The Shield (2002-2008)


Our Weekly Entertainment Dispatch

When good cops go bad

The Shield (2002-2008) 

Police corruption has always made for a lack of trust in police institutions, and some pretty good cinema. This is true of the Rampart Division scandal within the LAPD and the TV show it inspired, The Shield. The Shield was created to dramatize the Rampart Division scandal which predominantly involved its CRASH anti-gang unit. In this show, they create a fictitious gang unit called the Strike Team that appears to be CRASH on steroids.

The Strike Team is led by Detective Vic Mackey, played superbly by Michael Chiklis. His partners Shane Vendrell (Walton Goggins), Curtis Lemansky (Kenny Johnson), and Ronnie Gardocki (David Snell) join Mackey down the road to corruption. Goggins in particular is excellent as Mackey’s right-hand man. Shawn Ryan created and wrote The Shield and has made his career in the entertainment industry working on cop stories. He is at his apex here. The show is well-written and, although there are certainly some technical flaws, the story is engrossing for any cop, or anyone interested in a taught drama in a police setting.

Police corruption comes in many forms, but the corruption portrayed in The Shield is heart wrenching in its moral confusion. The Strike Team does some excellent work. They are all hard chargers, making cases and locking up bad guys. They care about victims and keeping crime under control. The next minute they commit the most heinous crimes. You don’t know whether to root for them or hate them. You will wind up doing both.

Unfortunately, this is not a new story in police corruption. Usually, corruption is seen in underperforming or lazy cops, guys who never should have been hired, or cops that fell into the trap due to a single mistake. But sometimes, the best amongst us breaks the rules. Lying to make a case, using violence as a tool, or even wanting more compensation than their paycheck for their efforts. The Shield portrays this at an extreme level.

The Shield lasted seven seasons. As with any show some years were better than others, but this was the only TV series that I felt compelled to watch in real time as new episodes were released. Not always realistic, but always dramatic. I was hooked from the first episode. It was nothing short of shocking.

You can catch The Shield on Hulu for free or buy seasons on major streaming services for about $17 a season. The best way to get the whole series is probably to buy the DVDs or other format online. Amazon is selling the whole set for about $60.

If you are looking for a new show to binge watch over your Christmas vacation (if you are lucky enough to get Christmas off) I would highly recommend The Shield. It will leave you on the edge of your seat during the episodes and have you thinking of moral issues afterwards. Enjoy watching Vic Mackey and company save the day – then steal the drugs.

Thanks for reading The Ops Desk. Stay Safe!

Enjoy the movie and support your local police!


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