BuddyTV Fall 2008 Preview: Cable Gem - The Shield
BuddyTV Fall 2008 Preview: Cable Gem - The Shield
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Network: FX
Premiere: Tuesday, September 2, 10pm

Fifteen months after season 6 of The Shield ended, the seventh and final season is ready to begin.  For fans of the gritty FX drama, that is an interminable wait.  Few shows on TV are as viscerally satisfying as The Shield. Michael Chiklis' Emmy-winning portrayal of Detective Vic Mackey is sure to go down as one of the greatest characters ever created on television.  Back when the show started in the Spring of 2002, the tagline was that Mackey was neither a good cop nor a bad cop, but “a different kind of cop.”  That he was.

Going into a final season, it's important to examine where the show and the character started. In the pilot, Mackey killed a fellow cop to hide his own corruption.  Since then, the show has tried to force the audience to sympathize with him, offering Mackey's complicated family life and his overall desire to help the underprivileged.  But in the back of every fan's mind is that first episode and the unforgivable act Mackey committed.

I mention this because it's the necessary backstory to get you hooked into watching a show that gets better every season.  The FX boom (which resulted in an Emmy nomination for Damages as Best Drama Series this year) began with the explosive, revolutionary power of The Shield, a show that took the concept of an anti-hero and turned the dial to 11.

Seasons past have provided brilliant performances by some of today's best actors.  Glenn Close and Anthony Anderson gave riveting performances in season 4.  Forest Whitaker joined (shortly before winning the Oscar for The Last King of Scotland) as the Internal Affairs investigator who got himself taken down when he made it his central mission to uncover Mackey's corruption.

The notion of good people suffering because of Mackey's crimes is common, best exhibited in season 5 when fellow cop Shane made the impossible decision to kill their partner to protect their secrets.  Everyone has paid a price, so with the final season upon us, we need only ask: what price will Mackey pay?

Will he retire a free man?  Will he go to jail?  Will he be killed?  The complexities of The Shield are so rich that I have no idea what “should” happen to him, nor do I even know what I want to happen.  All I want is another season of one of the best shows of the last decade, and that I will get.  I hope others will give it one last chance or discover it on DVD, because The Shield is a groundbreaking series that proved smaller cable networks could produce some of the best shows on TV.


-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of FX)