The Shield Hmmm. I wonder if, after the teary send-off Rawling got at the end of last season, the show's lost its edge. Let's see now: a funeral-parlor brawl sends a corpse tumbling out of its casket, and a moment later Gardocki catches a crucifix across the back of his skull. So I'm thinking... no. And just in case I still have any doubts, Vic turning a fire hose on a high-school riot douses those doubts promptly. And as Vic and the Strike Team race the "kill clock,"

Forest Whitaker's Kavanaugh is introduced, trying out his gum trick on Aceveda, who gets him started on the old Crowley murder by giving him Lemansky as Vic's weak point. All together now: Uh-oh.

By the time we watch Tina building up to nothing but trouble, everyone betting on who the father of Dani's baby is, the kill-clock plot coming to a close and Kavanaugh pulling Lemansky out of his house, we realize that as much of a talent as we lost when Glenn Close walked last season, Whitaker will do just fine as a substitute. Dutch watches a dolled-up Tina walk out of the station (oh, Dutch you schmuck), Corinne takes a stick of gum, Aceveda looks the Crowley case file over, Gardocki works the crucifix kid over and Kavanaugh asks Lemansky the killer question, "Who do you think I want?" Just in case you didn't get it the first time: Uh-oh. Michael Peck

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