The Chicago Code (premiering February 7). Given Ryan's pedigree as the creator of The Shield, The Unit and the recently axed Terriers, the buzz - and the ex...
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The Best and Worst of John Travolta

December 4th, 2008 11:43am EST
John Travolta
In recent years, it's become hip to pick on John Travolta for his movie choices. It's strange, considering not many actors can say that they've starred in three truly iconic films (see numbers 1, 3, and 6 on the "best" list). He's also achieved longevity that many actors can only dream of, due in large part to his genuine, "good guy" persona. So, sure, he's made some bad films. Who hasn't? His good movies still outnumber the bad ones.

Since John is putting on the dog in the new animated hit, "Bolt," we thought it would be a good time to take a look at some notable films from Travolta's...
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NAACP Points Out Lack of Diversity on TV

June 15th, 2006 1:33pm EDT
Dennis Haysbert stars in drama The Unit
According to the NAACP, with the cancellation of the Bernie Mac Show, for the first time in recent history, there is not a comedy with an African-American lead character left on the big four networks. When it comes to returning sitcoms and the announced new comedies, African Americans are missing in action.

While the genre is not as popular as it once was, there is not a shortage of sitcoms on the schedule. Out of the nearly 20 sitcoms on network television this fall, it is unconscionable that there is not an African American lead among them.

When you take into account the recent...
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NBC Announces 2006-07 TV Schedule

May 15th, 2006 11:32am EDT
Jeffrey Tambor to star in 20 Good Years
NBC is loading its new 2006-07 primetime schedule with six new dramas and four new comedies. Highlights of the upcoming season include two previously announced new dramas: "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" (Thursdays, 9-10 p.m. ET), which offers an insider's take on the backstage drama of a late-night comedy sketch show, and "Kidnapped" (Tuesdays, 9-10 p.m. ET), a high-stakes, serialized thriller about a teenaged boy's kidnapping, starring Jeremy Sisto and Delroy Lindo.

Also new are the dramas "Friday Night Lights" (Tuesdays, 8-9 p.m. ET) -- inspired by the hit feature film that conveys...
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Timothy Hutton & Dana Delany To Star in 'Kidnapped'

March 17th, 2006 12:33pm EST
Timothy Hutton to star in Kidnapped
NBC has given an early fall 2006-07 series order for 13 episodes of the new drama Kidnapped. The series is a high-stakes serialized thriller in which the teenage son of a wealthy Upper East Side family (Timothy Hutton and Dana Delany) is kidnapped and everyone is a suspect. The series focuses on the elaborate, triangulated game between the kidnappers, law enforcement, FBI, and the private negotiating team of the "perhaps" not-so-picture-perfect family.

On a rainy New York morning, the picture perfect existence of Conrad Cain (Hutton), a self-made millionaire with a long list of enemies...
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