The Shield I once wrote (though I'm certain I stole it from someone else) that The Shield is like a tweaked-out cop show that's been awake for four days straight. Tonight I've eaten way too much ultradark, fair-trade chocolate and I'm so sensitive to caffeine that I'm buzzing like a cicada, so this is like watching the cop show on meth... on meth. Or, as my junior-high math teacher might've said, meth squared. (Hey, I spend much of my time watching TV, OK? An overdose on a 71-percent-cocoa bar is about as dangerous as life gets for me.)

Anyway, buzz or no buzz, lots happening once again. Kavanaugh hovers ever closer to Vic and the Strike Team; Lem does his best to pretend to play along while protecting his guys; and Vic and the boys decide to help themselves by helping Lem... for now. In the meantime, we've got a sex-slave ring, tension between Claudette and Dutch, a witness' missing brother and a tough new P.D. named Becca. Oh, and Shane's "chee-chee" joke? I heard it years ago as something called "bunta." Which still can't be as painful as what Tina did to the guy who tried to attack her (not that he didn't deserve it). Things are certainly getting even more interesting now, with Vic meeting Kavanaugh, Corinne figuring out that Kavanaugh's trying to play her (and telling Vic about it) and my now-weekly realization that Forest Whitaker is a killer in this role. Nice scene between him and Michael Chiklis, too. And with Kavanaugh's knowing chuckle after they shake, I'll again end with what's becoming my Shield mantra: Uh-oh. Michael Peck

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