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Thoughts on this week’s Modern Family and The Chicago Code

Modern Family: Modern Family has had an interesting season. Though it’s never been boring, some episodes have dragged on more than they should, lacking the intrinsic humor that many season one episodes contained.

Tonight was back to form and was one of the best episodes of the season, “Boys’ Night” epitomizes everything that the series is about; solid, light-hearted fun that’s both witty and inspiring. It also has Pepper Saltzman and a gay man named Longinus. A basic recipe for success.

The Chicago Code: What sets this show apart from every other cop show is its use of its setting as a character. Well, that’s not necessarily the only thing, but it definitely is a defining aspect of The Chicago Code. The series uses its eponymous city as a playground ripe with stories of corruption, scandal and mayhem that affect people at every level.

Up to this point, The Chicago Code has been solid… though not spectacular. Sure, the cast is very strong. Yes, the idea of using Chicago as a backdrop for a police show is novel. And yes, some of the characters have shown tremendous promise. Yet the stories from week-to-week have been less compelling than Shawn Ryan’s procedurals (namely, The Shield and Terriers).

That all changes with this week’s “Black Hand and Shotgun Man.” Not only is the best episode of the series, but its potential implications will affect the series from here on out. It’s a game changer, to be sure, but one that is more subtle than most.

Like most episodes in the series, relationships lie at the center. Yet this week’s episode parallels the relationship of a father (a drug lord and Wysocki) that show the limits of the latter. He might be an effective cop, but as a father… he is lacking. And while Romero’s crimes are heinous, his commitment to his family severely outpaces Wysocki’s. And you know what kills Wysocki? He knows it. He knows that he’s not the father, the husband, the fiancé, that he should be. There’s something holding him back. He blames it on his work, on his partner, maybe even on his energy drinks. It’s a beautiful story that’s only half-told, there for the audience to discover. And that’s the best kind.


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