When "The Chicago Code" premiered in February, I was not an instant fan. The writing was better than average, the plots were ambitious, and Chicago, even in the broken neighborhoods, looked as gorgeous as a tourist brochure. Still, something was slightly off in the pace, the dialogue, the tone.
But week by week, like a stiff new shoe that loosens up, the show has gotten better.
The story, centered on a corrupt alderman played by the riveting Delroy Lindo, tightens like a blood pressure cuff. The annoyances — constant references to the Irish mob, some bad Chicago accents — have either diminished or I've gotten used to them. I've turned into a big fan and think there's an untapped audience for the show.
When word got around Tuesday that I was writing this column, I started hearing from fans from all over.
Several Chicagoans said the show has introduced them to parts of the city they didn't know existed. Out-of-towners said it made them want to visit. Some noted the jobs it brought to the city and the exposure it gave Chicago talent.
And all of them raved about the good acting and uncommonly intelligent, adult plots. Sadly, those credentials don't rival the allure of the show's usual 8 p.m. time-slot competitor, "Dancing with the Stars" on ABC.
Yet Ford and her fellow fans reach for crumbs of hope. Monday's ratings were up 12 percent among viewers 18 to 49. And was it a happy omen that the come-on for next week's show referred to the "season finale," not the "series finale?"
Next week's finale, by the way, is called "Mike Royko's Revenge." I knew Mike, the late, great Tribune columnist, well enough to believe he would have liked "The Chicago Code."
And he'd have let the genius TV executives know just how dumb it was to let such a good show die.
Hmmm, another book to add to the book list in the sidebar, Boss: Richard J. Daley of Chicago by Mike Royko. I need to find it and read it however