The Shield

2002, TV Show

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Ever since I began watching ...

Question: Ever since I began watching The Shield, I have related its morality to The Sopranos. I believe both shows entice their audiences to root for the "bad guys." In rooting for the bad guys, the line between whom we consider to be good and bad is obscured, and our own morals, or society at large, is put into question. However, I am disturbed by Lemansky's death and the clichéd moral message that seems to be at the heart of it. Many observe Lemansky to be the heart and conscience of the Strike Team. Shane killing Lem seems to remove the gray area and make the Strike Team "bad guys." It equates Lem with Terry (the cop Vic murdered in the show's first episode). I am disappointed with this turn because up until now, the Strike Team's unorthodox methods have proved successful and made other officers — like Julian, who follows all the rules — seem naive. Now the tragedy seems to tell us that bad guys never win and everyone gets their just deserts. I am curious to see how it ends, but ... read more

I think I know why people are ...

Question: I think I know why people are so infuriated with all these Lost reruns. Never mind the fact that reruns interrupt the momentum of the show. Never mind that the September-May season has been around for decades. The reason so many people are mad at Lost is because, simply, many of the people who watch the show aren't normal TV viewers. A lot of people discovered the show on DVD, watched it in a week's time, and are now watching Season 2 televised — quite a chore compared to watching it at one's own pace. Lost fans who don't normally watch TV aren't as familiar with the September-May season, and don't get what all the reruns are about. What do you think? Has Lost discovered a new type of fan — the anti-TV fan — and is it now being punished by these fans for following the TV season? (Subquestion: Any chance ABC will cave in to all the complaints and start the next season in November like The X-Files used to do? This would erase two months of reruns, while still holding the show ... read more

Smallville The 100th episode reairs...

SmallvilleThe 100th episode reairs in what needs to be the last repeat until July. Seriously, I'm in repeat overload. I've actually had to find other things to do with my time. Like, read. And although I do agree reading is FUNdamental, for a TV-obsessed girl like me, it's just not normal. So next week can't come fast enough, 'cause for the first time in five weeks, we'll get a new Smallville episode, and a little birdie tells me a certain fine guest star may make an appearance. That little birdie? The TVGuide.com listings. OK, since this is the second time I've seen "Reckoning," and I know from the beginning Jonathan Kent is going to die, it's not as fun. For instance, I still have that damn James Blunt "You're Beautiful" song rattling around in m read more

Still reeling from Lem's shocking...

Still reeling from Lem's shocking death at the hands of Shane on Tuesday's explosive mid-season finale of The Shield? Well, you may want to brace yourself for another major loss: the show itself. In the following Q&A, series creator Shawn Ryan reveals why he decided to whack Lem, what other character made their final appearance on Tuesday, and whether Season 5's next 10 episodes — slated to debut in early 2007 — will be the cop drama's last. Ausiello: First of all, this season has been insanely good. Phenomenal, in fact. Shawn Ryan: Thank you very much. Ausiello: But I have to ask — why'd you do that to poor Lem?Ryan: We just started thinking in terms of the classic tragedy and we came up with this idea. I didn't really commit to it until right before Christmas, because I love Kenny Johnson so much as an actor and as a person, and I didn't want to do it if I felt like it was just for shock value. I felt like we ha read more

Why don't more networks take ...

Question: Why don't more networks take an approach to their shows like FX does? They show the majority of their dramas in the same time slot (Tuesdays at 10 pm/ET) but rotate them throughout the year. This seems to work for their hit shows like The Shield, Nip/Tuck and Rescue Me, so why don't networks like ABC try it for their shows? ABC could alternate 10- to 12-episode half-seasons of shows like Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy between a given time slot. One could start in late August, run for 11 weeks straight, let the next one take over until the end of December, switch again for the second half in January, and then trade places one more time in March for the other half of the other show. It's a little confusing, but I think it could work in the long run, especially for those who don't like constant repeats throughout a regular season. Answer: Shared time slots work on cable and even (to a lesser degree) on mininetworks like WB. But as frustrating as repeats are, they're part ... read more

Am I the only one who can no ...

Kenneth Johnson and Michael Chiklis, The Shield

Question: Am I the only one who can no longer "root" for the Strike Team on The Shield because Shane killed Curtis Lemansky? I mean, I realize logically the Strike Team is a bunch of dirty cops, but I could still be on their side since some criminals, such as Antwon Mitchell (played perfectly by Anthony Anderson), are even worse. However, now that Shane got rid of Lem, I am concerned that the show has turned a very sad corner. I kind of want them all to go down in flames for everything they ever did that was remotely dirty. Yet, how do I support the hunt for them when I believe Aceveda and Internal Affairs freak Kavanaugh are also responsible for the death of Lem? I am concerned that with no heroes anywhere to be found on The Shield, it may not be worth watching. Are you still watching? What do you think? Answer: Not worth watching? Who are you kidding? Your dilemma about who or what to root for is exactly the reaction this show should be stimulating, never more intensely than in this ... read more

I've been thinking about this ...

Question: I've been thinking about this since everyone began waiting breathlessly for 24 and The Sopranos to begin again. And after reading your recent discussion on 24 and after the death of Tony, I just had to vent. Yes, these shows are very well written, but they rely so heavily on violence — graphic violence — that I cannot watch them. I feel like it's used as a crutch to create "edgy" television. I loved 24 when it first began, but as the death toll rose, I found myself turning away. Same with The Sopranos. Any thoughts, or am I just a wimp? Answer: It's not for me to characterize your squeamishness, but as I've said before (primarily when it comes to FX shows), much of the best adult TV is not for sissies. I strongly refute the notion that the killings on these shows are stunts or done for mere shock value or, as you've called them, a crutch. Entering the world of these shows means leaving behind the comfort zone you typically feel in more formulaic TV, like the police procedurals ... read more

(Warning: Do not read if you haven't...

(Warning: Do not read if you haven't watched the Shield finale and intend to do so.)

Easily the most shattering episode of this TV week came from a show that has delivered the goods for the last 11 hours of what has been arguably The Shield's best season yet.

I'm talking about the cliff-hanger finale of The Shield's split season (10 more episodes are scheduled to air early next year), which really seems to me more like a season finale. The producers have yet to declare the back half of this fifth season The Shield's series finale, but given the enormity of what transpired in this latest episode, my gut tells me that the best creative decision would be for them to wrap the show in these next 10 episodes and go out on a dramatic high.

The dramatic stakes have rarely been more intense as poor Lem (the excellent Kenneth Johnson read more

The Shield Aw, man. Talk about...

The ShieldAw, man. Talk about your evening of bummer and disappointment. We all knew no plan to smuggle Lem off to paradise in Mexico was really going to work. Too many lies along the way, too many secrets to keep, too many people who'd be better off with him dead. But damn, he was one of the only people to actually like on this show. And it was because Kenneth Johnson played him perfectly — the big lug with the heart and the loyalty that got him killed by someone who was supposed to be his friend. I don't know why I was surprised to see that Shane was the one who did it. I figured Vic, Shane, Gardocki or the three together would end up making sure nobody got to Lem the only real way they could be sure. But still, the sound of his voice when he realize read more

Do you think the new Emmy ...

Question: Do you think the new Emmy voting process is a good thing? The whole blue-ribbon committee thing makes me think of the daytime Emmys, which hasn't picked the right winner since Santa Barbara won for best drama series in 1988, 1989 and 1990.


Answer: Oh, how right you are about SB, my friend. And for that reason, I'm just as skeptical as you are. In my opinion, one of six things must happen the morning of July 6 in order for the new system to be deemed a success: Battlestar Galactica and The Shield must be up for best drama series; Lauren Graham must be up for best comedy actress; Kristen Bell must be up for best drama actress; Donald Faison must be up for best supporting actor in a comedy; and Kelly Bishop must be up for best s read more

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Premiered: March 12, 2002, on FX
Rating: TV-MA
User Rating: (461 ratings)
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Premise: A corrupt and brutal L.A. detective runs an elite squad by his own rules in a neighborhood ravaged by drugs and gangs. Unusually gritty and graphically violent, but seldom less than riveting, 'The Shield' gets its biggest jolt from the breakout performance by Michael Chiklis as the complex and volatile Vic Mackey. The drama made Emmy history when he won for Lead Actor in a Drama in 2002, the first such win for a basic-cable series.

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