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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Chicago Code: "The Gold Coin Kid"

Illustration for article titled The Chicago Code: "The Gold Coin Kid"
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Week to week, it’s becoming clearer what The Chicago Code is trying to do: telling cop stories where the bad guy often isn’t some dealer with a gun, but the system itself. As such, the show is usually at its best when it’s not so much about the case of the week, but about the dirt the case kicks up.

“The Gold Coin Kid” was a good episode of The Chicago Code, I thought. Better than last week’s, to be sure, if not as rich or exciting as the first couple of episodes. The usual complaints apply of course—to the extent that I’m thinking about tagging each week’s review with the acronym T.U.C.A., just as a form of stipulation. Some of the dialogue is overheated and clichéd, especially the give-and-take between Evers and a high-end hooker he both likes and detests. The plot resolves with minimal complications, and little percolating below the surface of the characters. The conflict between the politicians and the police is often contrived. Like I said—T.U.C.A.

But even though Alderman Ronin Gibbons doesn’t appear in “The Gold Coin Kid,” I feel like this episode puts a lot of pieces in place for the series’ master-plot, again, kicked up by this week’s case. I was also intrigued by the world the case explores.

The case involves a night club where Chicago’s elite meet young women who’ve been made available to them, for top price. Wysocki and Evers come across the club while investigating the overdose of a rich kid named Teddy Langley. Looking for Teddy’s heroin dealer, they start with the apartment of Teddy’s girlfriend Emily and her roommate Taylor. Before long, they find the dealer, and then they find a car at the bottom of the lake, containing Emily’s battered corpse. This leads them to Demimonde, “a high-end cathouse” where Emily worked along with Taylor, both of them looking for rich potential mates. As Wysocki and Evers look into Demimonde, they discover that Teddy’s father was a regular (and a former client of Emily’s in particular), and that he’s one of a number of influential Chicagoans who’ve had sex with Demimonde girls, often while being filmed by hidden cameras.

“The Gold Coin Kid” pauses for a a brief but fascinating history of Chicago whorehouses and also pops in another history lesson about the plainclothes cops who kept the World’s Fair safe in 1893. The latter story is relevant because before Wysocki and Evers get called in on the Langley case, they’re impersonating tow-truck drivers as a way of fooling a gang of drug dealers into revealing their location. When our heroes have to abandon the gang case, they leave it in the hands of Moose, who’s already mad at them for intruding on his turf. Moose follows their lead and brings in the bad guys with the help of Isaac and Vonda, but he’s sloppy with his pat-down of a suspect, and Isaac and Vonda almost get shot by an unseized gun. When the big boss comes down to the station to chew Moose’s team out, Vonda stands up and takes the hit, thereby securing a position that had been tenuous, given how much Moose hates her uncle.

The Isaac/Vonda/Moose storyline is straight-up Chicago Code: cops trading favors and playing politics to cover for each other’s screw-ups. The Demimonde storyline is more Law & Order-y, with multiple suspects and red herrings. But it becomes more Chicago Code-like by the end. Superintendent Colvin gets offered a deal by the mayor’s office: Step back from the potentially embarrassing Demimonde investigation, and she’ll get the new radios her squad needs—no longer the kind that have six-hour batteries for a nine-hour shift. So Teresa publicly warns Wysocki and Evers off, but it’s only a bluff. They wait until Teresa has her radios in hand, and then they raid Demimonde anyway, coming away with a cache of damaging information.


Initially I thought that “The Gold Coin Kid” would’ve been more interesting if Wysocki really had raided Demimonde against Colvin’s orders and had cost his fellow officers—including his niece—their radios and thus their safety. But then the episode sprung a nice little surprise, revealing that the one responsible for Emily’s death was the drug dealer, whose only involvement with Demimonde is as a supplier of narcotics. So basically, Wysocki raided the club for Colvin, to secure all kinds of potential political leverage for her. And he did it without telling Evers what he was up to.

So no, on the surface, the “get Ronin Gibbons” plot didn’t move at all this week. But in a deeper way, it did. Teresa now has power she didn’t have before, coupled with some much-needed goodwill from her underlings for getting them new radios.  And Evers, annoyed with Wysocki for not trusting him enough to tell him what’s going on—and annoyed with him for reading his file and finding out that he’s a Northwestern grad with ambitions to join the FBI—spills what he’s sussed out about Wysocki’s relationship with his ex-wife: that he’s been sleeping with her behind his fiancée’s back. This changes their relationship, in ways that could prove relevant down the line.


And as always, The Chicago Code ties its stories together thematically, without making a huge deal about it. A lot of people pretending to be something they’re not in this episode. A lot of people lying. A lot of people putting on a good show, for the benefits they get in return. A lot of people selling an experience.

Stray observations:

  • I’ve never liked Lemon Meringue Pie. It’s the meringue I don’t care for. Looks like whipped cream, but it ain’t whipped cream. All stiff and eggy. Not for me.