So far, The Chicago Code has been a delight for local political junkies. In one of the early episodes, we met an education professor who was back in town to accept an award for school reform, and ended up getting mixed up with the radicals he’d set off bombs with back in the ’60s and ’70s. The only thing missing from this portrayal of Bill Ayers was an earring and an acquaintanceship with the president.
The Chicago Code’s most fascinating character is the devious, powerful Ald. Ronin Gibbons. In one episode, Gibbons shot a would-be 15-year-old assassin in a barber shop -- he was packing heat under his robe. He visited the boy in the hospital, bought him an X Box, and got him to confess who’d ordered the hit. It was a member of the Two Corner Hustlers, who were jealous of Gibbons’s protection of the Irish Mob. By the end of the episode, a Two Corner Hustler was dead.
Gibbons’s wood-paneled office will look familiar to anyone who’s visited Ed Burke in City Hall. But there’s one thing about him we can’t figure out: where the hell is his ward. In one episode, he described growing up in Cabrini-Green, then overseeing its destruction. But last week, as Ald. Gibbon’s tried to solve the murder of a boy killed at Cermak and Wentworth, we found out that he also represents a slice of Chinatown. Another clue: his ward is 40 percent African-American and 10 percent Asian.
Given those specifications, I would say Gibbon’s ward begins somewhere near Ping Tom Memorial Park, then follows the Chicago River north through the Financial District -- which provides the contributions he needs to keep his liquor cabinet full of high-quality scotch -- before swinging west at Division Street, and finally dipping into Garfield Park. That’s a big ward.
Of course, don’t be surprised if you turn on The Chicago Code tonight and find out Ald. Gibbon’s represents Altgeld Gardens, or the Harlem-Irving Plaza, or the Baha’i Temple. He’s the show’s only alderman, so he has a lot of ground to cover. Where is Ald. Gibbons’s ward? I think the answer is, “Wherever the producers need it to be.”