‘The Code’ is a procedural drama series created by Craig Sweeny and Craig Turk that airs on CBS. The show is familiar territory for the network in the wake of the naval justice franchise ‘NCIS’. News of this CBS drama first emerged on February 2,2018 when it was reported that CBS had given the production a pilot order. Production companies originally linked to the pilot included CBS Television Studios and Timberman-Beverly Productions. Subsequently, on February 8,2018, it was announced that Marc Webb of ‘The Amazing Spiderman‘ fame had come on-board to direct the pilot episode. CBS confirmed the series order on May, 11, 2018, and went on to announce a few days later that ‘The Code’ would premiere in the spring of 2019 as a mid-season replacement. This marks the second pilot collaboration between Sweeny and Webb to go to series, following CBS’ ‘Limitless‘.
In CBS’ initial press release the series was summarized as “military’s brightest minds take on our country’s toughest challenges inside the courtroom and out, where each attorney is trained as a prosecutor, a defense lawyer, an investigator-and a Marine.” Though the show aspires to be an introspective look into the lives of the military’s brightest legal minds in its inception, what it eventually ends up being is a formulaic drama in the comfort zone of CBS and its large target audience.
The Code Cast: Who’s in it?
‘The Code’ went through a tumultuous casting process at best and a major casting crisis at worst. In the original pilot, Dave Annable and Mira Sorvino were cast as the series’ male lead, and a major co-starring role, respectively. However, by the time the show was picked up by CBS, the two had backed out resulting in an immediate recasting of Luke Mitchell in the role of Captain John ‘Abe’ Abraham (Annable), and Dana Delany in the role of Colonel Eisa Turnbull (Sorvino). The show features an ensemble cast including Anna Wood (playing Maj. Maya Dobbins), Ato Essandoh (Maj.Trey Ferry), Phillipa Soo (Lt. Harper), Raffi Barsoumian (Lt. Harper) and Justin Cotsonas (Alex Hunt), among others.
The Code Plot: What is it about?
In this military legal drama, Colonel Eisa Turnbull heads up the staff of attorneys for the Marine Corps’ Judge Advocate Division, which includes Capt. John ‘Abe’ Abraham, 2nd Lieutenant Harper Li, Major Maya Dobbins, Major Trey Ferry and Warrant Officer Carlton Pickett as they take up some of the military’s toughest courtroom challenges.
The central premise of the show lies in its attempt to delve into the usually unheard aspects of military life and the traumas that go along with it. However, the upbeat, superficial treatment of the narrative, makes the show a shallow attempt at the same. Lurking in the same territory as some of CBS’ recent productions, ‘The Code’ does little to establish itself as a serious procedural drama, with lawyers within the Marine Corps being shown as driven by the motivation to close out the cases swiftly, than a passionate advocacy for its clients. Dana Delany’s portrayal of girl-boss Colonel Eisa Turnbull is a typical performative attempt often bordering on presupposed Hollywood cliches– she is seen saying dialogues such as “I’ve ordered better men than you to their deaths”. In another instance she tells one adversary “I will end you on my way to yoga.”
Operating out of Judge Advocate General Headquarters in Quantico (Virginia), the active duty Marine attorneys have chosen to serve their country in pursuit of military justice at home and abroad, often having to put aside their ideals for the sake of the truth. With Capt. John Abe and Capt. Maya Dobbins assigned to the case as prosecution and defense lawyers, the first episode titled ‘Blowed Up’ follows the legal procedure of a soldier who has allegedly murdered his commanding officer in Afghanistan.