The Chicago Code’s Jennifer Beals: arresting

Holy crap! They pack a lot of action into The Chicago Code. I’m trying to blog about it and watch it at the same time. Can’t be done, so I’m typing during the commercials

The mid-season Fox police drama is from Shawn Ryan, the impressive writer/executive producer behind The Shield and the short-lived FX critics’darling Terriers. Ryan packs a cable intensity into The Chicago Code. In tonight’s episode, “Gillis, Chase and Baby Face,” there are car chases, L-train chases, foot chases–I’m winded just watching and that was all in the first 15 minutes.
Jason Clarke’s Det. Wysocki is shaping up to be the fearless action hero of this deal, the Jack Bauer of the Windy City. The street savvy career cop charges into danger protected only by his wits and conviction. His cop buddies don’t trust him and barely have his back. They feel he’s too cosy with the boss, Chicago police superintendent Teresa Colvin (Jennifer Beals). She’s got her own problems fending off a corrupt city politician (played by the always formidable Delroy Lindo).

The Chicago Code is not groundbreaking drama. Many of the plot lines could have surfaced in the ’80s on Hill Street Blues–tensions on the police force, corruption among city officials, life and death on the streets. What is impressive is the pace of the storytelling. A lot happens and it happens fast. The characters are off to a flying, compelling start.
Beals was in Toronto last week to promote the series, which premiered to 1,351,000 estimated viewers across Canada on Global. The network’s PR team made the most of their day with her. Publicist Jacqueline Kendall had to ditch her pumps and slip on some Keds just to keep up with the former Flashdancer.
Beals looks at least a decade younger than her 47 years. She charmed her way through radio chats with CHUM FM and CBC’s Q and then was whisked over to Marilyn Denis before an afternoon packed with print reporters.
Beals held up like a pro and was friendly and impressive, crediting Ryan with assembling a strong writing team, keeping them on task while at the same time giving them room to breathe. The Chicago native is a Yale grad and we touched on a lot of subjects, including her love of Vancouver, the city where she shot The L Word and met her husband, Ken Dixon. Wished I’d had more time to talk with her, but here’s a link to the story I wrote off that interview for The Canadian Press.

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