Review: In ‘The Chi,’ a Young Man Dies, and the Ripples Spread

Review: In ‘The Chi,’ a Young Man Dies, and the Ripples Spread

Chicago, fairly or not, has been defined lately in terms of crime. Its murder rate has gotten press attention and become a political talking point. Even Dick Wolf, the producer of “Law & Order,” decamped from Manhattan a few years ago for “Chicago P.D.”

It looks at first as if “The Chi,” which begins Sunday on Showtime, will define the city the same way. A street-corner murder in its first few minutes sets in motion the story — grief, revenge and counter-revenge — that will enfold a vast range of characters in an African American neighborhood.

But it’s how “The Chi” gets to that murder that hints at the vibrant, complex voice that, eventually, emerges in the drama’s first four episodes.

We start off riding through the city with Coogie (Jahking Guillory), a playful 16-year-old with a wild mane of hair, on a canary yellow bicycle with a banana seat. He coasts past colorful graffiti (“From Struggle Comes Strength”), watches kids doing flips on a discarded mattress, haggles with a convenience-store owner over the price of a soda and jerky.

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