The Shield

The Shield

infobox Television
show_name = The Shield

caption = "The Shield" title card
rated =
format = Crime Drama
picture_format = 480i (SDTV)
runtime = approx. 45 min.
creator = Shawn Ryan
starring = Michael Chiklis
Glenn Close
Catherine Dent
Paula Garces
Walton Goggins
Michael Jace
Kenneth Johnson
Jay Karnes
David Marciano
Benito Martinez
Cathy Cahlin Ryan
David Rees Snell
Forrest Whitaker
and CCH Pounder
opentheme = "Just Another Day" by Vivian Ann Romero, Ernesto J. Bautista & Rodney Alejandro
country = Flag|United States
network = FX Networks
first_aired = March 12, 2002
last_aired = present
num_seasons = 7
num_episodes = 81
list_episodes = List of The Shield episodes
imdb_id = 0286486 |
Infobox TV ratings
usa_tv = TV-MA (FX)
TV-14-DLSV (syndication)
dt_tv = 18
aus_tv = MA
nz_tv = R16
sg_tv = M18

"The Shield" is an American police-drama television series shown on FX Networks in the U.S. and other networks internationally. The show is known for its controversial portrayal of corrupt police officers and was originally advertised as "Rampart" [IMDB Trivia [] ] in reference to the true life Rampart Division police scandal, which the show's Strike Team is loosely based upon. The first season gained the most Emmy nominations for a basic cable drama. The series was created by Shawn Ryan and The Barn Productions for Fox Television Studios and Sony Pictures Television (formerly Columbia TriStar Television).

Notable film actors who took extended roles on the show included Glenn Close in season 4 and Forest Whitaker in seasons 5 and 6. "The Shield" finished its 6th season and was renewed for its 7th and final season, which began airing on September 2, 2008. [cite web |url= |title=The Shield renewed for a seventh season|accessdate=2007-06-24|date=2006-06-05] [ [ The Shield show page] ]

About the series

"The Shield" is about an experimental division of the Los Angeles Police Department set up in the fictional Farmington district ("the Farm") of Los Angeles, using a converted church ("the Barn") as their police station, and featuring a group of detectives called the Strike Team who will stop at nothing to bring their version of justice to the streets. Michael Chiklis has top billing with his portrayal of Strike Team leader Vic Mackey. The show has an ensemble cast that will normally run a number of separate story lines through each episode.

Detective Vic Mackey is the leader of the Strike Team, a four-man anti-gang unit based on the LAPD's real-life Rampart Division CRASH unit ("Rampart" was seriously considered as the series name and was even used in some early promotional ads for the series [cite web|url=|title=The Shield|author-Judith Grant|date=2002-05-22|accessdate=2007-02-24|work=Picturing Justice, the On-Line Journal of Law and Popular Culture] ). The Strike Team uses a variety of illegal and unethical methods to maintain peace on the streets, while making a profit through illegal drug protection schemes and robbery. The Strike Team isn't above planting drugs on and coercing confessions out of gang members or framing them. Attempts to give the team a fifth member have frequently led to near-catastrophe for the group.

"The Shield" has a variety of subplots, notably David Aceveda's political aspirations and internal confrontation of a previous sexual assault; Vic Mackey's struggle to cope with a failing marriage; and Julien Lowe's internal conflicts between his belief in the teachings of the Bible and his latent homosexuality.

Common themes are the citizens' distrust of police, the social impact of drugs and gang warfare, and the conflict between ethics and political expediency. Most characters are portrayed as having both vice and virtue. For example, Vic's loving relationship with his children contrasts with his thuggish attitude towards police work; in addition, his brutality is generally directed at those who seem well deserving of such treatment — in Season 2, the Strike Team prepares to rob the "Armenian Money Train," a money laundering operation of the Armenian Mafia. Another episode had Mackey cornering a serial rapist, then letting him be attacked by a police dog before calling the dog off.

eason Overviews

eason 1

Season 1 premiered March 12, 2002. It gives an introduction to The Strike Team and the other characters of the Barn. Important plotlines are the aftermath of Vic's murder of Terry Crowley and Captain Aceveda's scheming to bring Vic and the Strike Team down; Dutch and Claudette's attempts at tracking down a serial killer; Julien's training under Danny and his struggle with his homosexuality; Vic's use of Rondell Robinson to control the local drug trade and the fallout; as well as the corrupt actions of Ben Gilroy.

eason 2

Season 2 premiered January 7, 2003. 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. Meanwhile, Officer Sofer is involved in a shooting of a Muslim man and has to deal with the fallout. This season is also heavily concerned with the Strike Team's plan to rip off the money train of the Armenian Mob, which ends up going down in the season finale.

eason 3

Season 3 premiered March 9, 2004. The season mainly revolves around the aftermath of the Money Train Heist and its effects on the Strike Team, as the Armenian mob and also David Aceveda begins to suspect the Strike Team. In order to save the team, Lem (Curtis "Lemonhead" Lemansky) burns a majority of the money, ultimately leading to a confrontation which causes the Strike Team to split up in the season finale. Claudette had been promised a promotion to captain and throughout the season was in a supervising role, while Aceveda prepared to move onto city council. Near the end of the season an assistant district attorney was shot, and Wyms and Dutch discovered she had been a heavy drug user for the past 3 years. Wyms explored further and became very unpopular with the D.A. and around the Barn because she was (against orders) reopening the assistant DA's closed cases. This resulted in her being denied her promotion to captain of the Farmington District.

eason 4

Season 4 premiered March 15, 2005, with the addition of Glenn Close taking over the role as Farmington's Captain. The season dealt with the fallout from the Strike Team disbandment. Shane Vendrell, with new partner Army, enters into a dangerous situation with major drug lord Antwon Mitchell (Anthony Anderson), and seemingly accepts an order to kill Vic Mackey. The police were outraged after two officers were kidnapped and subsequently found murdered. In the end, the team gets back together and manages to bring Antwon into jail. The season also deals with the controversial asset forfeiture policies of the new captain; Julien's opposition to these policies; and David Aceveda dealing with the psychological aftermath of his sexual assault incident from the previous season. The season concludes with Captain Rawlings losing her job over a dispute with the DEA. This plot twist reflected a real-life need for Glenn Close to return to New York.One of the secondary plots involves Claudette and Dutch being continually put on the sidelines because of Claudette's refusal to apologize to the DA for reopening the cases of a public defender who was discovered to be high during many of her trials. Besides being an embarrassment to the DA's office, many of the convictions in question were overturned. This cost Claudette her shot at being the Farmington Captain and Dutch as her partner suffered being marginalized in the barn.

eason 5

Season 5 premiered January 10, 2006. The season revolved around Internal Affairs Department Lt. Jon Kavanaugh's (played by Forest Whitaker) investigation into the Strike Team, representing one of the greatest threats the team has ever faced. As a result of Kavanaugh turning one of Vic's informants, IAD became aware of Lem stealing heroin which he never turned in. Having found the heroin, IAD is capable of arresting Lem, but Kavanaugh wants him to incriminate the whole team and has him wear a wire, which he warns the team of and they use it to embarrass IAD. Kavanaugh puts on any form of pressure he can, finds out about Vic's share of the Money Train money, and ultimately arrests Lem having made a deal with Antwon Mitchell to put Lem there if convicted. Vic stands with him and gets bail, while Shane is worried he'll be turned. Claudette finally gets her shot as the captain of the Barn which she reluctantly accepts. The season concluded with Shane Vendrell murdering his friend and fellow team member Lem with a hand grenade.

"Wins and Losses"

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 and was on Bud.TV for a 4 week period and later released to AOL and other media outlets. [cite web |url= |title=FX to debut mini-episode of The Shield online |accessdate=2007-02-25 |format= |work= ] The "promosode" is also one of the special features included on the Season 5 DVD set.

eason 6

Season 6 premiered on FX on April 3, 2007. Continuing directly after season 5, Vic and the Strike Team are distraught over Lem's death. Shane has been overcome by guilt and becomes reckless and suicidal. Kavanaugh refuses to let the case die and resorts to planting evidence and coercing witnesses to lie about the Strike Team and specifically, Vic. Dutch and Claudette begin to suspect his integrity and Kavanaugh finally confesses to his actions and finds himself under arrest. Vic learns from Claudette that the Chief plans to force him into early retirement — and vows to wreak bloody vengeance on Lem's killer before losing his badge. Claudette learns that the Barn could be shut down if no improvements are made by the time quarterly crime statistics are released. The Armenian mob boss is portrayed by German actress Franka Potente.

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). However, FX decided instead to refer to these ten episodes as "Season 6."

eason 7

Season 7 premiered September 2 2008 [ [ The Shield show page] ] [cite web |url= |title=When does the new season of The Shield Start|accessdate=2008-05-13 |format= |work= ] , and will consist of 13 one-hour episodes. This is the final season according to its creator and the network. [cite web |url= |title=Update: status report on TV shows - ABC goes for Thursday trifecta |accessdate=2008-02-13 |format= |work= ] This has also been confirmed by commercials on FX, billing this year as "the Final Act."

After dealing with the immediate danger of Diro Kesakhian's assassin, Mackey, Gardocki, Vendrell and Aceveda form a strained alliance in order to manufacture a gang war between the Armenian mafia under Ellis Rezian and the Mexican cartels represented by Cruz Pezuela. Mackey engineers a 30-day stay-of-execution on his review-board hearing with the help of a box of extortion evidence acquired from one of Pezuela's associates. Agent Olivia Murray (Laurie Holden) joins an investigation into a pair of dragging deaths connected with a dispute between Mexican and Salvadoran cartels. Wyms and Wagenbach use an old case to trick Billings into revealing his fraudulent insurance claim, forcing Billings to return to work.

"The Shield" is ending its seven-year run this November. [ [ FX Hit "The Shield" Is Ending Its 7-Season Run] , "Yahoo!", September 15 2008]


trike Team

*Detective Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis) is a corrupt but effective and motivated police officer; he steals from drug dealers, beats and tortures suspects, and has committed murder more than once. Mackey sees his tactics as a means to an end. Despite his misdeeds, he is a devoted father, a loyal partner to other officers on his team, and will readily protect those he sees as innocent victims. He is the former leader of the Strike Team. Mackey's family life is one of the many plotlines followed throughout the series. His marriage to his wife, a nurse, failed after numerous instances of infidelity on Mackey's part (at least one of which was his relationship with Officer Sofer, which allegedly resulted in an illegitimate child although the writers have neither confirmed nor denied Vic is the father). Mackey and his wife have three children, two of whom are autistic. The special education needs of Mackey's children are one of many sources of stress (monetary and emotional) for Mackey.

*Detective Shane Vendrell (Walton Goggins) was Vic Mackey's best friend and partner before the strike team was formed. His reckless attitude and questionable decisions often got him into trouble, after which Vic typically bailed him out. He has a wife, Mara, as well as a young son, Jackson. Shane requested a transfer from the strike team after he confessed to Vic that he killed fellow Strike Team member Curtis Lemansky. Vic threatened to kill Shane if he saw him again. He later canceled his request to transfer to his old spot in vice due to the fact that Vic was going to be forced into retirement.

*Detective Curtis "Lem" Lemansky (Kenny Johnson) was a cop with a conscience. An original member of the Strike team, Lemansky was killed in the finale of the fifth season by Detective Shane Vendrell. 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 more and more in recent times to be the most solid, well-rounded member of the Strike Team and has remained fiercely loyal to Vic through thick and thin. The burn scars present 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.

*Officer Julien Lowe (Michael Jace) is an officer assigned to the Strike Team who never took the Detective's Exam. 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 and is now an official member of the Strike Team.

Administration and police

* Councilman David Aceveda (Benito Martinez) is a politically ambitious former police captain elected to the Los Angeles City Council. He is one of Vic Mackey's main rivals, although often they have forged uneasy alliances for various reasons. He was orally raped at gunpoint, which eventually drove him to arrange a deal with druglord Antwon Mitchell to kill his rapist in prison.
* 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. Later in the series, Claudette revealed to Dutch that she has had lupus for fifteen years. In season 5, she is appointed Captain after several attempts in previous years. After finally being promoted to captain, Claudette proves to be (at least) as capable as her predecessors; however, the pressures of managing the Barn (and the Strike Team) soon prove difficult for her to bear.

* Detective Holland "Dutch" Wagenbach (Jay Karnes) is characterized by many as a socially inept nerd even though he is a successful police detective. Assigned to the Farmington District of Los Angeles, he is often the first called to investigate violent crimes because of his specialization in criminal profiling and serial killers. Along with his partner, Detective Claudette Wyms, Dutch is widely considered to be the moral center of the show owing to his willingness to do the right thing in spite of the temptation to engage in illegal police activities. However, a scene in one episode showed him strangling a live cat, leading many to wonder what really makes Det. Wagenbach tick. [cite web|title=Dutch treat for fans of 'The Shield'|url=] Dutch's relationship with Vic and Shane has been strained from the start, exacerbated by the brief relationship between Dutch and Vic's wife after her divorce from Vic.

* 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 heavily implied that it was Vic. Shortly afterwards, Danny returned from maternity leave early so that she could take the position of Sergeant at the Barn.


"The Shield" has won critical praise for its realism, particularly in its portrayal of gang violence in Los Angeles. [web cite|url= |title=The Shield: The Complete First Season |accessdate=2007-04-12] Although names of actual gangs are not used, the portrayals are based on real gangs. [cite web|url=|title=The Shield Lexicon: Farmington's Gangs|accessdate=2007-02-24] Latino gangs with names such as "Los Magnificos" (or "Los Mags"), the Byzantine Latinos (or "Byz-Lats") and the "Toros" are a constant thorn in the Strike Team's side in the early seasons of the show, whilst African American gangs become more prominent in later episodes. In particular, a gang calling itself the "One-Niners" is central to the plot of Season 4. Like the notorious real-life Blood and Crip gangs, the One-Niners identify themselves strongly with one color (in this case purple), wearing it on various items of clothing. To enhance its realism, the show makes very little use of background music until the end of each episode.

"Time" magazine's James Poniewozik named it one of the Top 10 Returning Series of 2007, ranking it at #8. [ [,30583,1686204_1686244_1691409,00.html Poniewozik, James; Top 10 New TV Series;] ]

There is some controversy around the show's depiction of police corruption. [web cite|url= |title=The Shield: The Complete First Season |accessdate=2007-04-12] The Strike Team's illegal activities are often backed up with convincing rationalizations by its members, while various police and government authorities who try to bring them to justice or otherwise criticize them are often portrayed negatively.Fact|date=September 2008 Some argue that this technique presents the reality of police corruption and brutality and attempts to explain it intelligently without demonizing it. [web cite|url= |title=The Shield: The Complete First Season |accessdate=2007-04-12] Others argue that the show is essentially a defense of police corruption and brutality, portraying effective police work as impossible without such tactics and presenting Vic Mackey, in particular, as a hero despite his extensive corruption. [cite web |url= |title=Bad cop, worse cop |accessdate=2007-04-12]

Other media


On September 5, 2005, "" 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.

Video games

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, receiving a 3.9 out of 10 from [ [;title;0 The Shield for PS2 - The Shield Playstation 2 - The Shield PS2 Game ] ]


In Region 1, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released "The Shield" on DVD for seasons 1 - 5. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment releases it elsewhere, and holds the rights for all Region 1 season sets of "The Shield" as of 2008, including seasons 6 and 7. [ [ The Shield DVD news: Season 6 moves from Fox to Sony | ] ] Region 1 sets (released by 20th Century Fox) are displayed in 4:3 (fullscreen), while international releases (distributed by Sony Pictures) display 16:9 (widescreen). Sony Pictures re-released seasons 1-5 on March 25th 2008, all seasons in region 1 are now displayed in 16:9 widescreen, as they are in international releases. There are several differences between the S1 & S2 boxsets, with slightly fewer extras on the R2 boxsets and with episode 5:11 drastically shortened.


* Michael Chiklis (Vic Mackey) often makes references to a "UC Northridge." The university in Northridge belongs to the Cal State system, not the University of California system. "See CSUN".
* Cathy Cahlin Ryan (Corrine Mackey) is married in real life to series creator Shawn Ryan and is friends with Michael Chiklis's wife, Michelle. The Ryans' infant son was cast as Connie's son, Brian, in seasons one and two.
* Autumn Chiklis (Cassidy Mackey) is the real-life daughter of Michael Chiklis and plays his daughter on the series. However, Chiklis says he does not let her watch the show.
* The badges worn by officers in the show differ from their real-life counterparts in both design and their position on the uniform. This was done to distance the show from the actual LAPD, which objected to their portrayal as corrupt.
* The characters of Detectives Ronnie Gardocki and Curtis "Lem" Lemansky were not part of the original series pitch. The character of Detective Lemansky was created especially for actor Kenny Johnson after he auditioned for the role of Terry Crowley. Meanwhile, David Rees Snell, a friend of show creator Shawn Ryan, was offered a part as an extra as a member of the Strike Team in the pilot episode. When FX greenlit the series, he was signed on to the show as the enigmatic Detective Ronnie Gardocki.
* Walton Goggins and Kenneth Johnson are best friends in real life. []
* The show's theme song is "Just Another Day" by Vivian Ann Romero, Ernesto J. Bautista and Rodney Alejandro, according to "The Shield - Music From The Streets", the official soundtrack.
* The character of Claudette Wyms was originally written as a male named Charles Wyms. CCH Pounder, who plays Claudette on the show, read the script and suggested to the writers that the character could be female, and they agreed, making only minimal changes to her script.


External links

* [ Official Site from Sony Pictures Television]
* [ Official FX website]
* [ The Shield Lexicon]

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