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'The Chicago Code' 1.09 'St. Valentine's Day Massacre' Advance Review

Brittany Frederick Brittany Frederick
April 15th, 2011 5:00pm EDT

Here's how good The Chicago Code is: I saw this episode last Friday and I'm still excited to talk about it.

The Chicago Code

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, she needs the case closed and fast. Thankfully, she's got her "best man" on the job, and his partner's no slouch either.

This episode continues The Chicago Code's streak of having great guest stars. This week it's Aldis Hodge, taking a break from playing Alec Hardison on Leverage. As a Leverage fan from the pilot, it was a little bit weird at first to see Aldis playing a villain, but he does a great job with the role. Not to mention that it's a much more complicated part than you might think. Normally, when a cop show casts a fairly well-known guest star, you can assume they're either the victim or the perpetrator. Once again, The Chicago Code has no patience for our cop show cliches. Did I mention I love how this show gives the proverbial middle finger to cliches yet? Because I really do.

There's also some great material here for Jason Clarke and Jennifer Beals, both separately and particularly together. The episode reminds us that while Teresa is Jarek's boss and the woman in charge, there's still that very close bond between them that comes from having been partners. Just because she got promoted over him didn't mean they stopped being friends. He looks out for her almost more than she looks out for herself. As I've said before, I am truly impressed with how the writers and actors have given us a strong, complex, honest friendship between a man and a woman that doesn't have to lead to something more. I think they have a real chemistry that would work romantically, but I'm more grateful for the depiction of a relationship that we don't see on TV very often.

In particular, Beals is on her "A" game (not that she's not normally, but particularly here) as Teresa comes under fire from all sides. Is she concerned about her job security? Yes. But Beals maintains Teresa as a strong woman, one who believes in herself and the people around her, and isn't sitting in her office hand-wringing and emoting over what she'll do if she gets fired. I've heard complaints at times about how TV doesn't write great female roles - this is a great female role, played by an experienced and talented actress.

Speaking of relationships, I've heard some feedback from viewers concerned about the one blooming between Vonda and Isaac at the end of last week's episode. You'll be happy to know that this episode handles it appropriately. It's not a relationship for relationship's sake - the show addresses the realities of their being together. If you've been looking for more of Isaac in general, Todd Williams sinks his teeth into their subplot, as well.  We'll see how it develops, but at least from this episode, I'm fine with the relationship. It doesn't take away from what is the best show currently on television.

As good as "Wild Onions" was, "St. Valentine's Day Massacre" might be even better. You can see it for yourself Monday at 9 PM ET/PT on FOX. And if you're a Chicago Code fan, check out the series fansite - ChicagoCodeFan.com.

Photo Credits: FOX