February 07, 2011 12:00 PM

The Chicago Code

FOX, Feb. 7, 9 p.m. ET/PT |

CRIME

The gritty urban cop ensemble is one of the most crowded and dependable genres on TV right now-you’ve already got ABC’s Detroit 1-8-7, CBS’ New York-set Blue Bloods and TNT’s L.A.-based Southland. The Chicago Code instantly, almost effortlessly, establishes itself as head of the squad. Created by Shawn Ryan, who’s shown an impressively sure hand shaping the narrative of classic crime shows like The Shield and last year’s short-lived Terriers, Code sprints from scene to scene as it lays out what’ll be its basic geometry in the coming weeks.

As Police Superintendent Teresa Colvin, Jennifer Beals gives a revelatory, no-nonsense performance that should make Tom Selleck’s mustache bristle with envy. Maneuvering to bring down a corrupt alderman, she works closely, sometimes contentiously, with Detective Jarek Wysocki. He’s played by Jason Clarke (Brotherhood) with a squint presumably earned from staring in disbelief at the city’s criminal goings-on. Delroy Lindo, as Chicago’s king crook, works from a plush paneled office and rules with appropriately lordly cool.

This should be lots of fun.

Joan & Melissa

WE, Tuesdays, 9 p.m. ET/PT

REALITY

Joan Rivers’ stream of bitter, blisteringly funny one-liners is her oxygen, so this reality show (subtitled Joan Knows Best?) is really just standup by another means. Moving out to L.A. and in with her daughter and red carpet partner, Melissa, Rivers scarcely pretends any of the setups are real-it’s just more material for her. “Melissa knows just how to push my buttons,” she says. “Which is great until I’m on a respirator.” Score!

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