Summer Recommendation: The Shield

Note: The Spring TV season is almost over!  With your favorite shows wrapping up in the next few weeks, what’s going to get you through to the Fall season? Below is one guest contributor’s recommendation – we invite you to submit yours!

Note:  This article, like all Summer Recommendations, is spoiler-free.

by Guest Contributor Noel Rosen

Following my good friend Ariel Faraci’s lead, I decided to blog or post about my falling in love again with another television show.  This one has been off air for a few years (2008), but still stands as one of the best television shows ever.

From April to now, I revisited the series in hopes to get another take on the show that captivated me the first time I saw it.  7 seasons (80 something episodes) in a 4 week span is strictly ludicrous and speaks to my social life, and my addiction to the show.  You can’t do that kind of stretch unless you’re really into something, you know?

For those out there who are unfamiliar with the main storyline of this fascinating FX drama (which by the way put FX on the map as a force to cable shows), it stars Michael Chiklis as Vic Mackey, an LAPD Officer who is in charge of an experimental “task force” inside a rough part of LA.   Is Mackey “corrupt”?  You bet your butt he is!  Does he get results, and bring criminals to justice?  Yes he most certainly does.   Where The Shield excels ahead of other shows (Law and Order, NCIS) is that although The Shield has intriguing cases, it’s strongest points are how well the characters are written, and how deep the themes go turning it at times into a Shakespearian tragedy.

Characters aren’t just black or white, they are shades of grey.   Take Mackey for example.  He is a loving father, and always is focused on providing for his family.  However, to others he is a bully to his peers, and he’s a thug to the people on the streets.

The Shield isn’t just about Mackey (although he dominates the show); it’s about the many different people at his work, especially his peers at the LAPD.  His best friend, Shane (portrayed by Walton Goggins) is just as duplicitous as Mackey, and just as complex.

At its heart, The Shield is about police-citizen relationships, the sociology of gangs and drugs.   It’s about politics, and the power players in change.   It’s got everything you need for a gripping drama.  I really could write a Tolstoyian novel about all the things you can get out of the show but I think that’d spoil the journey.

I just finished the last episode, “Family Meeting” (Season 7, Episode 13), and I thought to myself: “Since the first episode, where have we gone from and arrived too?” I thought about the characters, went through their individual storylines, and who they are now.  Like life, some people change for the better, some change for the worst.  Some stay the same.   One thing I find that writers and executives do for season finales and series finales is they try to tie up all loose ends, and it becomes so contrived.  They force characters to do things that just don’t seem right, and you’re left thinking:
“What the hell did they do that for?”

I can unequivocally say that in The Shields 7 year run, I probably have thought this twice EVER.   Both times revolved around a minor character, and was very irrelevant to the big picture of the show.

So if you’re looking for a television show that really is fascinating, edgy, and will keep you wanting more, then turn off NCIS, and watch The Shield!

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