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The Shield

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I had some reservations about this 7-season police drama at the beginning. Even with the same people working on it, how could it be as good as The Wire, still my #1 police series, set in 90s Baltimore?

The action in the Shield all takes place in L.A. in an urban neighbourhood where familes live alongside addicts and rival gangs. The show focuses on the local police's strike team, led by Vic Mackie. You may recognize actor Michael Chiklis from The Commish or currently, No Ordinary Family, but now he's playing bad cop.

Mackie's team skims from drug dealers and assaults criminals but have a successful arrest rate. It almost seems justifiable, until he commits an unspeakable act. The rest of the series focuses on the tangled web that results as he tries to manage all the repercussions of his terrible decision. Excellent side plots focus on the work of Wagenbach and Wiems, two detectives who work in his station, and the political strategies of the different police chiefs. The Shield is voyeuristic at times and sometimes the show asks us to sympathize with the strike team and that just makes it even more jarring when its members break the law. As I near the end of the series, I wonder what their fate will be. Stick with it, it opens a lot of discussion



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