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Kara’s 2011 TV Goodness All-Stars: The Chicago Code’s Delroy Lindo 

Photo Credit: Fox

I guess part of me is still mourning the cancellation of The Chicago Code. I thought it had all the ingredients to become a hit show. The cast, story, location, as well as the pedigree of the writers and producers made me think it would work. Maybe audiences thought this was just another police procedural. Maybe viewers had no interest in yet another story about a corrupt politician in Chicago. Whatever the case, this great show was overlooked on so many levels. So I hope I can do just a little justice to it by honoring Delroy Lindo as one of my 2011 TV Goodness All-Stars in what I think has been his best role – on the big or small screen – to date.

Photo Credit: Fox

I’m not sure I’ve ever cared about a villain like this, at least initially. It was immediately apparent how corrupt he was and how far outside the law he was willing to go. If someone takes that much pride in their city and works that hard to make it better you want to believe their heart is in the right place. Naive, I know but I like to look at the bright side. Delroy Lindo as well as the writers did a great job of humanizing Adlerman Ronin Gibbons. It’s easy to dismiss or dislike someone who only thinks about themselves or blatantly breaks the law only for personal gain. But when that person thinks he’s doing the right thing like Gibbons does things turn all shades of gray. And when the villain never thinks of himself as the bad guy, things really get good.

I wrote an article about Delroy Lindo and his character when the show was on earlier this year. The words I wrote then are still true now so I’ll let you read them again or for the first time:

There is just something about a man in an expensive suit that I find appealing, and I’m glad Delroy Lindo doesn’t give a slick, over-the-top performance. He’s got the finesse to take us along for the ride – and maybe even make us question what the cops think they know. It’s more fun – at least for me – when the bad guy isn’t so obvious. I want him to get caught but I like the cat-and-mouse game. I want him to be brought to justice, but I want to see our heroes outsmart him. I want him to pay for what he’s done, but I want the families that he’s hurt to know exactly who did the hurting and I want them to demand justice. And it’s always great when the bad guys don’t think they’re that bad. I’m sure Gibbons thinks there are people in Chicago who are much worse than him. He never has to do the dirty work so his hands are clean, at least metaphorically. Maybe he doesn’t let himself think about things too long. If he focuses on the bigger picture – making a name for Chicago while making a name for himself – he won’t realize how many laws he’s broken or how many times he’s stepped over the line.

A formidable enemy like Gibbons makes everyone else step up their game. It was exciting to see the cops try to gather the evidence they needed to bring him down. It was suspenseful knowing that at any moment the undercover cop investigating him could be ferretted out and possibly killed. And it was unexpected when Gibbons got his assistant and lover to kill for him.

All these elements made Gibbons a compelling villain and fascinating to watch. I hope Delroy Lindo finds another great character to embody on the small screen soon. I miss seeing him every week.

The Chicago Code is available on Amazon Instant Video and Itunes.

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