REASON TO WATCH: Jennifer Beals as a Chicago police superintendent in a new cop drama from Shawn Ryan ("The Shield").
WHEN/WHERE: Monday at 9 p.m. on Fox/5
City of broad shoulders and dubious political virtue, Chicago is a place where stuff gets done the old-fashioned way. There are payoffs for everything - from trash collection to protection - and the city's new top cop, Teresa Colvin (Jennifer Beals), witnessed this firsthand when she was a girl in her father's grocery store.
Corruption ultimately demolished him and his business. She has made it her life's work to beat the crooks, but one of them might be her boss, Alderman Ronin Gibbons (Delroy Lindo), who is just a little too quick to reject her request to fund a new cop task force. Colvin instead sets up her own shadow task force, led by her old partner in blue, Jarek Wysocki (Jason Clarke, "Brotherhood").
MY SAY: Whether you buy into this reasonably well-made series could depend on whether you buy into Beals as a police superintendent. Me? Not so much. Beals, as always, is stunning to look at, but with those big moonshine eyes, wide mouth and abundant tresses, the camera likes her just a bit too much.
In an interrogation with a gangbanger, for example, the lighting makes her look like a L'Oréal model. You want to giggle and likely will. (A wonder the gangbanger didn't.) For comparison purposes, let's take "The Shield's" Capt. Monica Rawlings (Glenn Close). If I were a perp and she asked me to tell her what she wanted to know, I'd blurt out the confession. Beals' Colvin projects zero menace and absolutely no intensity. She's a little too cut-glass cool for this role.
Clarke is a good actor, but his Wysocki totters precariously close to cliché. He's the grizzled cop with the warm heart who resorts to unconventional methods. Et cetera. In the end, the series depends on Chicago for star power (undeniable) and that respected name on the credits (Ryan).
BOTTOM LINE: Monday's pilot can't quite close the sale, but there's promise here. "The Chicago Code" deserves another look.