Stars: Delroy Lindo, Billy Lush, Matt Lauria, Jennifer Beals, Jason Clarke, Devin Kelley and Todd Williams
Writers: Heather Mitchell
Director: Leslie Linka Glatter
Network: Fox, airs Monday nights
Original Telecast: March 14, 2011

THE CHICAGO CODE has done an impeccable job of delivering episodes that feel completely true to its own unique cop show universe. The melodrama is kept to a minimum, the characters are the focal points and Chicago itself is used as an additional colorful character.

However, with “The Gold Coin Kid,” the show takes a warmed over LAW & ORDER esque plot and does its best to service it within the framework of its own show with mixed results.

Essentially, the kid of one of the city’s most wealthy donors is found in a drug-induced coma, and the parents want the drug dealer found. Enter Wysocki (Jason Clarke) and Evers (Matt Lauria) who are assigned by Superintendent Colvin (Jennifer Beals) to crack this case quickly.

Nothing is what it seems though, as the cops are led to a high-end downtown club that’s essentially a by-the-books whorehouse  — and obviously there are very powerful people in the city government that wants this place left alone.

Watching the evolving love/hate partnership between Wysocki and Evers develop is one of the show’s strongest anchors and the episode concludes with the excellent line where Evers says, “you’re supposed to keep secrets from your fiancée, not your partner”

The easy-going camaraderie between Wysocki and Colvin (they were both former partners) also continues to reveal itself and their easy rapport proves breezy and fun.

Also on the police force as a rookie is Wysocki’s niece Vonda (Devin Kelley) and we’re given a glimpse into her workload and how she’s just as savvy, smart and ambitious as her uncle.

Alderman Gibbons (Delroy Lindo) takes a break this episode, though his character’s presence is felt through various conversations. It’s great that a show can create such a strong, formidable character as Gibbons, and all you have to do is mention him by name and something he’s done and you already can feel the gravity of his presence.

The biggest problems though with “The Gold Coin Kid” is how by-the-books the coma kid plot is. It even has a requisite cop show twist by the end, that’s not that big of a surprise if you follow cop shows.

Maybe it’s because I hold THE CHICAGO CODE to such a high standard that when it takes the easy way out, it inevitably leads to some disappointment. Granted, “The Gold Coin Kid” is still a better episode than three-fourths of the procedurals out there, but I’ve come to expect more – much more.

AGREE? DISAGREE? Let us know what you think – leave your comment below.

CLICK HERE for AX’s exclusive interview with CHICAGO CODE star Delroy Lindo

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