THE CHICAGO CODE: Jennifer Beals Previews Teresa's Struggles - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

THE CHICAGO CODE: Jennifer Beals Previews Teresa’s Struggles

February 7, 2011 by  

Fox’s newest series, THE CHICAGO CODE, premieres tonight at 9 PM EST and it’s definitely worth checking out.

The show is set in Chicago and follows members of the police department who try to combat political corruption on the job — but no, it’s not your typical police procedural.

“The show works on lots of different levels,” series star Jennifer Beals (Teresa) told reporters on a recent conference call. “It works on personal relationships. It works on action and more drama on the street, and then it works on the corruption that goes on within politics.”

And as Chicago’s first female superintendent, Teresa ruffles a lot of feathers as she sets out to clean up the city.

“She’s really creating the template for this job,” Beals said. “I just thought it would be very interesting to take that walk into what kind of a leader does she become in that position, and how do you balance your personal life with the demands of that kind of job.”

And the character is getting it from all angles.

“I don’t think anybody intended for her to initially have this position,” she continued. “There were two other men, older men, who had the position before her and through their own misfortune, she ended up actually becoming superintendent. I really believe that she was probably the token candidate and then is believed to be potentially a puppet for some of the aldermen. They are surprised by the fact that she’s not a puppet — or not the kind of puppet that they would want, certainly.”

However, that’s not to say Teresa hasn’t earned this promotion. As viewers learn in the pilot, she had told her former partner, Jarek (played by Jason Clarke), that her goal was to be promoted into the position of superintendent in 10 years. It only took 8.

“Her ascension, I think, comes through expertise,” Beals said. “She’s been in, I think, lots of different departments within the Chicago Police Department. She started out as an officer, as a beat cop, was in tactical, was in homicide. She knows a lot of different departments, which is a feasible idea. So I think that she does have a great deal of respect among her fellow officers, but you would be naïve to think that to be able to ascend to that kind of level isn’t without a cost. I think it’s cost her her personal life. Everything is about this job, and I think if we’re fortunate enough to be picked up [for an additional season], you’ll see even more how problematic that is.”

But Beals’ character won’t be the only person viewers see having difficulty with their job.

“To be in the police department, regardless of really what your job is in the police department, is very difficult, and to be someone who’s out on the street, to be a homicide detective, is very difficult,” she said. “I cannot stress the kinds of things that you would see and experience day in and day out, and how wearing that is to the soul, how difficult that is. To witness then — on top of everything — the corruption that goes on in City Hall day in and day out that contributes to the suffering of your fellow officers and contributes to the suffering of the people of the city is incredibly wearing.”

Beals finds herself questioning the struggle.

“You have to ask yourself, why does somebody stay in a job? What do they have going on personally that makes them stay in a job? The show addresses those questions. It addresses that personal angle of why is somebody still doing that? My gosh, that’s so hard, that’s so painful. Why is that person still in that job and what does that mean to them to have witnessed this thing during that day? It’s not as if the show portrays every police officer as just being this kind of soldier who’s so tough, who can see shootings all day long and they’re impervious to it. No, it takes a toll. It takes a personal toll. So there’s a personal element to the show that I think is important to underline as well.”

That personal element includes Teresa’s relationship with her former partner, Jarek.

“I thought the relationship to Jarek was interesting,” Beals said. “It’s a very interesting line that we walk between intimacy and respect and being able to tell the truth to one another and goading one another and making each other laugh. I just thought that could potentially be interesting. Of course, for me, working with [THE CHICAGO CODE creator] Shawn Ryan was a real lure because I really admire his writing and I admire the way that he works with his team of writers as well.”

Will you be tuning in for THE CHICAGO CODE’s series premiere tonight on Fox at 9 PM EST?

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