Chicago police officers interrogate Fox’s new series The Chicago Code

Jake Malooley, Time Out Chicago

Watching Fox's new cop drama The Chicago Code, from the creator of The Shield, one thing's immediately clear: This is home. El stops along Lake Street, the University of Chicago campus, City Hall, less distinguished corners all over town—it's easy to get distracted playing spot-the-location.

From panoramic helicopter shots of the skyline, the camera settles on Teresa Colvin (Jennifer Beals), Chicago's first female police superintendent, and a plays-by-his-own-rules Polish detective, Jarek Wysocki (Jason Clarke). To nail the realism of Chicago police work, the producers tapped a local homicide detective, John Folino Jr., who consulted on scripts and scenarios. Sipping beer last week in the campaign office of 46th Ward aldermanic candidate and Chicago police officer Michael Carroll, eagle-eyed Sgt. Bill Schield and patrol-officer partners Aaron Levine and Jason Slater weighed in on The Chicago Code pilot.

On the police uniforms…
"For television, it's the best I've ever seen a Chicago police uniform," says Levine, 28, a patrol officer in the 14th District, when Beals makes her first appearance. "On ER, the uniform used to say, like, METRO POLICE."

On a wild car-chase scene…
"A chase over a stolen car that goes through a residential area would get called off immediately," Carroll, 32, says. "You have to ask," adds Schield, 43, "Does the need to capture this guy outweigh your safety, the public's safety?"

On the swaggering, corrupt Ald. Ronin Gibbons (Delroy Lindo)…
"Totally Ike Carothers! Head of the Police and Fire Committee, and all of a sudden he's as dirty as they come," Schield says of the former 29th Ward alderman who was sent to prison last June after pleading guilty to bribery and tax charges.

On making jokes while standing over a dead body in the middle of the street ("It's really more of a parking violation than a littering beat," Colvin cracks to Wysocki)…
"Black humor is a way for us to ease the tension and deal with the morbidity of what we do," says Slater, 28. "The humor, unfortunately, has a way of coming out at the wrong moment."

On the on-again-off-again sexual relationship Wysocki's cop niece has with her partner…
"Off limits," Schield says. "People try to keep it quiet, but it's hard to hide those little touches in the station."

On Superintendent Colvin meeting secretly with gang members to broker a deal…
"We've seen Superintendent Weis doing something like this," Schield says. "Ten years ago, if there was a face-to-face gang meeting, it was me letting them know that if they didn't stop, I'd get a dump truck and tear the building down."

On making top-ten lists while killing time with your partner…
"Police work is 90 percent boredom and 10 percent sheer terror," Slater says. "You've got to figure out a way to kill that time: 'Who's the hottest girl on TV right now?'?"

On Sox fan Wysocki's annoyance at being partnered with a crosstown Cubs fan…
"Absolutely accurate," Carroll says. "I'm a Cubs fan, and my partner Brock is a Sox fan. It creates some funny in-car tension: 'Hey, Brock, they lost again!'"

The Chicago Code premieres on Fox Monday 7 at 8pm.

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