TV Review - Chicago Justice

This is the fourth TV series from mega-producer Dick Wolf set in the city of Chicago focusing on a group of public servants. Chicago Fire is about firefighters. Chicago PD is about police detectives, and Chicago Med is about doctors and nurses. Ever since the second series, the producers have enjoyed doing cross-over episodes where members from each cast will appear in other shows. This one is no different as it focuses on the state attorney's office that prosecutes various cases but mostly murders. Of all, Wolf's shows in Chicago, it's surprising that this one would be the last, as it's the one that leans heavily on Wolf's signature series Law & Order. In fact, this series might as well be called Law & Order: Chicago.

The format is essentially the same as Law & Order. A couple of cops investigate a crime, talk to witnesses and look for evidence, meanwhile the prosecutor goes to court and tries to prove the person on trial is guilty or at least convince the jury. Each episode pulls a story from recent news, aka it's "ripped from the headlines." After its first episode kicks things off, the second and third episodes really dive into the recent headlines.

Episode 2 is about the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore where the police were accused of killing a suspect in custody. It's a case that was controversial as it was caught up in the Black Lives Matter movement. The episode was written by William N. Fordes, a long-time writer for Wolf, but he clearly has no regard for the BLM movement or the argument that many believe is quite valid. The episode doesn't even give voice to the Black Lives Matter movement. The episode is simply a pro-police stance, which is not to say that Black Lives Matter is anti-police, but cops here in this episode almost advocate for police brutality and do so from a veritable, moral high-ground and anyone who questions or challenges is in the wrong.

The episode doesn't even have the courage of its convictions, the courage to face real consequences. A cop is accused of murdering a suspect in a similar way as Freddie Gray. Instead of dealing with the murkiness of it all, it literally sets up a straw man, which lets everyone off the hook. The episode is then wrapped up so neatly by the end. It's strange because even Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has been braver as to leave its characters in that murkiness.

Episode 3 puts forward a ridiculous case of a Muslim killing another Muslim because he suspects the other Muslim of being a terrorist. The conclusion of the trial is so obvious that I don't understand why the writers even bothered. The idea that even a jury full of virulent racists or even a jury full of 9/11 survivors would acquit this killer is quite frankly offensive, not for any kind of Islamophobia but due to its sheer stupidity. It's turned me off to this series.

Rated TV-14-L.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Sundays at 9PM on NBC.


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