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Confessions of a Shield Virgin

Sons of Anarchy is definitely the closest any show has gotten to The Shield (no surprise since they share so much of a creative team), although it is much more uneven.  Boardwalk Empire is pretty great too, although paced much slower. Oh, and Homeland is a great potboiler, and it even has Billings to boot!  I'm sort of amazed you didn't like Justified though; I've never encountered anyone who saw more than one episode and didn't like it.

Also, it's a departure genre-wise, but Game Of Thrones is somewhat comparable in terms of intensity and moral ambiguity.  But since you're on this site I'm guessing you've been watching it.

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Yeah I've watched all those shows except for Anarchy, which hasn't appealed to me from what I've read and seen.  Guess I'll have to check it out at some point.  I did enjoy the first season of Justified, but it just lost me in season 2.  I don't care about Raylan's love life, ugh!

What's Shawn Ryan up to these days?  I still haven't seen Chicago Code, but if the ending is abrupt due to being cancelled I don't think I want to put myself through that.

The Shield is a rarity, nothing much similar to it out there at the moment it seems, not necessarily in topic but just overall vibe and genre.  That first episode was indeed a classic that basically ensured your arse would be in the seat for the next episode.  I guess what I love is shows that continually place the characters in stressful situations that they have to squeeze themselves out of, and The Shield did this in basically every episode, it was like Hitchcock levels of tension.  Breaking Bad is obviously the successor in that respect, but what am I gonna do when that ends!?

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While I would agree the tight BB does the tight-corner plotting thing best, Sons definitely has the most Shield DNA in it of anything that's aired since by a long shot.  When its working (which is maybe half the time), Dexter does it pretty well also.  Both of those shows are much more uneven than BB/The Shield, but work in that mold so long as you know that they are going to be methadone compared to the really strong stuff.   For greater consistency, there is the BBC's fantastic Sherlock.  Although it has a very different flavor being British, it delights in putting the world's greatest thinker in tough spots and him brain-ing his way out.  I would also recommend giving Justified another shot, there's some really strong stuff at the end of season 2, and 3 is extremely dense with scheming and plotting and counter-plotting (and Jere Burns).

As for Ryan, I was not wild about The Chicago Code, but Terriers was very good.  It's much more shaggy and laid back in tone than The Shield, but you can see some of the same plotting strategies come into play particularly in the back half and the two leads are fantastic.  Now he's doing Last Resort for a network, which has something to do with Andre Brauer on a submarine?  That has to be worth tuning in for at least a few times.

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JUSTIFIED is the closest thing to THE SHIELD I have found.

I would venture a guess that you aren't going to find anything on Network TV that even comes close to the quality of work they are doing on Cable.

And Whiteboy, I was waiting anxiously till you came to the most gut wrenching moment on dramatic television of all time.  The way Lem went out probably won't be remembered by mainstream media years from now, but as far as I am concerned I put it up there with ANYTHING that happened on THE WIRE (which I feel is the greatest show on TV to ever have existed).

I love that people are still discovering this show though.  THE WIRE has definitely become a hipster icon/redacted "my fave show of all time" by many people today, who didn't give a shit about it when it was originally on.  THE SOPRANOS is also a common favorite, but THE SHIELD is always thrown by the way side.  I think its the greatest cop show of all time and I try to introduce as many people as possible to its greatness.

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I don't think The Shield is really a cop show.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post

I don't think The Shield is really a cop show.

I don't think THE WIRE is a cop show, but THE SHIELD at its core is a cop show.  Of course it branched out in multiple directions and also works as a character study...but still a cop show.

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Originally Posted by Fazer View Post

And Whiteboy, I was waiting anxiously till you came to the most gut wrenching moment on dramatic television of all time.  The way Lem went out probably won't be remembered by mainstream media years from now, but as far as I am concerned I put it up there with ANYTHING that happened on THE WIRE (which I feel is the greatest show on TV to ever have existed).

Why'd it have to be A GRENADE?! That's just... extra unpleasant.

Quote:
THE WIRE has definitely become a hipster icon/redacted "my fave show of all time" by many people today, who didn't give a shit about it when it was originally on.

David Simon?

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The Wire is sort of a cop show, but also a whole lot more, so calling it that feels reductive.

The main difference to my mind is that The Shield is Vic's show in a way that The Wire never belonged to McNulty or Stringer.  It does fall into those rhythms on the Dutch/Claudette side of things, but overall our (the audience) relationship to Vic and the Strike Team is defined much more by the fact that they're criminals than that they are cops.  And I think that gives it more in common with crime shows like The Sopranos or Breaking Bad than cop shows.

I guess one way of looking at it is whether you spend more time rooting for them to get the Bad Guys or worrying about whether they were going to get caught themselves.  For me it was definitely the latter.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post

The Wire is sort of a cop show, but also a whole lot more, so calling it that feels reductive.

The main difference to my mind is that The Shield is Vic's show in a way that The Wire never belonged to McNulty or Stringer.  It does fall into those rhythms on the Dutch/Claudette side of things, but overall our (the audience) relationship to Vic and the Strike Team is defined much more by the fact that they're criminals than that they are cops.  And I think that gives it more in common with crime shows like The Sopranos or Breaking Bad than cop shows.

I guess one way of looking at it is whether you spend more time rooting for them to get the Bad Guys or worrying about whether they were going to get caught themselves.  For me it was definitely the latter.

well said.  i'll give you the BB/Sopranos connection.  Both revolved around one singular character's story.  THE SHIELD definitely did great things with Dutch and Claudette.

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I know we are on S4 here, but did anyone else have a problem with the flashback episode in S2 Co-Pilot.  Been rewatching the series(FFW the autism stuff) and when I got to that episode it reminded me of how I thought it never worked.    I thought Vic and company should have been dirty longer for Acevada to have a problem with them.  And Gilroy seemed to imply that he used up his chips to get him the job but Vic always acted as if everything was cool.

The episode always never felt right.

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I think Vic and Shane were dirty, they just didn't have an opportunity to make real money until the Strike Team was formed. It's been a while since I've seen that ep, but I remember thinking some of the same things you're expressing. Still like it though.

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Well, the story is that it's literally a version of the pilot episode that they scrapped and then retooled before the premiere.  It's sort of an Elseworld thing that you can take or leave as part of actual continuity.  It's not like it has much bearing on the greater storyline, as I recall.  Definitely an oddity for a show like this, though.

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The only longstanding issue with that pilot (probably my favorite pilot of all-time) is liberal usage of Kid Rock.

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It is a black mark on what would otherwise be an all-timer, iconic sequence.  I say as someone who blasted the shit out of that Kid Rock album in my Saturn back in high school.

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The flashback just felt inorganic and untrue to the characters. I think they could have done something to show how they eased into their roles, but they seemed to go from basically decent cops to murderers way to fast to be believable for me.

Admittedly, this is from my hazy recollection of that episode when it originally aired, since it's one of the few I've never been inclined to revisit.

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It is finished.

And... fuck, man.

I never thought I'd feel bad for Shane after "that thing" but he got me in the end. That suicide note is as terrific a final statement as a series can make (paired with Dutch and the teenage serial killer's exchange about why so many serial killers come from SoCal). Ronnie really surprised me these last two seasons by turning out to be a rather cold motherfucker when you get right down to it. I can't say I felt horribly bad for him, although it more shows where Vic has stooped to. And Vic. Oh, Vic. That's a downright mythic ending for the man. He's consigned to suit and tie, cubicle hell. I LOVE it! Although, like Shane, I did feel a twinge of pity for him at the very end. The way it lingers on him, and allows both him and you to process what he's come to...

One of the best finales ever, undoubtedly.

Here's my Shield code: 7 5 4 2 1 3 6

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David Rees Snell deserves whatever the acting equivalent of 6th Man Of The Year (Decade) would be.  I can't think of another person who has been with a show from the beginning only to step up in such a huge way after 5(!) years.  I felt really bad for Ronnie at the end.  He may have been cold, but he was what the Team had made him.

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I dunno. Since we're never let into Ronnie's head at all before then, for all we know he was always that way.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteboy Jones View Post

It is finished.

And... fuck, man.

I never thought I'd feel bad for Shane after "that thing" but he got me in the end. That suicide note is as terrific a final statement as a series can make (paired with Dutch and the teenage serial killer's exchange about why so many serial killers come from SoCal). Ronnie really surprised me these last two seasons by turning out to be a rather cold motherfucker when you get right down to it. I can't say I felt horribly bad for him, although it more shows where Vic has stooped to. And Vic. Oh, Vic. That's a downright mythic ending for the man. He's consigned to suit and tie, cubicle hell. I LOVE it! Although, like Shane, I did feel a twinge of pity for him at the very end. The way it lingers on him, and allows both him and you to process what he's come to...

One of the best finales ever, undoubtedly.

Here's my Shield code: 7 5 4 2 1 3 6

I still think of that last scene showing mackey wrapping up for the day and hearing sirens out the window and grabbing his gun out of his gun locker.  It is one of the best ending scenes of all time in my opinion because it can be interpreted multiple ways.  I know a lot of fans want everything to become a movie for some reason and think this is a hint of Vic taking up a vigilante role on the streets, but I think its actually a sad commentary on how hardwired that life is into Vic and he is going to have a helluva hard time adjusting to his new life, which ironically is EXACTLY what he wanted.

Great great show.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteboy Jones View Post

I dunno. Since we're never let into Ronnie's head at all before then, for all we know he was always that way.

I'd say that Vic was the mastermind of the Strike Team and he ultimatley led all three of them: Shane, Lem, and Ronny to their ultimate fates. I would argue that Vic made them dirty and drove them down their path of destruction. Shane hints at this in his suicide note when he says, "I'd wish I'd never met him." Maybe those guys would have turned dirty at some point but I think it was all Vic. And that is why they chose to give him that ending: forced to sit at cubicle and made to think endlessly about what he's done, an actual prison (for him at least) and a figurative one as well.

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The best part about the finale is the silence.  This has always been a series of noise and bluster, but twice (TWICE) in the finale, the viewers are treated to prolonged moments of Vic Mackey just... looking.  His face, his eyes, and his jaw do all the talking and they speak volumes.  That is a clear indicator of the quality of a show and its cast: whether or not it's willing to just... be quiet for a moment.  Let the viewer read the actor's face.  No music, no dialog, just the viewer and the actor.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by History Buff View Post

I'd say that Vic was the mastermind of the Strike Team and he ultimatley led all three of them: Shane, Lem, and Ronny to their ultimate fates. I would argue that Vic made them dirty and drove them down their path of destruction. Shane hints at this in his suicide note when he says, "I'd wish I'd never met him." Maybe those guys would have turned dirty at some point but I think it was all Vic. And that is why they chose to give him that ending: forced to sit at cubicle and made to think endlessly about what he's done, an actual prison (for him at least) and a figurative one as well.

I'd agree with Lem & Ronnie but not Shane.  When they went their seperate ways after S3 Vic, Ronnie, and Lem went legit.  Shane continued his dirty ways which led to to the groups distruction.  Maybe Vic introduced him to dirty ways.  We don't know what Shane was like before Vic.  And Shane was probably trying to prove he was just as good if not better than Vic but he wanted to take the short cut. It was Shane's choice to go dirty with Antwon.  I can't agree with his statement of never meting Vic. 

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You don't agree that Shane would've been better off having never met Vic?  How could it have been worse?

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Holy shit Chang was on The Shield.

Shane made his own choices once he was clear of Vic.  He could have stepped up to save Lem and chose not to.  He didn't have to drop the grenade.  Sure the ending is horrible, but in the end Shane showed his selfishness, stupidity, and weaknes.  I think he would have went down eventually.

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I always felt like Shane was a fuckup who would have washed out of the force if it weren't for Vic.  Now that would have been better than the way things turned out, but I never got the impression Shane would have been some great, model detective had those two never met.

The thing that always got me with Ronnie was how he was kept out of the inner circle of Vic and Shane, especially with regard to Terry Crowley.  Then, later on in the show, you get the idea he wouldn't have batted an eyelid if Vic said it was what was best for the team.

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A friend of mine loaned me the first 5 seasons of this show about 2 years ago. I'm finally getting around to watching them now. I'm 3 episodes into season 5 and wow, Close and Anderson were good additions in season 4, but Forest Whitaker is GREAT in this show. He really kicked it up a few notches.

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I think there are gradations between "model detective" and the epic, life-destroying fuckwreck that Shane became by the end.  The guy was a born follower, and while he (and by extension the show) were careful not to let himself off the hook for his actions, but that doesn't mean Vic does not bear responsibility for what he became.

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Oh, I totally agree with that.  I just got the feeling Shane thought he would've been better, but I'm inclined to think he would have gotten booted for doing some dumb shit sooner or later.  We saw him do plenty of it (outside the super evil stuff) that would have gotten normal guys sent packing, but Vic was always there to protect him.  Vic both protected Shane and provided a place for his worst attributes to thrive to the point of total tragedy which, ultimately, led to the downfall of the team itself.

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Originally Posted by kernel View Post

Oh, I totally agree with that.  I just got the feeling Shane thought he would've been better, but I'm inclined to think he would have gotten booted for doing some dumb shit sooner or later.

He says in his suicide note "He led, but I kept following.  I don't think one is worse than the other..."

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AFuck, it looks like Michael Jace murdered his wife.
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That's not good.

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ANot the thread bump I was expecting.
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Having come into the series in the later half I've been going back and re-watching the earlier seasons recently, and it was definitely an unpleasant surprise seeing that pop up on CNN.



On a less depressing note, I've always started watching The Wire for the first time, and it may be a suffering by comparison thing but 3 episodes in and I'm finding it surprisingly dull considering it's reputation. Should I soldier on, or does it remain pretty constant?

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Wow. This is really sad and tragic.



Funny thing is, was thinking about The Shield the other day as I'm trying to convince some people to watch the whole series.


As perfect as the show nearly was, I always wondered why the writers never revisited Julian's homosexuality??

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AThey did kind of run out of things to do with Julien.
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