THE CHICAGO CODE 1.13 ‘Mike Royko’s Revenge’
Episode Title: "Mike Royko's Revenge"
Writers: Shawn Ryan & Christal Henry
Director: Lesli Linka Glatte
Previously on "The Chicago Code":
After months of preparation, Chicago PD Superintendent Teresa Colvin (Jennifer Beals) finally convened a grand jury against Alderman Ronin Gibbons (Delroy Lindo). Unfortunately, Teresa neglected to put a guard on her star witness, Ronnie Underwood, who attempted to flee town with his girlfriend. Teresa dispatched her most trusted detectives, Jarek Wysocki (Jason Clarke) and Caleb Evans (Matt Lauria) to find Ronnie. And to buy time, she revealed to the grand jury that she had an undercover cop in the Irish mob who could help them link Gibbons to organized crime. When word reached its way back to Gibbons, he used his leverage on Teresa's chief of staff to learn who the undercover cop was.
Meanwhile, the undercover cop in question, Liam Hennessey (Billy Lush) was ordered to find and kill Ronnie by his mob boss, Hugh Killian (Patrick St. Esprit). Liam was forced to kill his friend in order to save Ronnie, blowing his cover in the process. In a desperate bid to get the evidence needed to bring down Gibbons, Liam tricked Killian's daughter, Elizabeth (Shannon Lucio) into bringing him to Killian's financial records. But when Elizabeth learned the truth, she shot Liam (who wounded her in response) before Killian's men arrived and nearly beat Liam to death.
Jarek and Caleb arrived in time to save Liam, but he soon slipped into a potential coma. Later, a shaken Gibbons confronted Jarek and asked him to make the grand jury case go away in return for the truth about his brother's murder years ago. Jarek angrily told him to leave, but Gibbons promised to be in touch.
Jarek and Caleb check on Liam (now using his real name, Chris Collier) and learn that he still needs surgery to save his life. When Teresa's chief of staff has the nerve to ask about Chris' condition, she has him arrested for leaking Chris' identity to Killian and Gibbons. But then Gibbons makes his move and holds a press conference to accuse Teresa of having a sexual relationship with her murdered driver, Antonio and he calls for her to resign. With the tide turning against her, the mayor tells Teresa that she will "resign" if the case against Gibbons falters. Shortly thereafter, Jarek and Caleb find and arrest Elizabeth, using her as leverage to force Killian to take a deal.
Teresa has Gibbons' lover/personal assistant, Lily (Cynthia Kaye McWilliams) brought in for questioning, but Lily arrogantly refuses to answer and taunts Teresa before she leaves. At the same time, Jarek finds his ex-fiancee, Elena (Camille Guaty) booked for DUI asking for a favor. Jarek does get his friends to go easy on her, when he sees how devastated she is over her mother's terminal medical condition and their breakup. He also finds a photo waiting for him of Killian posing with Jarek's dead brother, Vincent. Incensed, Jarek confronts Gibbons about the photo and the Alderman urges him to get the truth from Killian himself.
At the hospital, Chris comes out of his coma and reiterates his willingness to testify against Killian and Gibbons. But Jarek insists that Teresa kill her deal with Killian so that he can interrogate him about his brother's death. When she refuses, Jarek angrily storms off. He ends up at Killian's hotel suite and holds a gun against his head for the truth. Unfortunately, Jarek doesn't like what he hears: Vincent was a dirty cop who helped the Irish mob contend with the Russian mob. And Killian insists that he didn't kill Vincent because he was their leg up on the competition. Caleb then arrives and makes it look like Killian called Jarek to invite him over. When Killian insists that Caleb act as a witness to his assault, Caleb simply states that he's Jarek's witness.
Across town, Gibbons secretly meets with Lily and tells her that they can't see each other again. In tears, she offers to do anything for him. Later, Lily shows up at the courthouse and murders Killian, effectively ending Teresa's case against Gibbons. Lily even gloats like a crazy person as she's led away. Meanwhile, Jarek and Caleb discover that Vincent stashed several incriminating files as insurance and they witness his video confession of what he had done. Back in the hospital, Chris convinces Teresa to strike a deal with Elizabeth to replace her father's testimony against Gibbons.
But even Elizabeth's turn is not enough. And just when it seems that Teresa will be forced to resign, Jarek bursts into the mayor's office with a file on Gibbons from his brother's papers. At a city consul meeting, Gibbons is about to call for a vote on whether to remove Teresa from her job when she and Jarek show up to arrest him in public. Gibbons' puppet reporter suggests that the move was in response to Teresa's ethics hearing and Gibbons vows to fight the charges. Teresa practically invites him to, but she tells him that his time in Chicago will be over before hers.
Jarek also summons his niece, Vonda (Devin Kelley) and his father to hear the truth about Vincent before it becomes public. When it's clear that Jarek himself has exposed Vincent's shady past, his father angrily tells him to leave. But Vonda embraces Jarek with tears in her eyes and tells him that she understands. At the hospital, Chris reunites with his family and Teresa finally decides to pursue a social life. Jarek even seems to have gotten back together with Elena. And somewhere in the prison system, Alderman Gibbons is left in his jail cell to contemplate what comes next.
I've already spoken at length about why it was a mistake to cancel "The Chicago Code," so for now I'm going to focus on this episode.
If Gibbons had gotten off over Lily's murder of Killian, I would have been really pissed off. It was really difficult to buy Lily's turn into a crazed lover who would throw her entire life away just to save Gibbons. I can almost buy it, but Lily was so cartoonishly crazy when gloating about it that she no longer resembled an actual person.
Despite that dip, this was still a strong, solid conclusion for "The Chicago Code." I was hoping for a little more resolution, but it's apparent that the producers were still hoping for a second season. At the very least, the last image we saw was Gibbons behind bars; which was really the only way it could have ended satisfactorily.
I initially scoffed at Gibbons' manufactured affair charges against Teresa, since they were so obviously made up out of desperation. But the seeds had actually been planted in the earlier episodes when Teresa had to go to Gibbons for help freeing up Antonio's police pension and when her previous chief-of-staff was exposed for corruption. That was a really smart piece of writing. It was also refreshing to see Gibbons actually coaching his puppet reporter with provocative questions for Teresa and then watch Jarek arrive just in time to call him out on it.
The one lingering mystery from the show is the identity of Vincent's killer. And yet it's somewhat fitting that we find ourselves in Jarek's position of being in the dark even though Vincent's reputation has been shattered beyond repair. Jason Clarke has been remarkably consistent on this series, but he turned up his intensity for Jarek's final case. Jarek Wysocki was one of the few characters on TV who was compelling from the very first episode of the series. And now that we're at the end, it's even more disappointing that we'll never see him again. Although, Jarek's last scene seems to suggest that he may have a future with Elena after all; which is a happy ending for him if true.
I was never quite as taken with Jennifer Beals' Teresa Colvin, She's been a strong character over the course of the show, but her focus on the job really prevented us from getting to know her on a deeper level. This episode went a long way towards rounding out her personal desires and showing us some of her personality outside of her job. Her final scenes also suggested that she might be in line for some personal happiness, had the show continued.
But of all of the performers on the show, Delroy Lindo is the one that deserves Emmy recognition. Alderman Gibbons was a terrific villain. Too many TV shows don't feature worthy adversaries, but Gibbons was almost always several steps ahead of the cops. That's why it was so thrilling to see him finally go down, at least for a while. Lindo was so good in the role that I expect him to land on another series very soon. And maybe next time, he should be the star of the show.
I really wish we could have gotten another season of "The Chicago Code." It's all too rare when we get a cop show as entertaining as this one. But sadly, one season is all that we got from Fox.
Crave Online Rating: 9 out of 10.