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The Shield - Season 1 [2002] - 12.97

Teeming with gang-bangers, perverts, rapists and killers, The Shield is unabashedly adult TV drama; and even liberal viewers may flinch at plots involving child pornography and serial murder. The first series of this uncompromising police drama focuses on pugnacious detective Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis), whose amoral Strike Team employs dubious tactics in the crime-ridden (and fictional) Farmington district of Los Angeles. Mackey and his maverick partners are at odds with seasoned detectives and beat cops, escalating tensions with precinct Captain Aceveda (Benito Martinez), a Latino with flexible scruples and a political agenda.

The series invites viewers to form their own judgments regarding Mackey's volatile behaviour, which includes killing an undercover cop in the electrifying pilot episode. While each episode stands alone, the arc of the series incorporates Aceveda's campaign to end Mackey's career, the self-loathing of a homosexual rookie (Michael Jace) whose partner (Catherine Dent) is Mackey's occasional mistress, a straight-laced detective (Jay Karnes) yearning for respect, Mackey's compassionate attempt to rehabilitate a crack whore (Jamie Brown, giving the season's finest guest performance), the autism of Mackey's young son and the recklessness of his closest partner (Walton Goggins) and the vigilant stoicism of Det. Wyms (CCH Pounder), who's as sensibly upright as Mackey is corrupted. The Shield is excellent TV for those who can grasp its complexities; all others beware. --Jeff Shannon

Customer reviews (av rating: 5.0):

Rating: 5:
Once it gets going - outstanding! : I recently moved house and was looking for something to entertain me whilst without tv coverage (long story). I have already quite a few tv series (including The Wire, Sopranos, 24, Firefly) and so was not too hopeful of finding something else as entertaining, thinking I'd already seen the good stuff.

I had read a lot of the reviews here, saying how great The Shield is, but I was under the impression that this was more of a CSI type show with one episode storylines, rather than a 'proper' series like The Wire, where the story advances through each episode. I am a big fan of The Wire by the way.

I was wrong to dismiss The Shield..

It is true that each episode deals with a different sub plot, eg a murder, but each episode also advances the overall story arc, and will go back to earlier stories and give further developments. Perhaps more importantly each episode also fleshes out the characters in the show.

In amongst all the action and gritty violence and dodgy dealings and stress and heroism that goes on in this cop show, you really start to learn about the characters, and care about them, to a degree that really surprised me. This is proper drama, with action. You won't get bored.....apart from perhaps in the first couple of episodes which seemed slow to me as they basically just set up the series.

Once it gets going, you won't want to stop watching. I have had a fair few late nights staying up..just to watch one more episode...and then another...

The end of the Series is great.

I am now into Series 2 and can attest to it being brilliant also, since I stayed up after midnight last night watching it!

Rating: 5:
The best show on television : Within its opening minutes, 'The Shield' sets the tone of the entire series. While new Captain David Aceveda works the media with promising statistics and outlines his proposals to make Farmington safer, Vic Mackey's strike team is chasing down a young hood and dispensing some rough justice.

This is 'The Shield', one of (if not the best) shows on TV. Based on the Rampart scandal, the series centres on a 'Strike Team' that operates in LA's Farmington district. Taking their lead from Vic, the street-savvy group do whatever is necessary to keep the streets quiet, while making a little of bit of profit on the side. But Captain Aceveda suspects Vic of being corrupt and uses an undercover cop to help take Mackey down.

With its provocative subject matter and less-than-clear-cut characters, there is lots to appreciate about 'The Shield'. Vic Mackey himself is one of the best TV characters ever, being both dispicable in his methods but ultimately noble in his cause. In order to protect his team and preserve his career, Mackey will do anything even if it involves murder. How can you root for someone who would blackmail a gay colleague or steal drugs? The show doesn't have the answers, but lets the audience decide for themselves.

The first season doesn't have as strong an arc as the later seasons, but the priority here is setting up characters and relationships between them. Individual storylines range from turf wars to rape cases, with the strike team ducking and diving in the middle, trying to stay out of Aceveda's firing line.

But other characters on the programme are just as interesting. The partnership of Dutch and Claudette is one of the best double-acts I've seen. While Dutch is the best detective in Farmington, he knows it and his ego sometimes takes over, while Claudette is the most upstanding character on the show, providing the voice of reason. Elsewhere, there are beat cops Danny (tough and aggressive) and Julian (struggling to come to terms with his sexuality). Finally, there is Aceveda who is the ultimate hypocrite, willing to forget his ethics and turn to Vic whenever it suits his political ambitions.

The dynamics within the 'Barn' are brilliant and thats before we've even taken to the streets, where the visceral action take place. Its hard not to get a rush from the frenetic camerawork and in-your-action that 'The Shield' does so well. What's more, during the proceedings there's always time for humour, especially during an episode where the Strike Team keep a basketball player under house arrest in order to make money from the bookies.

If you haven't seen 'The Shield', then its time to get aquanted because from here on it even gets better!

Rating: 5:
Excellent TV cop drama : Loosely based on the infamous Los Angeles Rampart Division scandal, The Shield is set in the fictional LA district of Farmington and centres around a special group of coppers called the Strike Team. This team, headed by morally ambiguous pitbull Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis), has been given near carte blanche to do whatever is necessary to tackle the spiraling problems of gang violence and drugs, which leads to some inevitable conflicts as they dive right in to the greyest possible areas of law enforcement.

The cast for this one is first rate, particularly Chiklis, who gives a career best performance as Vic Mackey, a man with no fear of crossing legal lines to get the job done (including, in an act that will hang over the rest of the series, murdering a fellow officer).

Although The Shield can't touch The Wire in terms of realism (it's more action- and plot-fueled than that one), much care has been taken to make this as gritty as it can be. There's a good deal of handheld camera work of the type seen in the Bourne films, and they use almost no music beyond whatever can be heard in the background. It's very effective, ensuring this always has the feel of the brutal streets Mackey and co have been assigned to police.

There are times when it would be easy to compare Vic Mackey with 24's Jack Bauer - they both have a propensity for violence and a tendency to ignore the law when it suits them - but I think Mackey emerges as the more complex and interesting character. Where 24 can often drift into a place that feels uncomfortably close to fascist propaganda, The Shield makes a point of debating the morality of its hero's behaviour rather than expecting you to encourage it. Mackey is clearly doing some good and has the best of intentions, but the question posed here is whether the price is worth paying.

If you're looking for a police drama that avoids the more clear-cut moral simplicity of shows like CSI and Law & Order, this excellent series is well worth a look.

Rating: 5:
The Most Gripping TV Drama Ever : I bought season 1 of The Shield based purely on the rave reviews I read online. I'm so glad I gave it a chance as it is probably the best drama to ever come out of the US. The Shield is set in the crime ridden streets of Farminton, Los Angeles from the point of view of cops working out of a satellite police station called 'the barn'. The main character, Vic Mackey is the head of an anti-gang unit, The Strike Team. Vic and his teams corrupt, amoral behaviour is contrasted niceley by Dutch and Claudette, two experienced detectives who prefer to go by the book. The whole Barn is under the command of Captain David Aceveda who has his own political agenda to worry about.

The Shield really absorbs the viewer as Vic and his team murder, steal and broker drug deals as a means to try and remove the scumbags from the streets of Farmington. Although Vics actions are shocking you still find yourself rooting for him as he juggles supporting a family he loves with avoiding being taken down by Aceveda and trying to stay alive on the streets.

The Shield has strong scripts, good direction and great characters and you will not be dissapointed after paying less than 15 for so much entertainment.

Rating: 5:
STRIKE FORCE KICKS SERIOUS ASS : Miss this at your peril! you will be missing the best cop show on tv ever . Set in the fictional suburbs of farmington in L.A. this gritty drama tells the story of crooked cops involving drugs , backhanders and taking down the bad guys.whilst also dealing with controversial subjects such as drug dealing ,cock fighting and other issues which i wont give away . But buy it as this is one buy you will never regret with a fifth season underway in the u.s.a. this goes from strength to strength with no sign of letting up

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