Not too long into the first episode of Chicago PD some police roll up on the apartment of a suspect, get out of their cars, and immediately take gunfire from a window. The sergeant on scene shouts, “Get the long guns,” so they holster their pistols and pop their trunks to grab their rifles before going into the building. Finally!
Contrast that with the pilot of Intelligence: America’s single most valuable intelligence asset, a soldier named Gabriel whose brain they’ve managed to meld with wifi and internet access, is also being sought by the Chinese who want to steal the technology and implant it in their own agents. No, this premise isn’t the bad part (and it worked well in the action comedy Chuck). The government wisely assigned a single Secret Service agent to protect Gabriel — the person, not the priceless technology, mind you — as he takes to the field to unravel the plot. Not long into the first episode he follows some leads to a Chinese gang compound connected with the plot. Even as he is told that a tactical team is minutes away, and even though there is no urgency whatsoever, he and his bodyguard decide to raid the compound. With handguns.
My wife is inclined to cut our losses when we see something start so poorly, but I couldn’t believe a major production company could bungle a full-budget series this badly and then have a major network pick it up as their midseason centerpiece. Apparently they can: Everything from casting to screenwriting was awfully amateurish and unredeemed by anything. So we slogged through the remainder of the episode with me intermittently exclaiming, “How does this make it through a script reading?” and, “Why do they spend money producing such crap?”
Chicago PD, on the other hand, showed all the makings of a top-shelf police drama. I guess when producers and actors pay attention to details like tactics it’s a sign they know what they’re doing?
Update: Chicago PD was something of a bait-and-switch. In all later episodes the stars use handguns almost exclusively. Even when heading into a confrontation with bad guys known to be wearing body armor.
I was recently talking to an experienced Hollywood armorer about this and he explained that directors don’t like to give the stars long guns because it’s harder to show their faces. And most viewers don’t care about the difference: A gun is a gun.