Episode Title: "O’Leary’s Cow"
Writer: Kevin Townsley
Director: Clark Johnson
Previously on "The Chicago Code":
Chicago PD Superintendent Teresa Colvin (Jennifer Beals) went on a crusade to clean up corruption in the city’s highest offices. Towards that end, she recruited her ex-partner Detective Jarek Wysocki (Jason Clarke) and his new partner, Detective Caleb Evans (Matt Lauria) to lead an unofficial task force to investigate Alderman Ronin Gibbons (Delroy Lindo). Despite some excellent police work, Gibbons has remained several steps ahead of them. He also tied Teresa to a public scandal when her Chief of Staff solicited a bribe from him.
More recently, a young gang recruit was sent to possibly kill Gibbons. But he managed the situation so deftly that his would-be-attacker gave up the name of the man who put him up for the hit. Unsurprisingly, the man turned up dead a short time later without leaving a trail back to Gibbons.
On their day off, Jarek and Caleb play softball with their fellow officers before getting called in on a brutal crime scene in Chinatown. A black teenager collapsed and died in a firehouse with his hand having been chopped off. Although the cops initially assume that the kid was a gangbanger, it turns out he was simply passing out church pamphlets. From Jarek’s angry tone and a tip from his fellow officers, Caleb learns that Jarek is used to his cases in Chinatown hitting a wall of silence from the community. A local business may have captured the crime on tape, but only the approval of Chairman Lao — Chinatown’s unofficial mayor — will give them the footage.
Elsewhere, Teresa spends time with her sister Amy and her brother-in-law, Robert (Rockmond Dunbar) who urges her to look into possible illegal activity at parking lot run by the competitors of a friend of his. Teresa then meets up with Jarek and goes to Lao seeking his assistance. Jarek is angered when Lao doesn’t seem to remember that they crossed paths years earlier over an unsolved murder investigation, but Lao says he will cooperate. Meanwhile, Officer Isacc Joiner witnesses some Irish mobsters running a possible arson scam and informs Jarek. In turn, Jarek berates his undercover cop, Liam Hennessey (Billy Lush) for not bringing him the info first and urges him to get in deeper.
On their next visit to Lao, he gives them the security footage and insists that it malfunctioned and captured nothing. Jarek angrily reminds him that the same thing happened to a double homicide he investigated in Chinatown three years ago and insinuates that Lao is obstructing justice. Jarek and Caleb then visit Daniel, the man whose wife and child were killed in the aforementioned case. He tips them off that elderly Chinese women returning from casinos have been targeted by black gang members, explaining why the killers thought the church kid was a thief. Meanwhile, Teresa brings in Gibbons, who strong arms Lao into offering more assistance.
Robert visits Teresa at her office and he is oddly insistent that she investigate the parking lot immediately. In response, she visits his friend Nick, who runs the rival parking lot. To her surprise, she learns that Robert took a $50,000 payment to gain access to her. Teresa angrily tells him that she’s not for sale and that Robert will pay him back. When Teresa confronts Robert in front of Amy, he says that he already spent the money. Amy tries to emotionally blackmail Teresa into saving Robert and covering up his crime, but she refuses. She gives him an ultimatum to turn himself in to the FBI or she’ll do it herself. Elsewhere, Jarek and Caleb recruit a female desk cop named Wu to help them catch the casino robbers. The sting works beautifully and in return, Lao gives up the killers of the black teenager.
But because Jarek expected a double cross from Lao, he’s ready when Lao orders his men to eliminate the killers and catches him in a conspiracy to commit murder. Lao offers to make a deal for the killers of Daniel’s family in exchange for a lenient sentence, which Jarek reluctantly agrees to. But it turns out that Lao quietly had the man responsible killed years ago, leaving Daniel satisfied and Jarek stunned. Meanwhile, Liam gets his in with the arsonists and is ordered to burn down a house himself. Unfortunately, he later sees that someone died in the house… making him a murderer.
At the FBI, Robert arrives with Amy to turn himself in, while both of them stare daggers at Teresa. And in his office, Gibbons explains to Lao’s top lieutenant that he was the real power behind Lao… something that Lao arrogantly forgot. However, the lieutenant vows to take the lesson to heart as the new unofficial mayor. Later, Liam tells Jarek that he was accidentally roped into killing a man in that fire and he wants out. Instead, Jarek suggests that he stay and get revenge on the men who got blood on his hands.
In just five episodes, "The Chicago Code" has quickly become not only one of the best cop shows currently on TV, it’s also one of the best series period. It’s hard to remember another series that can successfully juggle three unrelated plotlnes, but each storyline was effective and added to the tapestry of the show.
Prior to this episode, I hadn’t realized just how personally Jarek seems to take his cases. He was obviously committed to the job, but the level of anger and regret he carries regarding Daniel’s unsolved case suggests that he’s more invested than he sometimes seems. He even took the deal with Lao just to get Daniel some closure. In part, that made the conclusion somewhat stunning for Jarek because Lao had already dispensed his own faulty justice on the killer. It was a smart move to leave the dialog between Lao and Daniel untranslated, since it left us in the dark just like Jarek. But I’d love to know what was said in that room.
Teresa finally came into her own this week thanks to her brother-in-law’s antics. Teresa’s closeness to her sister’s children seems to fill the void she has from her own lack of family. And Amy’s attempt to cut off Teresa from the kids if she didn’t get Robert off was truly despicable, especially coming from her sister. I actually admire Teresa’s refusal to back down and it demonstrated that she’s no push over. This was a story that we needed to see for her character to truly emerge the way Jarek has. And the show delivered.
Delroy Lindo also keeps knocking it out of the park as Gibbons. It was interesting to see him use his commanding presence for a good cause this time, even if he was ultimately the power behind the villain once again. It’d be nice to see Gibbons deal with someone he couldn’t handle as easily as he did Lao, but it further underscored his control of the city. He’s such a great villain that I’ll miss him when he eventually goes down.
The Liam story was a little weak at first until it became clear that his crime was used to either cover up a murder or pin one on him. The question now is who set him up and who died in that fire?
If you enjoy cop shows at all, you have to check out this series. "The Chicago Code" has the makings of the next great TV show, if only more people will watch it.
Crave Online Rating: 8.5 out of 10.