Jennifer Beals: Being the first female superintendent, I just thought it would be very interesting to play somebody who was walking into uncharted territory. How do you balance your personal life with the demands of that kind of job? That and working with 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. Plus, being part of THE L WORD made me realize how much more television can be tham what I had experienced in my lifetime in terms of being able to be of service to people. I had so many fans come up to me who were really deeply appreciative of the show and what it had meant for them and their own sense of identity and their own sense of inclusion in our society and in our culture.
In terms of the Chicago Police Department, we were able to do ride-alongs with a homicide detective. So you could go all out all night in a car in a Kevlar vest. Essentially, you sign a piece of paper, and you’re able to see all kinds of things. You get to see what they deal with day in and day out, how to set up a crime scene. We got to go to the shooting range, and I was able to talk to some people who had more administrative positions to try to understand what that part of my job would be like. As for women, I did talk to a lot of them. Obviously, it’s a very interesting position to be a woman who’s in charge of a department or several bureaus who are primarily men.
I get schooled every single day when I work with Delroy Lindo, it’s so much fun and I love it. He is so specific in his work and so dedicated to his work. He just made me laugh. He was also a great advisory, because he’s also really smart about the way he went about playing the character. Because as much wickedness as his character is purveying, he also is doing good things as well. So it’s not perfectly—his evil is not perfectly delineated and clear, It’s murky, which is often the way that it is. So it was terrific to work with Delroy. I cried our last day of shooting together, like a little kid, I cried, because I wished we had more scenes together, but maybe next season if we get picked up.
There is an episode that deals with her family, and so you do see her personal life in that episode. You do get little glimpses of it every now and again, but really, this is a person who has dedicated everything to their job for better or for worse. Towards the end of the season, you start to see the toll that that takes on her personally.
THE CHICAGO CODE is not just a cop show about the action that is on the street, you also have this whole other element where a female police superintendent is taking on corruption in the halls of power and within her own department. In America, there is a sense that something is really wrong in government and in our culture. No matter what city you live in, those back-room deals are happening. There’s corruption in politics, the police force, and there’s personal and private corruption. So the show works on lots of different levels as you’re able to watch as this person is trying to make things right, at great cost to herself.
THE CHICAGO CODE premieres Monday February 7, 2011 at 9PM on FOX (Global TV in Canada)