The Shield is an American crime drama television series starring Michael Chiklis that premiered on March 12, 2002, on FX in the United States, and concluded on November 25, 2008, after seven seasons. Known for its portrayal of corrupt police officers, it was originally advertised as Rampart in reference to the true life Rampart Division police scandal, on which the show's Strike Team was loosely based. The series was created by Shawn Ryan and The Barn Productions for Fox Television Studios and Sony Pictures Television.
|Created by||Shawn Ryan|
Cathy Cahlin Ryan
David Rees Snell
"Just Another Day"|
by Vivian Romero
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||7|
|No. of episodes||88 (list of episodes)|
Charles H. Eglee
|Production location(s)||Los Angeles, California|
|Running time||45–50 minutes|
Columbia TriStar Domestic Television (season 1)
Sony Pictures Television (seasons 2–7)
Fox Television Studios
The Barn Productions
20th Television |
Sony Pictures Television
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Audio format||Dolby Surround 2.0|
|Original release||March 12, 2002– November 25, 2008|
Several notable film actors took extended roles on the show, including Glenn Close, who was the female lead during the fourth season; Forest Whitaker, who guest starred in seasons 5 and 6; Laura Harring, in season 5; Franka Potente, in season 6; and Laurie Holden, in season 7.
The series has received critical acclaim as well as several awards and nominations. It won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama in 2002, and the final season won a 2008 AFI Award for best television series. In 2013, TV Guide ranked The Shield #50 on its list of the 60 Best Series of All Time. Chiklis won both the Primetime Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Lead Actor in a Drama in 2002.
The Shield follows the activities of an an experimental division of the Los Angeles Police Department set up in the fictional Farmington district ("the Farm") of Los Angeles, a district strife with ethnic gang-related violence, drug trafficking, and prostitution. Operating out of a converted church, known as the Barn, the Farmington police work to maintain the peace in the district and reduce crime.
The centerpiece of the division is the Strike Team, led by Detective Vic Mackey and his friends Shane Vendrell, Curtis Lemansky, and Ronnie Gardocki. They are tasked with using force as necessary to deal with the more violent and dangerous crimes in the area, and they try to abide by the law to the best of their abilities. However, secretly, Mackey and the Strike Team often resort to unethical and unlawful methods to coerce information and stage arrests when police procedures fail them, and take a share of various drug busts for their own personal gain. The Strike Team's questionable success rate leaves the division's head, Captain David Aceveda, suspicious of the Strike Team's methods but still values their successes as they help his political efforts to eventually become the mayor of Los Angeles. Attempts to place a fifth member on the Strike Team that is not in Mackey's close circle have gone astray. The series' pilot concludes with Mackey, suspicious of the loyalty of the latest Strike Team recruit, Terry Crowley, fatally shooting him during an arrest and covering up the act as if their suspect had done it. This sets in motion events that loom over the Strike Team and continue throughout the series.
The show has an ensemble cast featuring the other officers in the Farmington district. This includes detectives Holland "Dutch" Wagenbach, Steve Billings and Claudette Wyms, uniformed officers Sgt. Danielle "Danny" Sofer, Julien Lowe, and Tina Hanlon. The series has a variety of subplots, notably Aceveda's political aspirations and his suffering of a sexual assault; Mackey's struggle to cope with a failing marriage, two autistic children and his rebellious eldest daughter; Danny's becoming a mother; Vendrell's rocky, new marriage; Lemansky's growing fear for the safety of the Strike Team; Claudette's battle with illness; and Lowe's internal conflicts between his Christian beliefs and his homosexuality.
The Shield and the Strike Team were inspired by the real-life Rampart Division Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums (CRASH) unit within the Los Angeles Police Department. Rampart was seriously considered as the series' name and was even used in some early promotional ads for the series.
Most characters are portrayed as displaying both vice and virtue. For example, Vic's loving relationship with his children sharply contrasts with his thuggish approach to police work, although his brutality is generally directed at those who seem well-deserving of such treatment. For example, in Season 2, the Strike Team prepares to rob the "Armenian Money Train", a money laundering operation of the Armenian Mafia. Another example is Mackey letting a serial rapist be mauled by a police dog before calling the dog off.
Season 1 consisted of 13 episodes. It premiered on March 12, 2002, and concluded on June 4, 2002. David Aceveda the Captain of the Barn, in the Farmington district ("the Farm") attempts to get Detective Vic Mackey, leader of the experimental anti-gang unit called the Strike Team, off the streets. Aceveda suspects Mackey is involved in corrupt, illegal activities favoring drug dealer Rondell Robinson, to control local drug trade. To capture him, Aceveda asks a newly appointed member of the team, Terry Crowley, to gather evidence for Mackey's prosecution. Although reluctant, Crowley agrees, unaware that Mackey already knows about his assignment.
Aceveda's long-term ambition is to become Mayor of Los Angeles. To do this, he must first be elected to the City Council. The Farmington district has traditionally been held by black politicians, but given the increase in the Latino population, Aceveda thinks he can pull off an upset and be elected as the district's first Latino Council member. However, the Latino community is distrustful of law enforcement and would only support a police officer if he had exposed corruption in the police force. Aceveda's motives are, therefore, not completely altruistic.
During a raid on the house of Two-Time (a drug dealer rival of Rondell's), Mackey uses Two-Time's gun to murder Crowley, with Vendrell as his only witness. Aceveda is convinced that Mackey was responsible for Crowley's death, so he starts an internal investigation of Mackey and the Strike Team. Shane is guilt-ridden and struggles to come to terms with it. Meanwhile, Assistant Chief of Police Ben Gilroy tries to cover Mackey's tracks.
Another sub-plot involves Julien Lowe, a rookie officer who is training under the experienced Danny Sofer, as he tries to settle into the job. Due to his inexperience, Lowe often makes mistakes, which causes tension with Danny. Lowe is a devout Christian and a closeted homosexual, and struggles to reconcile the two. He also witnesses a crime committed by Mackey and the Strike Team, which Aceveda tries to use to capture Mackey. However Mackey proves to be adept at finding his adversary's weak spots.
Finally, detectives Dutch Wagenbach and Claudette Wyms try to track down an elusive serial killer whom Dutch thinks is responsible for at least four murders. While Dutch becomes obsessed with the case, Claudette frequently tries to divert his attention to their other cases.
Season 2 premiered on January 7, 2003 and concluded April 1, 2003, consisting of 13 episodes. The first half of the season mostly revolves around a brutal new drug lord, Armadillo — a sadistic child rapist who likes to set his rivals on fire using a tire "necklace" and gasoline — who begins to take over the drug trade in Farmington. Mackey, already struggling with a difficult situation at home, finds Armadillo to be a particularly difficult opponent who has the ability to out think his adversaries.
Meanwhile, Officer Sofer is involved in the shooting of a Muslim man and has to deal with the fallout from the family and Julien not confirming her version of events. Aceveda continues his run for City Council despite having to deal with an internal auditor who's own goals appear to be to destroy Aceveda. Claudette begins to suspect Mackey's actions on the street may have a criminal element. Dutch begins to lose faith in his own abilities when a death occurs under his own nose during a major case.
The later half of the season is heavily concerned with the Strike Team's plan to rob the money train, a money laundering operation of the Armenian Mob, which ends up happening in the season finale.
Season 3 premiered on March 9, 2004 and concluded on June 15, 2004, consisting of 15 episodes. The season mainly revolves around the aftermath of the money train heist and its effects on the Strike Team, as the Armenian mob and David Aceveda begin to suspect the Strike Team of having carried it out. Inspired to save the team, Curtis Lemansky burns a majority of the money, ultimately leading to a confrontation which causes the Strike Team to split up in the season finale. The Armenian mob sends Margos Dezerian to wipe out the Strike Team; Dezerian leaves a trail of murders, resulting in his own execution at the hands of Mackey. The Strike Team disbands at the end of the season when conflicts between Mackey and Vendrell become personal.
Claudette is promised a promotion to captain and maintains a supervising role throughout the season, while Aceveda prepares to move on to the city council. Near the end of the season, a public defender is shot, and the ensuing investigation leads Wyms and Dutch to discover that the victim had been a heavy drug user for the past three years. Wyms explores further and becomes very unpopular with the D.A. and around the Barn, because she reopens (against orders) the defender's lost cases. This results in her being denied the promotion to Captain of the Farmington District that she had been promised.
Dutch opens a case of a serial rapist and finds himself becoming more obsessed than usual without Claudette's backing. Julien, after suffering a beating during the season 2 finale has toughened considerably leading the Claudette feeling alarmed that he may wash out. Sofer makes a deal with Aceveda to be reinstated provided to provide him any pertinent information about other officers. 
Season 4 premiered on March 15, 2005 and concluded on June 14, 2005, consisting of 13 episodes. Glenn Close joined the main cast taking over the role as Farmington's new captain, Monica Rawling. The season dealt with the fallout from the Strike Team's disbandment. Shane Vendrell, with new partner Armando "Army" Renta (Michael Peña), enters into a dangerous situation when trying to control major drug lord Antwon Mitchell (Anthony Anderson), and seemingly accepts an order to kill Vic Mackey. The police are outraged after two officers are kidnapped and subsequently found murdered. In the end, the Strike Team is re-formed and manages to put Antwon in prison. The season also deals with the controversial asset-forfeiture policies of the new captain; Julien Lowe's opposition to these policies; and City Councilman David Aceveda's dealing with the psychological aftermath of his sexual assault incident from the previous season. The season concludes with Capt. Rawling's losing her job over a dispute with the DEA.
Other plots involve Claudette and Dutch's marginalization as detectives, because of Claudette's refusal to apologize to the DA for reopening the cases of a public defender discovered to have been a functioning drug addict. Claudette's moral stand resulted in many of the prosecutors' cases being overturned. This cost Claudette her shot at becoming Farmington Captain. Dutch attempts to resolve the situation by making a back-room deal with the DA to "keep Claudette in line" and do favors for the office in return for breaking back into action. Unfortunately this causes a rift between Claudette and Dutch forcing Dutch to confront Claudette. 
Season 5 premiered on January 10, 2006 and concluded on March 21, 2006, consisting of 11 episodes. The season revolves around Internal Affairs Division Lt. Jon Kavanaugh (Forest Whitaker)'s investigation of the Strike Team, representing one of the greatest threats the team has ever faced. As a result of Kavanaugh's turning one of Mackey's informants, IAD became aware of Lem's stealing heroin during the Antwon Mitchell investigation which he never turned in. Finding the heroin gave IAD sufficient evidence to arrest Lem, but Kavanaugh informs him about his theory of Terry Crowley's death and has Lem wear a wire to get evidence on the Strike Team. Lem warns the team he is wired and Mackey uses it to embarrass IAD. Kavanaugh, applying pressure to the team in any way he can, finds out about Mackey's share of the money train haul. After Mackey sleeps with Kavanaugh's wife as further humiliation Kavanaugh arrests Lem and makes deal with Mitchell. Mackey supports Lem and gets bail, while Vendrell worries Lem will give evidence against the team. The season concludes with Vendrell, fooled by Aceveda into believing Lem was going to turn on the Strike Team, murdering his friend and fellow team member with a hand grenade.
Other plots include Dutch discovering Claudette has a chronic illness around the same time a serial killer from their past returns forcing Claudette to a breaking point in order to get a confession. Billings as the interim "yes-man" Captain of the Barn. Sofer dealing with pregnancy and refusing to divulge the father's name. Julien training Tina, a pretty but inept rookie officer who Dutch has a crush on. And Claudette finally getting her opportunity for promotion to captain of the Barn, which she accepts on the sole condition that she gets to run the Barn her way. 
"Wins and Losses"Edit
The producers of The Shield produced a 15-minute "promosode", which premiered on Google on February 15, 2007, to bridge the gap between Seasons 5 and 6. The episode focuses on the aftermath of Lem's death, including his funeral and flashbacks as co-workers reflect upon Det. Lemansky's life. The episode was said to have cost between $500,000 and $1 million to produce. It was on bud.tv four weeks and later released to AOL and other media outlets. The "promosode" is also one of the special features included on the Season 5 DVD set.
Season 6 premiered on April 3, 2007 and concluded on June 5, 2007, consisting of 10 episodes. Continuing directly after season 5, Mackey and the Strike Team are distraught over Lem's death. Kavanaugh refuses to let the case die and resorts to Mackey's tactics of planting evidence and coercing witnesses to lie about the Strike Team, especially Mackey. Dutch and Claudette begin to suspect Kavanaugh's integrity. Kavanaugh finally confesses to his actions and finds himself under arrest.
The first half of the season deals with Mackey and Gardocki hunting and killing Guardo Lima, the Barn’s main suspect in the murder of Lem. Vendrell, overcome by guilt, becomes reckless and suicidal and enters into an affair with a teenager associated with the new One-Niner boss. The last half of the season concludes with the breakdown of Mackey and Vendrell's friendship, as Vendrell admits having killed Lem. Vendrell threatens Mackey and Gardocki with revealing their illegal exploits should Mackey attempt to arrest him for Lem's killing. Vendrell tries to get protection with the Armenians and reveals Mackey was the ringleader behind the money train robbery putting Mackey's family in danger.
Other plots include Mackey learns from Claudette that the Chief plans to force him into early retirement. After a bloody mass murder, Claudette learns the Barn could be shut down if no improvements are made by the time quarterly crime statistics are released. Aceveda finds a new backer for his mayoral campaign but soon learns he might be in over his head. Dutch's relationship with Tina becomes complicated following meddling by Billings. Julien joins the Strike Team under the leadership of a new and ineffective leader. In the final minutes of the last episode Aceveda and Mackey agree to work together to take down Aceveda's new backers. 
Season 6 was originally intended to be aired as the second half of Season 5 (in the same way that HBO split up the last season of The Sopranos); FX decided to refer to these 10 episodes as "Season 6" instead.
Season 7 premiered on September 2, 2008 and concluded on November 25, 2008, consisting of 13 episodes. Mackey and Aceveda discover that Aceveda’s mayoral campaign is being quietly backed by Mexican drug cartel intent on controlling Farmington though Mackey and Aceveda's alliance quickly disintegrates. Mackey and Vendrell also agree to work together to start a gang war between the Armenians and the Mexicans to fight the cartel and to save Mackey’s family, though Mackey vows to Gardocki to kill Vendrell. After a botched attempt by Mackey and Gardocki to have Vendrell killed in a shoot-out between Mexican and Armenian gangs, Vendrell recruits a local criminal to make a hit on Gardocki, while Vendrell prepares to ambush and kill Mackey. The plot is exposed, and Vendrell goes on the run, along with his wife Mara and son Jackson. Dutch has problems of his own while dealing with a teenaged serial killer. Mackey tries to circumvent his forced retirement by working with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement by promising to take down a major cartel boss while Aceveda also attempts to use ICE to guarantee his election. Mackey's ex-wife Corrine has learned of his many crimes and agrees to work with Dutch and Wyms to try to send him to prison. Gardocki is also implicated in the process. As part of an immunity deal engineered by ICE, Mackey admits to every crime the Strike Team has committed, beginning with his murder of Terry Crowley, and implicates Vendrell and Gardocki enough to send them to jail for life. After learning there is no way to escape prison, Vendrell poisons his pregnant wife and two-year-old son, and then commits suicide just as the police arrive. With Vendrell's death there is no longer any risk of Mackey's being sent to jail, but since Mackey already spilled everything to ICE it is now too late for Gardocki. Just when Gardocki thinks he is going to go free he is arrested by a disgusted Dutch in front of Mackey, at the Barn. Wyms reveals the terminal status of her illness to Dutch, who promises to stand by her as a friend. Desperate to escape Mackey, Corrine and the children are shown their new life in witness protection. Aceveda stands on the verge of being elected mayor. Meanwhile, Mackey is reassigned to a routine analysis desk job at ICE, where he is loathed by his co-workers, including Agent Olivia Murray (played by Laurie Holden) and ostracized by his fellow cops, who want nothing to do with him now that his many crimes have been exposed. The last moments of the saga depict Mackey retrieving his gun from his desk lock box and preparing to leave the ICE building, presumably following police sirens in the distance. The final credit sequence is interspersed with clips from the show, under Concrete Blonde's "Long Time Ago".
|Vic Mackey||Michael Chiklis||Detective||Main||Strike Team|
|Shane Vendrell||Walton Goggins||Detective||Main||Strike Team|
|Curtis "Lem" Lemansky||Kenny Johnson||Detective||Main||Strike Team|
|Ronnie Gardocki||David Rees Snell||Detective||Recurring||Main||Strike Team|
|Claudette Wyms||CCH Pounder||Captain||Main||Supervisory|
|Holland "Dutch" Wagenbach||Jay Karnes||Detective||Main||Investigative|
|Danielle "Danny" Sofer||Catherine Dent||Sergeant||Main||Patrol|
|Julien Lowe||Michael Jace||Corporal||Main||Gang Unit|
|David Aceveda||Benito Martinez||Captain
|Corrine Mackey||Cathy Cahlin Ryan||Civilian||Recurring||Main|
|Monica Rawling||Glenn Close||Captain||Main||Supervisory|
|Terry Crowley||Reed Diamond||Detective||Main||Guest||Strike Team|
|Steve Billings||David Marciano||Detective||Recurring||Main||Investigative|
|Tina Hanlon||Paula Garcés||Officer||Recurring||Main||Patrol|
- Detective Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis) is a corrupt police officer and for much of the series, leader of the Strike Team. Though effective at apprehending criminals, he has no qualms about using illegal or unethical methods, which include beating and torturing suspects, and planting evidence, tactics he regards as a means to an end. Mackey has committed several murders, including that of a police officer, Terry Crowley, which haunts him thereafter. He is perennially under investigation by his superiors, but the Machiavellian Mackey always eludes them; also, on occasions they turn a blind eye to his tactics when they need him to crack a high-profile case. Mackey's marriage to Corinne, a nurse, failed because of his numerous infidelities (including with Officer Sofer, which resulted in a child). He and Corinne have three children, two with autism, which puts more strain on him. By Season 7, Mackey is effectively forced out of the LAPD. He cuts an immunity deal with ICE in return for confessing all his crimes, including Crowley's murder, implicating Shane Vendrell and Ronnie Gardocki. Mackey discovers that Corinne and the children have disappeared into the Witness Protection Program while, to his horror, his new job at ICE is a desk job. Though safe from prosecution, Mackey has lost his family and best friends, and is now ostracized by his colleagues.
- Detective Shane Vendrell (Walton Goggins) was Vic Mackey's best friend and partner before the Strike Team was formed. He has a reckless streak, and his attempts to emulate Mackey's dealings quite often take a bad turn. During the course of the series, he meets and marries Mara, who later bears him a son, Jackson. When it appears that Lem has turned on the Strike Team, Vendrell kills him by dropping a grenade into his car. The ensuing guilt and grief force him to become reckless and suicidal, and when Mackey uncovers the truth, their friendship ends. Vendrell grows to regret his actions as part of the Strike Team and expresses great remorse for what he has become. When it is revealed that he blackmailed someone to kill Ronnie Gardocki in retaliation for Mackey and Gardocki's attempt to kill him, Vendrell goes on the run with his wife and son. However, Mackey's immunity deal with ICE ends Vendrell's hopes of sparing himself and Mara long prison sentences by testifying against Mackey. He therefore poisons his wife and son, and then kills himself.
- Detective Curtis "Lem" Lemansky (Kenny Johnson) is a cop with a conscience and an original member of the Strike Team. He has a history of working with kids and maintained a soft spot for them. His loyalty to Vic Mackey and the Strike Team led him to go along with most of their illegal schemes, although he didn't know about all of them-such as the murder of Terry Crowley. He burned most of the money from the Armenian Money Train robbery to keep the team from getting caught. Burning the money caused a temporary split within the team, although they later got back together. Shane Vendrell kills Lemansky in the Season 5 finale, because Vendrell is under the mistaken impression that Lemansky is going to rat on the rest of the team. Lem was unmarried and had no children.
- Detective Ronnie Gardocki (David Rees Snell) is the Strike Team's surveillance and electronics expert. Though little is known about Ronnie, he has proven to be the most solid, emotionally stable member of the Strike Team and has remained loyal to Vic out of enlightened self-interest, knowing that divisions between them would only lead to bad ends for both. The scars on his face, given to him by Armadillo in Season 2, are proof of his loyalty to the team. In the final season, he becomes the official leader of the Strike Team. He was especially angry when he learned that Shane murdered Lem, and uneasy about working with Shane again. He and Vic concoct a plan to have the Mexicans kill Shane along with the Armenians that knew about the Money Train robbery. Shane survives and hires a pimp to kill Ronnie, which also fails. When Shane flees after being implicated, Claudette disbands the Strike Team, forcing Ronnie to become a "suit and tie" detective while trying to help Vic and stay out of prison. Vic makes an immunity deal with ICE in return for confessing all the Strike Team's crimes, and lies to Ronnie that he has been granted the same deal. Ronnie only discovers Vic's betrayal when he is arrested in the final episode and is led away cursing Vic.
- Detective Terry Crowley (Reed Diamond) was an honest, fair, effective and well-liked detective from the Robbery Division. When the Barn started operating, Aceveda brought Terry in to join the Strike Team in order to serve as a possible replacement for Vic if he failed as leader of the team. For a period of time, Terry was the Strike Team's driver. After realizing that his colleagues are all dirty, Terry approached Aceveda who asked him to spy on Vic and the team so that they may build a case against them. After delivering the usual news to Aceveda, Aceveda called an associate from the Justice Department and they asked Terry to testify against the team, in exchange Terry receives a higher-paid job in Washington, D.C. and other expenses. However, Vic learned (off-screen) about the deal through his mentor Assistant Chief Ben Gilroy. After Terry asks from Vic to be involved in the team's big busts, he and the rest plan to raid the home of a drug dealer. During the raid, Vic takes the drug dealer's gun and shoots Terry in the face, killing him.
Administration and policeEdit
- Councilman David Aceveda (Benito Martinez) is a politically ambitious man who was the captain of the Barn from seasons one to three. He was then elected to the Los Angeles City Council and had ambitions to become Mayor. He is one of Vic Mackey's main rivals, although on occasions they forged uneasy alliances for their mutual benefit. In Season 3, Aceveda was orally raped at gunpoint by two gang members. He tracked down and killed one of his assailants, and struck a deal with drug lord Antwon Mitchell to murder the other in prison. During the final season, Aceveda and Mackey worked together to bring down Cruz Pezuela, a corrupt businessman who initially bankrolled Aceveda's mayoral campaign and then tried to blackmail him with photographs of his sexual assault. At the series' close, Aceveda looked set to become Los Angeles' next mayor.
- Captain Claudette Wyms (CCH Pounder) is a veteran detective. Claudette, along with her partner Dutch, can be viewed as the voice of morality at the Barn; as a result, she is often at odds with Vic over his tactics. It emerges that Claudette has suffered from lupus for fifteen years and resents Dutch's subsequent over-protectiveness of her. Against the orders of her superiors, Claudette reopened cases overseen by a compromised public defender, which cost her promotion to Captain. She eventually got the job in Season 5. As Captain, she did her best to marginalize Mackey and was determined to gather enough evidence to indict him. She was left furious upon discovering Mackey's generous immunity deal with the ICE. During the final season, her lupus returned and began to interfere with her ability to do her job. In the final episode, she admitted to Dutch that her illness is terminal.
- Detective Holland "Dutch" Wagenbach (Jay Karnes) is a persistent and successful police detective, but is regarded as a pompous and socially inept nerd. He is often the butt of jokes at the barn, particularly from Mackey. Along with his partner, Claudette Wyms, Dutch is the moral center of the show as a clean cop who does not engage in illegal police activities. He shares a close friendship with Claudette and shows genuine concern for her after learning of her lupus diagnosis. Dutch is usually the first called to investigate violent crimes because of his specialization in criminal profiling and serial killers. In Season 1 he got an impromptu round of applause from everyone at the barn, including Vic, after he painstakingly proved the guilt of a suspected serial killer. Later, he was seen strangling a live cat after questioning an actual serial killer about what he sees in his victim's eyes. Dutch was unsuccessful with women, but he did have several fleeting romances, including with Danny Sofer, and tried to ask out Tina Hanlon. He embarked on a seemingly vengeful relationship with Vic's ex-wife, which caused even more friction with Vic and led to Dutch challenging him to a fight. Dutch's investigation into the Armenian money train heist and his suspicions that the Strike Team were involved eventually brought about the quartet's downfall.
- Sergeant Danielle "Danny" Sofer (Catherine Dent) is a patrol officer who aspires to become a detective. She has an on-again-off-again sexual relationship with Vic and a complicated history with Dutch. She is assigned desk duty as a result of her pregnancy and takes maternity leave after the birth of her son, Lee. The identity of the father was initially unknown; later, in the sixth-season episode "Chasing Ghosts," it was learned that it was Vic. Shortly afterwards, Danny returned from maternity leave early so that she could take the position of Sergeant at the Barn. In Season Seven Vic threatens to force Danny to take a paternity test.
- Officer Julien Lowe (Michael Jace) is a uniformed officer who is partnered with Sofer for the majority of the series. During the formation of a new Strike Team, Claudette offered Julien to Kevin Hiatt as a possible addition to the team. Claudette made the offer to Julien, who was hesitant, mainly because of the thought of being partnered with Vic on a daily basis. After being assured that Mackey was going to be moved out of the team, Julien accepted the promotion. Despite his desire to become a fully functioning member of the Strike Team, Julien knew that he was on the outside of the clique. When the Strike Team is dissolved for the final time, he becomes a uniformed officer again. He is asked to choose which side he will be on when Claudette finally has a case to go after Mackey and Vendrell. A recurring plotline for Lowe is the conflict between his Christian beliefs and his homosexual desires, to the point where he goes to a sexual reorientation program and marries a woman having chosen God and community, though in the last episode he's seen looking longingly at several men while on patrol, indicating that his wants and desires haven't left yet.
- Captain Monica Rawling (Glenn Close) was the appointed Captain at the Barn who took over from Aceveda, after Claudette was rejected. She implemented a lot of changes, such as fixing the Barn's male toilets and, more importantly, creating seizure policies which proved to be somewhat controversial. She had a longstanding hatred with gang leader Antwon Mitchell and was suspicious of Vic Mackey, even having him and his team investigated. She finds out that Shane was solicited by Mitchell to kill Vic. She is fired after she embarrasses the DEA by voiding the immunity deal they granted Mitchell (by getting the Strike Team to catch a Salvadoran cartel leader before Mitchell's information could), and the feds threaten to cut off all federal highway funding to L.A. if Rawlings stayed.
- Corrine Mackey (Cathy Cahlin Ryan) was once married to Vic Mackey and had three children with him, two of whom have autism. She works as a nurse and once had a brief courtship with Dutch. Despite needing Vic in her life, she eventually turns on him and helps Dutch and Claudette build a case to send Vic behind bars. She is moved to witness protection by ICE to keep her and her children away from Vic, through a fear she has that he may try to harm her after he finds out what she has been doing.
- Detective Steve Billings (David Marciano) is a slack, somewhat cowardly detective who was made acting Captain after the departure of Rawlings and later replaced by Claudette. Billings has an uneasy working relationship with Dutch, who dislikes his nonchalant attitude to the job. He and Dutch were partnered together after Claudette's promotion, which prompted Dutch to request a transfer, which was rejected. When he puts his mind to it, Billings is shown to be a competent detective, but he is mostly known for his schemes, such as bringing his own vending machines into the barn. He usually brings Dutch in on his plots and the two have come to blows on at least one occasion. After being injured during a brawl between Kavanaugh and Vic, he tries to sue the department for $2 million, although he settles for two days backpay.
- Probationary Officer Tina Hanlon (Paula Garcés) is a new recruit at the barn, who is trained by Julien. She is very attractive and well aware of her sexuality, which often earns her the ire of Danny Sofer. Tina's constant mistakes would have seen her out of the force, had it not been for a bungle in which Billings, while trying to see who was stealing from his vending machines, obtained photos of her changing. He involved Dutch and, in order to protect her old partner, Claudette allowed Tina to remain on the force under Dutch's supervision. She left the Barn after being made a spokesperson for the police force, but opted to transfer back. She had a sexual tryst with Kevin Hiatt, which was organized by Billings, although she later expressed regret and said that Dutch always had a chance with her, only he never took it. The day on which Shane Vendrell killed himself was her one-year anniversary as an officer, and although he was harsh on her at times, Julien celebrated by buying her a cake and throwing her a little party.
The series was created by Shawn Ryan. Ryan served as an executive producer for all seven seasons and was the series head writer and showrunner throughout its run. Prior to creating the series Ryan had been working as a producer and writer for the supernatural detective series Angel. He began his television career as a writer for the crime drama Nash Bridges. Nash Bridges was a more up-beat show, and Ryan was required to scripts that showed the hero succeeding in a positive way, and Ryan sought to write something far different to get that out of his system. He had considered what a cop drama would be like on a premium cable network like HBO and Showtime, taking into account the edge that shows like Homicide: Life on the Street and NYPD Blue had brought to the genre. While trying to decide a direction, the Rampart scandal within the LAPD was exposed, and Ryan took inspiration from those events to craft out a pilot script. He also recently became a father, and wrote into the script his concerns about raising a child in a crime-ridden world. The pilot script had ended with Mackey shooting Crowley; Ryan had the idea of an alternate ending to Donnie Brasco, of where Al Pacino's mobster character would have shot Johnny Depp's undercover FBI character, revealing that the mobster had known his identity all along. He used this ending idea in the pilot for The Shield, not expecting to have to worry about any consequences as he wasn't sure the script would be picked up. Ryan later commented in 2017 that if had known how long The Shield would have run for, he would have had a few more episodes to help establish Crowley's character before having Mackey kill him off.
At the time, around the year 2000, the FX network, a division under 21st Century Fox, was looking to find what would be the network's first drama series to help set the tone for their network, given the ongoing success of The Sopranos on rival network HBO. FX's Kevin Reilly wanted a show about an antihero but believed that the cop genre had become tired. However, Reilly was amazed by Ryan's script, and greenlit the show in mid-2001. Reilly worked with Ryan to help determine how much violence and nudity could be used within the show, as unlike HBO, FX was an ad-sponsored cable channel and beholden to certain content considerations. As they were working towards this, the September 11 attacks occurred, and in their aftermath, Fox was concerned if the show would be appropriate at this time, believing that audiences would not be receptive to seeing police officers portrayed in a negative light. The situation changed following the theatrical release of Training Day in October 2001, a film centered around corrupt cops that was a financial success. Fox was assured by Training Day's reception from audiences that The Shield was allowed to continue, with the pilot first broadcast in March 2002.
Ryan had written the part of Mackey for someone with a young Harrison Ford personality. He had been surprised with Michael Chiklis' audition. Chiklis had gained a soft reputation within Hollywood based on his roles from The Commish and Daddio, and felt that he needed to have a change of pace in future roles, as he was finding himself cast for older, overweight parts. Chiklis spent six months away from acting and losing a significant amount of weight, and for his audition on The Shield, had shaved his head. Ryan was taken by this new appearance feeling it wasn't appropriate, but found that Chiklis had a certain charisma in his delivery that worked well into the Mackey character. This allowed Ryan to write Mackey as a compassionate figure, able to get away with certain improper actions through his charisma, which served to draw fans to sympathize with Mackey throughout the series.
Scott Brazil was a co-executive producer for the first season. He became an executive producer for the second season. He was a regular director for the series until his death during production of the sixth season. Brazil and Ryan had worked together on Nash Bridges.
Several of the series more junior writers became executive producers during its run. Glen Mazzara was an executive story editor for the first season and became an executive producer from the fifth season onwards. Mazzara had also worked with Ryan on Nash Bridges. Kurt Sutter and Scott Rosenbaum were staff writers for the first season and became executive producers for the sixth season onwards. Adam E. Fierro joined the crew as a co-producer and writer for the third season and was promoted to executive producer for the seventh season. Veteran television writer Charles H. Eglee joined the crew as a consulting producer for the third season and was promoted to executive producer from the fifth season onwards.
Emmy Award-winning The Sopranos veteran James Manos, Jr. served as a consulting producer and writer for the first two seasons. He left the show to develop the Showtime serial killer drama Dexter. NYPD Blue veteran writer Kevin Arkadie was a co-executive producer for the first season only. Nash Bridges writer and producer Reed Steiner replaced Arkadie as co-executive producer for the second season only. Kevin G. Cremin was the series unit production manager throughout its run and became a co-executive producer from the sixth season onwards.
Angel writing team Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain joined the crew as co-producers for the third season and became supervising producers before leaving at the close of the sixth season. Dean White was a producer and regular director throughout the series run. Star Michael Chiklis became a producer from the second season onwards and also regularly directed episodes. Post-production supervisor Craig Yahata joined the crew in the third season and eventually became a producer for the seventh season.
The series pilot and finale were directed by Clark Johnson; Johnson had previously starred in Homicide: Life on the Street and made his directing debut on that series. Guy Ferland directed episodes for all seven seasons of The Shield. Rohn Schmidt was a cinematographer for all seven seasons and made his television directing debut on the show. Stephen Kay was a frequent director for the series. Gwyneth Horder-Payton was an assistant director for the show's early seasons and made her television directing debut in the fourth season, she continued to regularly direct episodes thereafter.
Film director Frank Darabont directed an episode for the series. Darabont later reunited with several writers from The Shield for his television adaptation of The Walking Dead comics, including Charles H. Eglee, Glen Mazzara and Adam Fierro. Acclaimed playwright and film writer and director David Mamet directed an episode of the series. Mamet and Ryan collaborated as executive producers on military thriller The Unit. Screenwriter Ted Griffin (Oceans Eleven) wrote a single episode of the show. Griffin later created Terriers and was reunited with Shawn Ryan as a fellow executive producer. The series started with real Los Angeles Police Officers as Technical Advisors; Officers Pablo Vitar and Rafael Dagnesses.
Time magazine's James Poniewozik ranked it #8 in his list of the Top 10 Returning Series of 2007 and later included it in his list of the top 100 greatest TV shows of all-time. Entertainment Weekly named it the 8th best TV show of the 2000s, saying, "Det. Vic Mackey didn't just clean up the streets--he cleaned up on the streets. Would he pay for those sins? This gutsy TV drama kept us guessing." On the review aggregator website Metacritic, the first season received universal acclaim from critics, with a score of 92 out of 100, based on 28 reviews. The seventh season also received universal acclaim from critics, with a score of 85 out of 100, based on 14 reviews.
Awards and nominationsEdit
The series received six Primetime Emmy Award nominations during its series run. For the first season, Michael Chiklis won for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, and the pilot episode received nominations for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series and Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series, for Shawn Ryan and Clark Johnson respectively. Chiklis received a consecutive nomination Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for the second season. For the fourth season, Glenn Close was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and CCH Pounder was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
For the Golden Globe Awards, the series received five nominations, with Michael Chiklis receiving three consecutive nominations for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama, and winning the award for the first season. The first season also earned the series the award for Best Drama Series. Glenn Close was also nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama.
For the Satellite Awards, the series received seven nominations. CCH Pounder won two consecutive times for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama, Michael Chiklis received two nominations with one win for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama, and Forest Whitaker was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television. The series won the award for Best Television Drama Series and received a nomination for that category the following year.
For the Television Critics Association Awards, the first season received nominations for Outstanding New Program of the Year, Outstanding Achievement in Drama, and Program of the Year, and Michael Chiklis won for Individual Achievement in Drama. The series received nominations again for Outstanding Achievement in Drama for the next two seasons. For the final season, it was nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Drama and Program of the Year, as well as receiving the Heritage Award. Also, Walton Goggins was nominated for Individual Achievement in Drama.
Other awards and nominations include a 2005 Peabody Award and Michael Chiklis being nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series for the first season.
In 2004, IDW Publishing released a five-issue comic book limited series written by Jeff Mariotte and illustrated by Jean Diaz titled The Shield: Spotlight. A controversial journalist is murdered and the barn is under intense media scrutiny. Vic and the Strike Team find the murderer but uncover a bigger conspiracy which has Dutch enthralled. All the while, Shane is trying to keep his face out of the media when he accidentally sets up a chance to make the team a whole lot of money recovering stolen art, and Julien and Danny struggle to realize when is the right time to go "by the book" and when is not. When uniformed officers spot the Strike Team with the stolen art, they have no choice but to do things the right way. Aceveda is warned to drop the journalists investigation or risk losing political backing. He drops the case which leaves Dutch feeling disheartened.
In November 2012, all seven seasons were made available for purchase on iTunes. On February 26, 2013, Amazon.com announced the addition of the series to its Prime service. All seven seasons are available on Netflix throughout Latin America.
Home media releasesEdit
The first five seasons were originally distributed by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment for region 1. However, in 2008, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment became the rights holders for the DVDs. They released season 6 and re-released seasons 1–5 in slimmer packaging in 2008, and released season 7 in 2009. International releases have always been distributed by Sony, who have only ever presented the show in 16:9 (widescreen) format, as opposed to the Fox releases, which presented the show in 4:3. All the re-releases by Sony along with seasons 6 and 7, and the complete series box set are presented in widescreen. The Sony region 2 release of season 5 has a shortened version of the season finale, 48 minutes as opposed to the regular 67-minute version.
|DVD title||Release dates|
|Region 1 (Fox)||Region 1 (Sony Pictures)||Region 2||Region 4|
|The Complete First Season||January 7, 2003||March 25, 2008||July 21, 2003||February 11, 2004|
|The Complete Second Season||January 6, 2004||March 25, 2008||August 9, 2004||April 5, 2005|
|The Complete Third Season||February 22, 2005||March 25, 2008||May 28, 2007||May 11, 2007|
|The Complete Fourth Season||December 26, 2005||March 25, 2008||July 2, 2007||November 15, 2007|
|The Complete Fifth Season||March 27, 2007||March 25, 2008||January 28, 2008||March 10, 2009|
|The Complete Sixth Season||N/A||August 26, 2008||March 24, 2008||August 18, 2009|
|The Complete Seventh Season||N/A||June 9, 2009||June 8, 2009||November 24, 2010|
|The Complete Series||N/A||November 3, 2009||June 8, 2009||November 23, 2010|
On September 5, 2005, The Shield: Music from the Streets was released by Lakeshore Entertainment. The soundtrack features 19 tracks, including two versions of the theme song and tracks ranging from artists such as Black Label Society to Kelis.
After a rocky development cycle, The Shield, the video game, was released for the PlayStation 2 on January 9, 2007, and for the PC on January 22, 2007. It is a third person shooter that bridges the gap between the third and fourth seasons by exploring the gang war between the Byz-Lats and the One-Niners. It received generally negative reviews.
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