The Shield - Series 4 - Complete  -
With the addition of Glenn Close to its already excellent cast, The Shield entered its fourth season with tensions high and tempers flaring. Aceveda (Benito Martinez) has gained political clout on the City Council, and former Farmington district officer Monica Rawling (Close) is introduced as the new Captain of "the Barn," where she immediately confronts a maelstrom of personal and professional turmoil. His strike team now splintered, Mackey (Michael Chiklis) has returned to routine detective duty, while Shane (Walton Goggins) and new partner "Army" Renta (Michael Peña) are neck-deep in trouble with Farmington's "untouchable" drug-lord, Antwon Mitchell, a new villain played to perfection by actor/comedian Anthony Anderson. This seemingly traitorous predicament places Shane at further odds with former strike-teammates Mackie, Lemon (Kenneth Johnson) and Ronnie (David Rees Snell), and while Wyms (CCH Pounder) resents Rawling's promotion, the "Dutch" (Jay Karnes) makes a selfish backroom deal that causes further friction with Wyms and Mackey. Tensions are intensified by Rawling's aggressive seizure of homes and property paid for with drug money -- an effective campaign that forces "Danny" (Catherine Dent) and Julien (Michael Jace) and the entire police force to take sides in a hotly divisive civil rights debate that culminates in the murder of two Farmington cops.
Although some critics felt Close was too refined for a series as gritty as The Shield, she quickly found her place in the show's tight ensemble, earning an Emmy nomination (along with Pounder) and giving Mackey a formidable boss who earns his respect. And while Aceveda wrestles with psychosexual demons resulting from his humiliation in season 3, the high-stakes threat of Antwon Mitchell embroils the Barn in a cauldron of mistrust and political upheaval. More than any previous season, this 13-episode story arc is character-based and internally driven by clashing agendas. Sub-plots run the gamut of neighborhood killings and gang-banger conflict, but as always The Shield also finds room for plenty of mordant wit and tension-relieving sarcasm. Like all previous Shield DVDs, this four-disc set includes informative episode commentaries from the entire cast (including Close) engaged in revealing discussions of their creative process with creator Shawn Ryan and several primary writers and directors. Best of all, the "Under the Skin" documentary is a way-above-average, 60-minute survey of The Shield's day-to-day production, offering plenty of behind-the-scenes footage and eloquent insight about the challenge of maintaining high-quality drama during a fast-paced guerilla production schedule. It's essential viewing for Shield fans and anyone considering a career in television. --Jeff Shannon
Customer reviews (av rating: 4.0):
My favourite season so far : In my opinion The Shield is one of America's finest, certainly from this decade. I love the style in which this is filmed, it is done in a I think something very violent is about to happen but it doesn't style and so when it does actually happen it is very, very effective but whether it does or it doesn't, one thing is for certain, each episode is very addictive and it absolutely flys by, even more so on these boxsets minus all those ghastly adverts, wonderful. I have never been much of a fan of these kind of shows where it goes into their personal lives but sometimes there are exceptions and it must be something special and this is certainly just that, because of the way each episode ends, it is also a very can't wait for the next episode type of programme.
Judging by other comments, this season doesn't seem too popular but everybody is entitled to their own opinion and I am no different because as far as I am concerned, this is the best season I have ever seen for at least three reasons, first of all I just enjoyed this more than any other series and found it more addictive, secondly it was the introduction of the absolutely repulsive drug-lord Antwon Mitchell (played brilliantly by Anthony Anderson), what a magnificent TV villain and lastly, in my opinion an equally magnificent performance and new character, detective Monica Rawling (Glenn Close), look out for that classic in joke reference to her perfomance in the film FATAL ATTRACTION after she see's some video footage when she says something along the lines of I NEVER THOUGHT I WAS A PRUDE BUT AFTER SEEING THAT, I AM NOT SO SURE, classic. Seriously though, I was particularly impressed with the perfomance in this by Glenn Close because I have never been a really big fan of hers, she starts off very tough but fair but we don't see much of her personality and history but as this series goes on, we get to see right into her character and I truly believed she was a character who had a very interesting history just from her behaviour and this is credit to the perfomance of Glenn Close.
As for Mackey (Michael Chiklis) and the rest of the strike team, they are all as good as they have ever been and so are the rest, the consistently amusing and unique Dutch (Jay Karnes) and the brilliant and consistently slimy (in my opinion) and arch enemy of Mackey, Aceveda (Benito Martinez) who will do anything to make himself look good. There is one thing about this fourth series that I wasn't personally keen of though and that was Shane's (Walton Goggins) girlfriend, I personally hated the way that she came in between him and Mackey but it wasn't enough to stop me from being well and truly hooked. ONE OF AMERICA'S FINEST.
disappointment : I loved the previous three series of The Shield but was extremely disapponted with this one - mainly because of Glenn Close, who I thought was miscast. The usual actors were still great.
A slight drop in Strike Team action makes this season a tad disappointing : Having waited so long for Season 4 to come on DVD, I didn't expect myself to be so excited for its release. But I was. Without giving away on spoilers, Season 4 is another great season for The Shield but the slight lack of action from The Strike Team makes it possibly the weakest season yet out of the 6 aired. Funnily enough, when I say the weakest, I have to say I still really enjoyed it and this is mainly down to great newcomers to the show in the names of Glenn Close and Anthony Anderson. The slight lack of action in this season is made up for the great performances from these two characters. After a couple of minutes of watching, you forget that these two are 'Hollywood' famous people.
Any fan of the previous seasons will love this season even though its lacking in certain areas. The season ending leads to a great premise for Season 5, which is possibly the best yet. I hope you all enjoy this, cause I did.
A long time coming on region two : In season 4 of this excellent cop drama, Vic Mackey now answers to Captain Rawlings (Glenn Close) who brings a tough new leadership to the barn. The strike team has split acrimoniously. Shane works vice, Lem works with juvenile delinquents and Vic and Ronny still work violent crime out of the barn. When gangster Antwon Mitchell begins to make Shanes life difficult, the team put their differences aside to put him behind bars or in a grave. Whichever's easiest.
Whilst season 4 doesn't quite hit the dizzying heights of the three previous seasons, the shield is still far and away the best drama on the box. Anthony Anderson brings real menace to his role as the ruthless gang boss Antwon, possibly the strike teams most dangerous adversary yet. Glenn Close does a reasonable job as Rawlings and Michael Chiklis is on form as usual as the corrupt, murdering detective Mackey.
Like this? Try: The Shield: seasons 1-3
The Wire: seasons 1-3
The Strike Team Rides Again : After the events that split the Strike Team up in season 3, the Farmington precinct is going through some big changes. A new captain takes over, with an agenda that causes controversy on the streets as well as on the force. Meanwhile, Vic and Ronnie are stuck with regular detective duty.
However, things start to go bad for Vic when he discovers that Shane and his new partner are "cozying up" with gang boss Antwon Mitchell. With the ever-reckless Shane trying to be his own boss and rule the streets, it's up two Vic, Ronnie and Lem to get him out of trouble in a slow-burning but hugely rewarding season.
I thought the fourth season of The Shield started very slowly indeed. In fact, its only until Shane turns up at the end of episode 1 that things kick off. However, the slow start is more than made-up for by the sheer brilliance of the season's various storylines. Glenn Close is just right as the new captain; tough-but-fair Monica Rawling. After the hypocrite David Aceveda, its refreshing to have a captain who is honest and upstanding (although controversial).
The different storylines are all well-written and never feel like padding. Aceveda is struggling to deal with the horrific rape that took place last season, Dutch and Claudette are in the DA's "dog house" because of Claudette's investigation into a lawyer's past convictions whilst Dutch tries to move in on Mackey's ex-wife.
As usual, there are some shock moments in season four and some episodes which are just disturbing, including an encounter between Aceveda and a prostitute. As I mentioned, the season starts slow (on purpose perhaps?) and steps it up a gear or two as the Strike Team pull together to save Shane. What also makes this a terrific season is that character Antwon Mitchell who proves to be a nasty piece of work and a great quarry for Rawling and Mackey - demonstrated by the feature-length episode 'Back in the Hole'.
But despite the usual Shield grittiness, there are moments of good humour too. The scene involving a hidden camera and a singing Dutch is brilliant and helps to break up the tension and even though the climactic episode doesn't reach the highs of seasons 2 or 3, it gives us a juicy cliffhanger which Season 5 capitalised on with real skill.
The extras include episode commentaries which are always entertaining, particularly if they involve the Strike Team members. This is an essential purchase and its a shame that these later seasons took so long to reach the UK on dvd!
Buy "The Shield - Series 4 - Complete " now!