Fox’s new cop show ‘The Chicago Code’ smartly takes on tired genre

One of the basic tensions in the premiere episode of The Chicago Code, airing tonight on Fox at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, is embodied in the fact that since I saw the first version of the pilot (then called Ride-Along) last summer, they've made a few changes, including the addition of an expository sequence at the very top. That part now comes before a darkly funny chase that used to open the hour.

The new section introduces the superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, Teresa Colvin (Jennifer Beals), who takes us through her childhood and her father's struggles as a small businessman in a community full of thugs and dirty public officials. It's a way of reframing the show as being about How Things Are In Chicago in a broad sense, rather than jumping the audience into the back of a police car with cop Jarek Wysocki (Jason Clarke).

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