Dear The Chicago Code,
Well, this is heartbreaking. Just two months ago, I was writing you a love letter. Now, it’s time for us to say goodbye. I hope it’s not forever, but I don’t know, so I’m going to say everything right now, just in case.
You’ve really been spectacular. My disagreements with you have been minor at best. That’s virtually unheard of, given how high I set my standards. But you and I have had a relationship that I haven’t had with a TV show since Sports Night was axed eleven years ago. In my world, there’s Sports Night and everything else; you’re the first show I’ve even thought of putting in the higher echelon that Aaron Sorkin established in my head. No matter what happens after tonight, know that you earned that from me.
Every week, I’ve come away not just entertained, but feeling like I’m a better writer myself, having learned from your staff. My chats with Shawn Ryan gave me some much-needed positive reinforcement, being that he approaches some things just the way I do. Virgil Williams gave us a perfect example of character-driven drama with “Wild Onions,” then came back and taught a class on how to write proper moral ambiguity with last week’s “Greylord & Gambat.” As someone who always strives to be better at my craft, that inspiration is invaluable. As much as I appreciate on screen, there’s equally as much for me to take away from what’s off-screen.
This is not to take away from what unfolds every week, which is some of the most captivating drama that I’ve seen in recent memory. Not one bit melodramatic, it doesn’t pander for attention or ratings; it’s just well done. This is the kind of drama where I can’t suss out what’s going to happen next. I don’t know about anyone else, but I like feeling like you’re just a little bit smarter than me. I’m talking back to the characters because I care that much. My TV made the mistake of blinking out for about ten seconds at the end of one episode, and I can’t repeat the things I said to it. I was that irritated at missing just a moment of what you had to show me. These characters are my new heroes, their stories my new adventures, and I don’t want to be without them.
And the actors you’ve brought together…where to start? They’ve always been good, but we’ve been able to see them grow alongside their characters and become downright phenomenal. I’ve been motivated to seek out several of their other projects because of you and I think they’ve done their best work here. There’s not a weak link among them, and I know I’ll be following several of them wherever they go. (One of them is working with a friend of mine. Small world.) In particular, I owe you for introducing me to Jason Clarke, who’s made my jaw hit the floor more times than any other actor has ever done…in the space of only twelve episodes. I’m pretty sure I’ll be adding to that total tonight. The fact remains, no one has flat out floored me the way he has, and I wouldn’t even know him if not for you.
Not to mention that you made time for guest roles for actors that I already loved: Steven Culp, Adam Arkin and Aldis Hodge. I’m always grateful when I get to see a familiar face.
What I’ll miss most about you, though, is all the people that you’ve brought into my life. I’ve been able to do interviews with Shawn Ryan, Jennifer Beals, and Matt Lauria, and I’ve had conversations with quite a few other people behind you; every interaction has been one that I’ll cherish always. I ran into Jason Clarke once, and I’ve since met one of his former colleagues, who in turn became a friend of mine. And I embrace all of your fans, who have not been shy about telling me how much they appreciate the work I’ve done for you over the season, and have gone the extra mile in welcoming me into their fan community. So rarely do I get noticed when I labor over a show, and now I can count quite a few new friends besides.
I really hope this isn’t the last we see of each other. I’m not going to stop hoping and fighting for you. After all, with everything you’ve given me, you deserve my best effort. You deserve a lot more than you’ve ever gotten.
Go get ’em, show. I’ll be here watching.