Monday, 27 September 2010
My hit list # 17 the Shield
Starring Michael Chiklis as Vic Mackey this show was both underrated and under exposed here in the UK, getting a late night slot on Channel 5.
Aside from the action, of which there was a great deal quieter moments explored common themes such as the citizens' distrust of police, the social impact of drugs and gang warfare, and the conflict between ethics and political ambition. Most characters were portrayed as having both vice and virtue. For example, Vic's loving relationship with his children contrasts with his brutal approach to police work, in general his brutality is directed at those deserving of such treatment though and as such is an amoral hero.
The Shield had a variety of subplots, Corrupt Captain David Aceveda's political aspirations and his victim status in a sexual assault; Vic Mackey's struggle to cope with a failing marriage; Shane Vendrell's rocky, new marriage; and Julien Lowe's conflicts between his belief Bible and his sexuality.
Central to the series is Vic’s Strike Team who use a variety of illegal and unethical methods to maintain peace on the streets, while making a profit through illegal drug protection schemes and robbery. Yet they are valuable to maintaining the status quo amongst rival gangs. Outside of the strike team there were complex characters such as behavioral theorist "Dutch" Wagenbach, his partner Claudette Wyms and female officer "Danny" Sofer.
Both Glenn Close and Forest Whittaker had substantial roles in season 5 and 6 as the quality and depth of the show grew. The Shield while not as ambitious or textured as The Wire and The Sopranos that where broadcast at the same time, was an excellent TV show that hit the ground running and ended with the dénouement of a Shakespearian tragedy.
Over the course of its life the Shield was brutal, interesting surprising and must see TV for those in the know.
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