Shawn Ryan on how ‘Ride-Along’ became ‘The Chicago Code’

Senior Television Writer
10.27.10 26 Comments


On last week’s Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, Dan and I talked with producer Shawn Ryan about whether “Terriers” had been hampered at the start with a name that, as Shawn put it, made some people think it was a reality show about dogfighting. The key, he said, was to find a title that intrigues viewers, and he feared that “Terriers” just wound up confusing people.

“Terriers” was one of two new shows Shawn has for this season. The other is a mid-season drama for FOX, initially called “Ride-Along,” starring Jennifer Beals and Jason Clarke (from “Brotherhood”) as a pair of Chicago cops (she’s the new superintendent, he’s a detective) trying to clean up a corrupt department and city. So when I heard that “Ride-Along” had been rechristened “The Chicago Code,” I immediately wondered if the “Terriers” experience had scared him and/or the executives at FOX into a title change.

Not the case, he told me by e-mail.  Rather, the plan was to emphasize that the show was as much about the city as its police force.

“This isn’t tied to the ‘Terriers’ experience at all,” he wrote. “The network and I have been discussing a name change since before ‘Terriers’ premiered. Ultimately, we wanted something with Chicago in the title and something that implied an experience of more than just another typical cop show. Hopefully this will work. I think the title works well in the ads that Fox has ready to run. Don’t know why titles never come easy on my show (‘The Shield’ was a very late choice after ‘The Barn’ and ‘Rampart,’ ‘The Unit’ was forever debated by CBS, ‘Terriers,’ and now this).”

Regardless of what it’s called – and Shawn said on Twitter they didn’t want to use “The Chicago Way” because it would be ripping off his friend (and former “Unit” partner) David Mamet’s “Untouchables” script – “The Chicago Code” was one of the strongest network pilots I saw over the summer, and should be well worth your time when it debuts after “House” in January.

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