‘The Chicago Code’ – ‘Gillis, Chase and Baby Face’: The bank jobs

Senior Television Writer
02.21.11 44 Comments

A review of tonight’s “The Chicago Code” coming up just as soon as I’m on the yearbook committee…

“How do we know anything about him? How do we know?” -Teresa
“We feel it.” -Jarek
Teresa and Jarek have to go on feel in deciding just how dangerous Ronin Gibbons is. By the end of “Gillis, Chase and Baby Face,” those of us at home have seen it first-hand.

And it is scary.

What a showcase for Delroy Lindo this week. Actually, what a showcase for all three leads this week – Jennifer Beals in particular in the scene where Teresa gets upset at how thoroughly Gibbons has played her, Jason Clarke when Jarek is getting upset over killing the guy – but after being a bit on the periphery last week, Lindo owned center stage tonight. Because we had seen him be so commanding in the previous episodes, it was striking to see him so nervous in his earlier meeting with Killian, and then as we got into the episode’s second half and all the dominoes started falling just the way Gibbons had set them up, Lindo got to show us just what true power can look like. Lindo was just so smooth and confident and commanding in that scene in Killian’s house that I really hope Shawn Ryan and company have a long-term plan(*) in place for keeping Gibbons convincingly, interestingly in play so we get to watch him work.

(*) Though given the ratings dip between week 1’s “decent but not spectacular, given the timeslot and promotion” and week 2’s “not far from what ‘Lie to Me’ was doing here” numbers, I don’t know that we should be worrying about the long-term just now. I know the FOX execs are fans of the show, but the numbers need to stabilize, if not rebound, I would think.

Beyond Gibbons thoroughly owning all he surveys, much of the hour was devoted to Jarek and Caleb investigating a bank robbery case – and, more interestingly, to how Jarek’s special status with Teresa is generating major friction between him and the rank-and-file.

That story reminded me of a lot of the cases on “The Shield,” in that the actual plot, the perps, etc. were essentially besides the point. I barely knew nor cared about the identity of the bad guy and whether he’d be caught, but the story held my interest because of what it had to say about the state of Jarek and Caleb’s partnership and about how the other cops are beginning to treat the two of them. And I loved – and was surprised by – the resolution. Jarek saving the life of the jerk who didn’t have his back in the earlier shootout is a familiar beat, but Jarek getting that angry about having had to kill a guy because of Moose’s earlier negligence felt unusual – and was, again, a terrific moment for Jason Clarke.

This was the last of the three episodes FOX sent out in advance (which means upcoming reviews will be on a more elastic schedule), but I can see why they wanted us to have this many, because this was damn, damn good.

A few other thoughts:

• I can’t decide if I’m disappointed or relieved that the show ducked the chance to do a full-on homage to the famous car vs. elevated train chase from “The French Connection” when Jarek and Caleb were following the robbers in the opening sequence.

• On the other hand, the scene with Liam witnessing the beatdown was so blatant a Scorsese homage that they even played The Shangri-Las’ “Remember” from the “Goodfellas” soundtrack. (Although the scene it reminded me of, also involving Billy Batts, used a different song. “Remember” comes a little later for poor Billy.)

What did everybody else think?

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