The Shield - Season One
Fox Home Entertainment -
2002 - 655
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If you like the shows NYPD Blue, CSI, or Law & Order then you will love The Shield. Too hot for the four major networks, The Shield is on the FX Cable Network and offers audiences the best action drama cop show I have ever seen. Creator Shawn Ryan did not want to show the typical cop show where the bad guys and the cops are clearly defined and the outcome is pre-determined. Rather, he takes us to a place where the line between ´┐Żgood´┐Ż and ´┐Żevil´┐Ż on the streets becomes blurred. The Shield takes place in the fictional district of Los Angeles known as Farmington. Farmington is an area of Downtown where street crime is rampant, full of gangs, drugs, rapes, and murder. The police there are burdened with the challenges of the most heinous crimes. Within the Farmington unit, there is a special task force named ´┐ŻThe Strike Team´┐Ż headed by Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis).
Vic Mackey--head of the Strike Team
He and the three other members of the Strike Team fight crime under their own set of rules. They use drug informants to get other drug kingpins off the streets while letting the informant sell drugs (so long as the Strike Team gets info and a piece of the action). If a scumbag needs his ass kicked for a variety of reasons, then he gets his ass kicked. A basic ´┐Żwhatever is takes´┐Ż attitude among the Strike Team members is perfectly OK with them. This does not sit well with the district´┐Żs top man, Captain David Aceveda (Benito Martinez), who is stationed at the old church HQ known as ´┐ŻThe Barn´┐Ż. Aceveda is a ´┐Żby the book´┐Ż Captain and he is out to get Mackey and his team off the streets. He is also the boss of a key detective team consisting of Dutch (Jay Karnes), Claudette (CCH Pounder), and other uniformed cops--particularly the partnership with Senior Officer Danny (Catherine Green) and Rookie Julien (Michael Jace).
´┐Ż Episode I: ´┐ŻPilot´┐Ż: Vic Mackey, head of the strike team, takes Detectives Wagenbach and Wyms in a search of a crack-using scumbags daughter who disappeared after the mother is killed.
´┐Ż Episode II: ´┐Ż Our Gang´┐Ż: (Part II of the ´┐Żpilot´┐Ż): Capt. Aceveda is convinced that Mackey has something to do with the killing of a member of the strike team while a raid on a drug dealer´┐Żs home and is determined to put him behind bars.
´┐Ż Episode III: ´┐ŻThe Spread´┐Ż: The Strike Team get an opportunity to directly help the Los Angeles Lakers win a key game when they capture a star basketball player while raiding on dirt bag drug dealers. Side stories include Detectives Lowe and Sofer uncovering a gun-smuggling ring and Detectives Dutch and Claudette Wyms investigate the rape of a prostitute, who just happens to know Mackey.
´┐Ż Episode IV: ´┐ŻDawg Days´┐Ż: Capt. Aceveda is approached by a powerful politician to help investigate his nanny´┐Żs missing husband. Meanwhile, Mackey and the Strike Team intervene on a gang feud between two wonderful members of society, one of which is an informant.
´┐Ż Episode V: ´┐ŻBlowback´┐Ż: After catching an Armenian drug ring, Mackey and the Strike Team are seen taking some of the drugs for themselves by Officer Julien Lowe. While on the way to stash the stolen drugs, one of the members of the Strike Team decides to bang some babe and the drugs are stolen. Side stories include Mackey finding out his son is autistic and Officer Julien Lowe struggles with the fact that he finds men attractive.
´┐Ż Episode VI: ´┐ŻCherrypoppers´┐Ż: Dutch and Mackey ´┐Żteam up´┐Ż to solve the murder of a child prostitute, which leads Dutch to interrogate possible suspects and Mackey to be witness to a child brothel. Meanwhile, officer Lowe is determined to do something about what he saw the strike team take during the drug raid of the Armenians.
´┐Ż Episode VII: ´┐ŻPay in Pain´┐Ż: Mackey is not happy when he is assigned an outside detective to investigate the murder of seven fabulous member of the public, and while investigating the murder, Detective Vendrell of the strike team decides it would be fun to urinate on a suspect. Still investigating the murder of the child prostitute takes a weird turn when Dutch runs into a ´┐Żpsychic´┐Ż who he dismisses until she gives him a message from the victim.
´┐Ż Episode VIII: ´┐ŻCupid and Psycho´┐Ż: When a newspaper reporter runs a report on the stolen drugs, Aceveda splits up the strike team and reassigns them to different partners. Vendrell is teamed with Dutch while Mackey threatens Lowe to reveal his homosexuality unless he shuts up about what he knows about the stolen drugs.
´┐Ż Episode IX: ´┐ŻThrowaway´┐Ż: The Strike Team is involved in a truck jacking case. Aceveda intervenes in the row between Lowe and Sofer. Wyms has family problems.
´┐Ż Episode X: ´┐ŻDragonchasers´┐Ż: Mackey assists his ´┐Żfriend´┐Ż, prostitute Connie break free of her drug habit in order for her to keep her son. Meanwhile, Vendrell and Lemonhead investigate the wonderful world of strip club muggings and Dutch gets closer to finding the killer of the child prostitute. Lastly, Aceveda gets in some hot water with a newspaper reporter.
´┐Ż Episode XI: ´┐ŻCarnivores´┐Ż: Detectives Dutch and Wynn investigate why a Korean guy was hung and killed for no reason other than being old, and Mackey risks being caught when he intervenes between his drug dealer informant and the nation of Islam who stage a protest in the lobby of the Barn.
´┐Ż Episode XII: ´┐ŻTwo Days of Blood´┐Ż: Detectives Vendrell and Lemonhead investigate an illegal cock fighting ring and catch the leader and escort him back to Mexico themselves. Asst. Chief Gilroy needs Mackey´┐Żs help in covering a hit and run he was involved with. News of an old accusation threatens to destroy Aceveda´┐Żs political ambitions.
´┐Ż Episode XIII: ´┐ŻCircles´┐Ż: When a bunch of morons start shooting police in response to the belief that police do not care of poorer neighborhoods, Aceveda and Mackey are forced to put their issues aside and work together to solve the murders. Meanwhile, Asst. Chief Gilroy is looking after himself to get out of his hit and run problem and is willing to sell out both Aceveda and Mackey to get away with it.
Although The Shield is a TV show, it is filmed as though it was a motion picture. The only obvious exception is the fact that it is filmed full frame. Great pains are taken to have various camera angles, with a mixture of grainy and crystal clear pictures. The aforementioned camera angles make the viewer feel as though they are along for the ride, and take you to the edge of your seat. The landscape of the city and the colors used really make the show come to life. Add the sometimes-used ´┐Żgrainy´┐Ż effect and some appropriate yellow and brown hues, and The Shield makes for a stunning soon to be epic drama series.
The audio is presented only in Dolby Digital, so don´┐Żt expect too much in this department. There is a lot of yelling, screaming, car chases, and gun fighting scenes offset nicely against scripted dialogue for a nice balance. Don´┐Żt expect your bass to blow up the joint, because it won´┐Żt. The rear speakers do speak up on occasion when a stray bullet feels like it´┐Żs going past your head.
As great as this series is, the supplements are disappointing. An entire effort of about 13.7 minutes was spent on the menu, and yes there is the usual audio commentary. A short featurette on the ´┐Żbehind the scenes´┐Ż of the show is on this disc as well as an FX featurette and some cast auditions. Oh, and don´┐Żt forget an option to view the script of the pilot episode. Don´┐Żt get too excited about any of these extras.
This show had me watching one episode after another until the season was over. A drama that blows away anything else that is on network TV involving some cop in some city solving some crime. It is no wonder why the star Michael Chiklis won the Emmy for best actor in a drama series. As long as this series is on, he is sure to win more. Season Two is equally as good, and hopefully when the box set DVD comes out, we can also say the same about the supplements and menu.
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