Chicago Code – “Bathhouse and Hinky Dink”: The trashman cometh

After a week off, Chicago Code came blazing back last night with an episode heavy on the show’s ongoing, more serialized components.  Theresa’s pursuit of Alderman Gibbons is a hook that was set in the pilot episode, and while we’ve seen her and Jarek slowly move towards that goal on other episodes this season, this was the first time it felt like they were taking really significant steps.

Steps may even be underselling it a little bit.  At the episode’s start, Theresa still had little more than her suspicions (remembering off course that this being Chicago, smoke always means a cow-started fire) of Gibbons to go on, yet by episode’s end the DA is putting in motion a full grand-jury investigation into the crooked alderman.  All the pieces are starting to move into place for what should be a fantastic showdown, and if I’m not mistaken Gibbons will prove to be a lot more slippery than our CPDers (you know they say coppers on the show, and I started to write coppers here… and it just didn’t look right- like I was suddenly channeling a bad Al Capone impersonator) could imagine.

After being absent in the last episode, it was a welcome return for Delroy Lindo as Alderman Gibbons.  Lindo does such a great job capturing that character’s greasy charm, and he really plays up the opaque nature of Gibbons as well.  We’ve seen on other occasions that parts of Gibbons truly are altruistic, that he does give a damn about the people he represents, and in the first scene between him and Theresa I briefly hedged on whether he was helping her because it was the right thing to do, or because he was looking out for himself… and of course it turned out he was absolutely looking out for himself, as it seems the newest guy that Jarek had sunk his teeth into was the link between Killian and Gibbons.

This week we also got a lot of material with Liam, our undercover cop.  It’s largely through his efforts that the case gets advanced so rapidly, and the writers did a great job playing up the tension of whether or not he’d been made.  This episode made prominent use of the flashback/narration device they’ve gone to every so often on this show, this time to flesh out Liam (or I guess its Chris, isn’t it), and also to fill us in on how Jarek’s brother died.

It’s in this that we finally understand why Jarek brings so much raw emotion to his interactions with Liam.  Jarek’s brother had been an undercover detective for the CPD when he was made and summarily murdered, and Jarek can’t help but conflate Liam’s situation with his brother’s.  He’s trying to right long-gone wrongs, as if by being the cop version of a helicopter-mom to Liam and his operation, he can somehow absolve himself of how he feels about his brother.  A very nice dimension to Jarek, and Jason Clarke played the hell out of it.

A great table-setter of an episode for what should prove to be an exciting ride for the remainder of this first season.  I’m not sure what the cancellation/renewal situation looks like for Chicago Code (I’m pretty sure it hasn’t officially received a second season), but hopefully Shawn Ryan and company will be able to balance wrapping the story in case this is it, and preserving an ongoing sense of momentum in case it’s not.  I suppose he should have some practice in this area from Terriers, right?  (too soon.  way too soon for me to be making Terriers jokes.  dammit.)

Oh, and before you say anything, I know I didn’t mention the Vonda/Issac B-story.  I continue to deny that anything to do with those characters exists, and maybe if I do so long enough the writers will stop wasting precious airtime that could instead go to Gibbons lecherously looking at his secretary’s underwear.  I’ll take creepy and weird over boring and poorly written every single time.

(photo credit, FOX)

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