The Shield
Genre Crime drama
Created by Shawn Ryan
Starring Michael ChiklisGlenn CloseCatherine DentReed DiamondPaula GarcesWalton GogginsMichael JaceKenneth JohnsonJay KarnesDavid MarcianoBenito MartinezCathy Cahlin RyanDavid Rees Snell and CCH Pounder
Opening theme "Just Another Day" by Vivian Ann Romero, Ernesto J. Bautista & Rodney Alejandro
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 7
No. of episodes 88 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Shawn Ryan, Scott Brazil, Glenn Mazzara
Producer(s) Michael Chiklis
Location(s) Los Angeles
Cinematography Ronn Schmidt
Running time 45 minutes
Original channel FX Networks
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
Original run March 12, 2002 (2002-03-12) – November 25, 2008 (2008-11-25)
Status Ended

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The Shield

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The Shield Intertitle

The Shield is an American television drama series starring Michael Chiklis which aired on FX Networks in the United States and other networks internationally. Known for its controversial portrayal of corrupt police officers, it was originally advertised as Rampart in reference to the true life Rampart Division police scandal, which the show's Strike Team was loosely based upon. The first season gained the most Emmy nominations for a basic cable drama. The series was created by Shawn Ryan and The Barn Productions for Fox Television Studios and Sony Pictures Television.Notable film actors who took extended roles on the show included Glenn Close in the fourth season, Forest Whitaker in seasons 5 and 6, Laura Harring in season 5, Franka Potente in season 6 and Laurie Holden in season 7. The Shield began airing its seventh and final season on September 2, 2008, and concluded on November 25, 2008.The final season won a 2008 AFI Award for best television series.

About the series

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The Shield is about an experimental division of the Los Angeles Police Department set up in the fictional Farmington district ("the Farm") of Los Angeles, using a converted church ("the Barn") as their police station, and featuring a group of detectives called the Strike Team who will stop at nothing to bring their version of justice to the streets. Michael Chiklis portrays the show's main character, Strike Team leader Vic Mackey. However, the show has an ensemble cast, and as a result, usually runs a number of separate story lines through each episode.

Detective Vic Mackey is the leader of the Strike Team, a four-man anti-gang unit based on the Los Angeles Police Department's real-life Rampart Division CRASH unit. (Rampart was seriously considered as the series name and was even used in some early promotional ads for the series.) The Strike Team uses a variety of illegal and unethical methods to maintain peace on the streets, while making a profit through illegal drug protection schemes and robbery. The Strike Team isn't above planting drugs on and coercing confessions out of gang members or framing them. Attempts to give the team a fifth member have frequently led to near-catastrophe for the group.

The Shield has a variety of subplots, notably David Aceveda's political aspirations and suffering a sexual assault; Vic Mackey's struggle to cope with a failing marriage; Shane Vendrell's rocky, new marriage; Curtis Lemansky's growing fear for the safety of the Strike Team; and Julien Lowe's internal conflicts between his belief in the teachings of the Bible and his homosexuality.

Common themes are the citizens' distrust of police, the social impact of drugs and gang warfare, and the conflict between ethics and political expediency. The majority of conversations between characters on The Shield involve one using leverage over the other, as well as each person looking out for their own agendas. Most characters are portrayed as having both vice and virtue. For example, Vic's loving relationship with his children contrasts with his thuggish approach to police work, although his brutality is generally directed at those who seem well-deserving of such treatment. For example, in Season 2, the Strike Team prepares to rob the "Armenian Money Train," a money laundering operation of the Armenian Mafia. Another episode had Mackey cornering a serial rapist, then letting him be mauled by a police dog before calling the dog off.

Season overviews

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Season 1
Season 1 premiered on March 12, 2002. David Aceveda is assigned as the new Captain of the Barn in the district of Farmington. One of his top priorities is to get Detective Vic Mackey, leader of the experimental anti-gang unit called the Strike Team, off the streets. Aceveda suspects Mackey is involved in corrupt illegal activities favoring drug dealer Rondell Robinson to control local drug trade. To capture him, Aceveda asks a newly-appointed member of the team, Terry Crowley, to gather evidence for his prosecution. Although reluctant, Crowley agrees, unaware that Mackey already knows about his assignment.

During a raid on the house of Two-Time (a drug dealer rival of Rondell), Mackey uses the dealer's gun to murder Crowley with Shane Vendrell as his only witness. After this, Aceveda is certain that Mackey had something to do with the murder, so he starts an internal investigation of Mackey and the Strike Team. Meanwhile, Shane has to deal with the guilt of what they just did, while Assistant Chief of Police Ben Gilroy tries to cover Mackey's tracks.

Another subplot involves Julien Lowe, a rookie officer who is training under the experienced Danny Sofer as he struggles with his latent homosexuality. Lowe, a devout Christian, is afraid of facing his desires so he tries to hide them. Lowe also has to deal with tension between Danny and him. Lowe also witnesses a crime committed by Vic and the Strike Team, which Aceveda tries to use in order to capture Mackey.

Finally, detectives Dutch Wagenbach and Claudette Wyms try to track down an elusive serial killer who Dutch thinks to be responsible for at least four murders. While Dutch becomes obsessed with the case, Claudette frequently tries to divert his attention to their other cases.

Season 2
Season 2 premiered on January 7, 2003. The season mostly revolves around a brutal new drug lord, Armadillo — a sadistic child rapist who likes to set his rivals on fire using a tire necklace and gasoline — who begins to take over the drug trade in Farmington. Meanwhile, Officer Sofer is involved in the shooting of a Muslim man and has to deal with the fallout. This season is also heavily concerned with the Strike Team's plan to rip off the money train of the Armenian Mob, which ends up going down in the season finale.

Season 3
Season 3 premiered on March 9, 2004. The season mainly revolves around the aftermath of the Money Train Heist and its effects on the Strike Team, as the Armenian mob and also David Aceveda begin to suspect its members of having carried it out. Inspired to save the team, Lem (Curtis "Lemonhead" Lemansky) burns a majority of the money, ultimately leading to a confrontation which causes the Strike Team to split up in the season finale. The Armenian mob sends Margos Dezerian to wipe out the Strike Team. Dezerian leaves a trail of murders, resulting in his own execution at the hands of Mackey. Claudette is promised a promotion to captain and maintains a supervising role throughout the season, while Aceveda prepares to move on to the city council. Near the end of the season, a public defender is shot, an investigation of which leads Wyms and Dutch to discover that she had been a heavy drug user for the past three years. Wyms explores further and becomes very unpopular with the D.A. and around the Barn because she reopens (against orders) the defender's lost cases. This results in her being denied the promotion to Captain of the Farmington District that she had been promised.

Season 4
Season 4 premiered March 15, 2005, with the addition of Glenn Close taking over the role as Farmington's new captain, Monica Rawling. The season dealt with the fallout from the Strike Team disbandment. Shane Vendrell, with new partner Armando "Army" Renta, enters into a dangerous situation with major drug lord Antwon Mitchell (Anthony Anderson), and seemingly accepts an order to kill Vic Mackey. The police were outraged after two officers were kidnapped and subsequently found murdered. In the end, the Strike Team is re-formed and manages to successfully put Antwon in prison. The season also deals with the controversial asset-forfeiture policies of the new captain; Julien's opposition to these policies; and David Aceveda (now a City Councilman) dealing with the psychological aftermath of his sexual assault incident from the previous season. The season concludes with Capt. Rawling losing her job over a dispute with the DEA. This plot twist reflected a real-life need for Close to return to New York.

One of the season's secondary plots involves Claudette's and Dutch's marginalization as detectives because of Claudette's refusal to apologize to the DA for reopening the cases of a public defender who was discovered to be a functioning drug addict. Claudette's moral stand resulted in many of the prosecutor's cases being overturned. This cost Claudette her shot at becoming Farmington Captain. Dutch eventually resolved the situation by making a back-room deal with the DA to "keep Claudette in line" and do favors for the office in return for breaking back into action.

Season 5
Season 5 premiered January 10, 2006. The season revolved around Internal Affairs Department Lt. Jon Kavanaugh's (played by Forest Whitaker) investigation into the Strike Team, representing one of the greatest threats the team has ever faced. As a result of Kavanaugh turning one of Vic's informants, IAD became aware of Lem stealing heroin which he never turned in. Having found the heroin, IAD is capable of arresting Lem, but Kavanaugh wants him to incriminate the whole team and has him wear a wire. Lem warns the team he is wired and they use it to embarrass IAD. Kavanaugh, applying pressure to the team in any way he can, finds out about Mackey's share of the Money Train, and ultimately arrests Lem having made a deal with Antwon Mitchell, a gang leader the team had put in prison. Mackey supports Lem and gets bail, while Shane is worried he will give evidence against the team. Claudette finally gets her opportunity for promotion as the captain of the Barn, which she reluctantly accepts. The season concluded with Shane Vendrell, fooled by Aceveda into believing that Lem was going to turn on the Strike Team, murdering his friend and fellow team member Lem with a hand grenade.

The producers of The Shield produced a 15-minute "promosode", which premiered on Google on February 15, 2007, to bridge the gap between Seasons 5 and 6. The episode focuses on the aftermath of Lem's death, including his funeral and flashbacks as co-workers reflect upon Det. Lemansky's life. The episode was said to have cost between $500,000 and $1 million to produce and was on Bud.TV for a 4 week period and later released to AOL and other media outlets. The "promosode" is also one of the special features included on the Season 5 DVD set.

Season 6
Season 6 premiered on FX on April 3, 2007. Continuing directly after season 5, Vic and the Strike Team are distraught over Lem's death. Shane has been overcome by guilt and becomes reckless and suicidal. Kavanaugh refuses to let the case die and resorts to planting evidence and coercing witnesses to lie about the Strike Team and specifically, Vic. Dutch and Claudette begin to suspect his integrity and Kavanaugh finally confesses to his actions and finds himself under arrest. Vic learns from Claudette that the Chief plans to force him into early retirement — and vows to wreak bloody vengeance on Lem's killer before losing his badge. Claudette learns that the Barn could be shut down if no improvements are made by the time quarterly crime statistics are released. The season concludes with the breakdown of Vic and Shane's friendship as Shane admits killing Lem. Shane threatens Vic with revealing their illegal exploits should Vic attempt to arrest him for Lem's killing, while Shane gets in over his head with the Armenians.

Season 6 was originally intended to be aired as the second half of Season 5 (in the same way that HBO split up the last season of The Sopranos); FX decided to refer to these ten episodes as "Season 6" instead.

Season 7
Season 7 premiered September 2, 2008, consisted of 13 episodes (12 one-hour shows and a ninety-minute finale). Vic's ex-wife Corinne has learned of his many crimes and agrees to work with Dutch and Claudette to try to send him to prison. Ronnie is also implicated in the process. After a botched attempt by Vic and Ronnie to have Shane killed in a shootout between Mexican and Armenian gangs, Shane recruits a local criminal to make a hit on Ronnie while he prepares to ambush and kill Vic. The plot is exposed, and Shane goes on the run, along with Mara, and Jackson. Dutch has problems of his own while dealing with a teenage serial killer. Vic tries to circumvent his forced retirement by joining with Immigration and Customs Enforcement in bringing down a major operator. As part of an immunity deal engineered by ICE, Vic admits to every crime the Strike Team has committed and implicates Shane and Ronnie enough to send them to jail for life. After learning that there is no way to escape prison, Shane poisons his pregnant wife and two-year old son and then commits suicide just as the police arrive. With Shane's death there is no longer any risk of Vic and Ronnie being sent to jail, but since Vic already spilled everything to ICE it is now too late for Ronnie. Just when Ronnie thinks he is going to go free he is arrested in front of Vic at the barn. Claudette reveals the terminal status of her illness to Dutch, who promises to stand by her as a friend. Desperate to escape Vic, Corinne and the children disappear into the witness protection program. Aceveda stands on the verge of being elected mayor. Meanwhile, Vic is reassigned to a desk job at ICE, presumably loathed by his co-workers, including Agent Olivia Murray, and ostracized by his fellow cops, who want nothing to do with him now that his many crimes have been exposed. The show's final moment depicts Vic picking up his gun and leaving the ICE building, following police sirens in the distance.

Characters

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Strike Team

  • Detective Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis) is a corrupt police officer and former leader of the Strike Team; he steals from drug dealers, beats and tortures suspects, and has committed murder more than once, including a fellow police officer. A quintessential Machiavellian, Mackey sees his tactics as a means to an end. He breaks the law to achieve some semblance of order in a chaotic world, an order which naturally has him in control. Vic perceives himself as a loyal father and partner, and does, indeed, seem to intend to fulfill those roles, but his inflated ego and pathological need to exert control over everyone and everything around him results in hurting those closest to him, primarily his ex-wife and daughter, but also Lemansky. Mackey's family life is followed throughout the series. His marriage to his wife, a nurse, failed after numerous instances of infidelity on Mackey's part (including with Officer Sofer, which resulted in a child). Mackey and his wife have three children, two with autism. The special education needs of Mackey's children are one of many sources of stress (monetary and emotional) for Mackey. After Corrine leaves him, he is granted immunity by ICE and then confesses to the Crowley murder along with every other crime he had committed over his years as a police officer. He finishes the series working behind a desk. He appears in all seasons of The Shield.
  • Detective Shane Vendrell (Walton Goggins) was Vic Mackey's best friend and partner before the Strike Team was formed. He has a reckless streak, and his attempts to emulate Vic's dealings quite often take a bad turn. During the course of the series, he meets and marries Mara, who later bears him a son, Jackson. When it appears that Lem has turned on the Strike Team, Shane kills him by dropping a grenade into his car. The grief forced him to become reckless and suicidal, and when Vic uncovers the truth, their friendship ends. Shane grows to regret his actions as part of the Strike Team and expresses great remorse for what he has become. When it is revealed that he paid someone to kill Ronnie Gardocki in retaliation for Vic and Ronnie's attempt to kill Shane, he goes on the run with his wife and son. On learning that Vic has been granted immunity by his new employer, ICE, and without any further options short of complete surrender to the law, Shane poisons his wife and son, and then shoots himself in a bid to remain a family. He appears in all seasons of The Shield.
  • Detective Curtis "Lem" Lemansky (Kenny Johnson) (Seasons 1-5) was a cop with a conscience and an original member of the Strike Team. He had a history of working with kids and maintained a soft-spot for them. His loyalty to Vic and the Strike Team led him to go along with most of their illegal schemes, although he didn't know about all of them-such as the murder of Terry Crowley. Often impulsive, he burned most of the money from the Armenian Money Train robbery in order to keep the team from getting caught. Burning the money caused a temporarily split within the team, although they later got back together. Shane Vendrell killed Lemansky in the finale of the fifth season because Shane was under the mistaken impression that Lemansky was going to rat on the rest of the team. Lem was unmarried and had no children.
  • Detective Ronnie Gardocki (David Rees Snell) is the Strike Team's surveillance and electronics expert. Though little is known about Ronnie, he has proven more and more in recent times to be the most solid, emotionally stable member of the Strike Team and has remained loyal to Vic out of enlightened self-interest, knowing that divisions between them would only lead to bad ends for both. The scars on his face, given to him by Armadillo in Season 2, are proof of his loyalty to the team. In the final season, he becomes the official leader of the Strike Team before Captain Claudette Wyms shuts it down. During season 7, we see his intense anger over his and Mackey's inability to gain revenge on Shane for Lem's murder. He and Vic concoct a plan to have the Mexicans kill Shane along with the Armenians that knew about the Money Train robbery. Shane survives, however, and retaliates. Ronnie is targeted by a drug dealer hired by Shane to kill him. After the drug dealer confesses and Shane flees, Claudette disbands the Strike Team, forcing Ronnie to become a "suit and tie" detective while trying to help Vic and stay out of prison. In the final episode, Ronnie is arrested after Vic implicates him in his immunity confessions. He appears in all seasons of The Shield.


  • Detective Terry Crowley (Reed Diamond) (Season 1)
  • Detective Tavon Garris (Brian White) (Seasons 2-3)
  • Detective Armando "Army" Renta (Michael Peña) (Season 4)
  • Detective Kevin Hiatt (Alex O'Loughlin) (Season 6)
  • Officer Julien Lowe (Michael Jace) (Seasons 1-7)


Administration and police
  • Councilman David Aceveda (Benito Martinez) is a politically ambitious man who was the captain of the Barn. He was later elected to the Los Angeles City Council. He is one of Vic Mackey's main rivals, although often they have forged uneasy alliances for various reasons. He was orally raped at gunpoint, which eventually drove him to arrange a deal with drug lord Antwon Mitchell to kill his rapist in prison. During the final season, Aceveda is faced with the growing influence of a Cruz Pezuela who offers to seemingly help David get elected as the next Mayor. Although receptive to his help at first, Aceveda realizes that Pezuela is dirty and attempts to distance himself only to find the Pezuela has photographs of the sexual assault. The last season deals with him and Vic cooperating one last time as they attempt to take Pezuela and possibly the Mexican cartel down. Aceveda is set to become the mayor of Los Angeles after his opponent, Henry Huggins, was killed during his campaign; although Aceveda had nothing to do with his demise. He appears in all seasons of The Shield.
  • Captain Claudette Wyms (CCH Pounder) is a veteran detective. Claudette, along with her partner Dutch, can be viewed as the voice of morality at the Barn; as a result, she is often at odds with Vic over his tactics. Later in the series, Claudette revealed to Dutch that she has had lupus for fifteen years. In Season 5, she is appointed Captain after several attempts in previous years. After finally being promoted to captain, Claudette proves to be at least as capable as her predecessors. However, during the final season, her lupus returns and begins to interfere with her ability to do her job. In the final episode, she admits to Dutch that she is in the terminal stage of her illness. She appears in all seasons of The Shield.
  • Detective Holland "Dutch" Wagenbach (Jay Karnes) is characterized by many as a socially inept nerd even though he is a successful police detective. Assigned to the Farmington District of Los Angeles, he is often the first called to investigate violent crimes because of his specialization in criminal profiling and serial killers. Along with his partner, Detective Claudette Wyms, Dutch is widely considered to be the moral center of the show owing to his willingness to do the right thing in spite of the temptation to engage in illegal police activities. A scene in one episode showed him strangling a live cat after questioning an actual serial killer about what he sees in his victim's eyes. The series never follows-up on that ominous scene, but neither does Dutch ever perform a similar act of cruelty. Vic, via flashback, is influenced in his decision to pick on Dutch by a fellow detective at the Barn who Dutch admires, and Dutch's seemingly vengeful relationship with Vic's ex-wife did not help, but after Dutch actually challenges Vic to a fight in Season 4, Vic ends the bullying, even inviting Dutch and Claudette out to a bar with them, which every officer, minus Captain Rawlings, attends. He appears in all seasons of The Shield.
  • Sergeant Danielle "Danny" Sofer (Catherine Dent) is a patrol officer who aspires to become a detective. She has an on-again-off-again sexual relationship with Vic and a complicated history with Dutch. She is assigned desk duty as a result of her pregnancy and takes maternity leave after the birth of her son, Lee. The identity of the father was initially unknown; later, in the sixth season episode "Chasing Ghosts," it was learned that it was Vic. Shortly afterwards, Danny returned from maternity leave early so that she could take the position of Sergeant at the Barn. In Season Seven Vic threatens to force Danny to take a paternity test. She appears in all seasons of The Shield.
  • Officer Julien Lowe (Michael Jace) is a uniformed officer who is partnered with Sofer for the majority of the series. During the formation of a new Strike Team, Claudette offered Julien to Kevin Hiatt as a possible addition to the team. Claudette made the offer to Julien, who was hesitant, mainly because of the thought of being partnered with Vic on a daily basis. After being assured that Mackey was going to be moved out of the team, Julien accepted the promotion. Despite his desire to become a fully functioning member of the Strike Team, Julien knew that he was on the outside of the clique. When the Strike Team is dissolved for the final time, he becomes a uniformed officer again. He is asked to choose which side he will be on when Claudette finally has a case to go after Mackey and Vendrell. A recurring plotline for Lowe is the conflict between his Christian beliefs and his homosexual desires, to the point where he goes to a sexual reorientation program and marries a woman having chosen God and community. He appears in all seasons of The Shield.
  • Captain Monica Rawling (Glenn Close) (Season 4) was the appointed Captain at the Barn who took over from Acevada, after Claudette was rejected. She implemented a lot of changes, such as fixing the Barn's male toilets and, more importantly, creating seizure policies which proved to be somewhat controversial. She had a longstanding hatred with gang leader Antwon Mitchell and was suspicious of Vic Mackey, even having him and his team investigated. She finds out that Shane was solicited by Mitchell to kill Vic. She is fired after she embarrasses the DEA by voiding the immunity deal they granted Mitchell (by getting the Strike Team to catch a Salvadoran cartel leader before Mitchell's information could), and the feds threaten to cut off all federal highway funding to L.A. if Rawlings stayed.
  • Corrine Mackey (Cathy Cahlin Ryan) (Seasons 4-7, recurring seasons 1-3) was once married to Vic Mackey and had three children with him, two of which have autism. She works as a nurse and once had a brief courtship with Dutch. Despite needing Vic in her life, she eventually turns on him and helps Dutch and Claudette build a case to send Vic behind bars. She is moved to witness protection by ICE in order to keep her and her children away from Vic, through a fear she has that he may try to harm her after he finds out what she has been doing.
  • Detective Steve Billings (David Marciano) (Season 7, recurring seasons 4-6) is a slack, somewhat cowardly detective who was made acting Captain after the departure of Rawlings and later replaced by Claudette. He is known for his schemes, such as suing the department and bringing his own vending machines into the barn. He usually brings Dutch in on his plots and the two have come to blows on at least one occasion. Billings and Dutch were partnered together after Claudette got promoted to Captain which prompted Dutch to request a transfer which Claudette denies. He is injured during a brawl between Kavanaugh and Vic and plans to sue the department for two million dollars, although he settles for two days pay from the time he missed.
  • Probationary Officer Tina Hanlon (Paula Garcés) (Season 7, recurring 5-6) is a new recruit at the barn, who is trained by Julien. She is very attractive and well aware of her sexuality, which often earns her the ire of Danny Sofer. Tina's constant mistakes would have seen her out of the force, had it not been for a bungle in which Billings, while trying to see who was stealing from his vending machines, obtained photos of her changing. He involved Dutch and, in order to protect her old partner, Claudette allowed Tina to remain on the force under Dutch's supervision. She left the Barn after being made a spokesperson for the police force, but opted to transfer back. She had a sexual tryst with Kevin Hiatt, which was organized by Billings, although she later expressed regret and said that Dutch always had a chance with her, only he never took it. The day on which Shane Vendrell killed himself was her one-year anniversary as an officer, and although he was harsh on her at times, Julien celebrated by buying her a cake and throwing her a little party.


Crew

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The series was created by Shawn Ryan. Ryan served as an executive producer for all seven seasons and was the series head writer and show runner throughout its run. Prior to creating the series Ryan had been working as a producer and writer for the supernatural detective series Angel. He began his television career as a writer for the crime drama Nash Bridges. Scott Brazil was a co-executive producer for the first season. He became an executive producer for the second season. He was a regular director for the series until his death during production of the sixth season. Brazil and Ryan had worked together on Nash Bridges.

Several of the series more junior writers became executive producers during its run. Glen Mazzara was an executive story editor for the first season and became an executive producer from the fifth season onwards. Mazzara had also worked with Ryan on Nash Bridges. Kurt Sutter and Scott Rosenbaum were staff writers for the first season and became executive producers for the sixth season onwards. Adam E. Fierro joined the crew as a co-producer and writer for the third season and was promoted to executive producer for the seventh season. Veteran television writer Charles H. Eglee joined the crew as a consulting producer for the third season and was promoted to executive producer from the fifth season onwards.

Emmy Award winning The Sopranos veteran James Manos, Jr. served as a consulting producer and writer for the first two seasons. He left the show to develop the Showtime serial killer drama Dexter. NYPD Blue veteran writer Kevin Arkadie was a co-executive producer for the first season only. Nash Bridges writer and producer Reed Steiner replaced Arkadie as co-executive producer for the second season only. Kevin G. Cremin was the series unit production manager throughout its run and became a co-executive producer from the sixth season onwards.

Angel writing team Elizabeth Craft & Sarah Fain joined the crew as co-producers for the third season and became supervising producers before leaving at the close of the sixth season. Dean White was a producer and regular director throughout the series run. Star Michael Chiklis joined the crew as a producer from the second season onwards and also regularly directed episodes. Post-production supervisor Craig Yahata joined the crew in the third season and eventually became a producer for the seventh season.

The series pilot and finale were directed by Clark Johnson; Johnson had previously starred in Homicide: Life on the Street and made his directing debut on that series. Guy Ferland directed episodes for all seven seasons of The Shield. Rohn Schmidt was a cinematographer for all seven seasons and made his television directing debut on the show. Stephen Kay was a frequent director for the series. Gwyneth Horder-Payton was an assistant director for the show's early seasons and made her television directing debut in the fourth season, she continued regularly direct episodes thereafter.

Film director Frank Darabont directed an episode for the series. Darabont went on to hire many The Shield crew members for his television adaptation of The Walking Dead. Acclaimed playwright and film writer and director David Mamet directed an episode of the series. Mamet and Ryan collaborated as executive producers on military thriller The Unit. Screenwriter Ted Griffin (Oceans 11) wrote a single episode of the show. Griffin later created Terriers and was reunited with Shawn Ryan as a fellow executive producer.

Reception

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The Shield has won critical praise for its realism, particularly in its portrayal of gang violence in Los Angeles. Although names of actual gangs are not used, the portrayals are based on real gangs.Latino gangs with names such as "Los Magnificos" (or "Los Mags"), the Byzantine Latinos (or "Byz-Lats") and the "Toros" are a constant thorn in the Strike Team's side in the early seasons of the show, while black gangs become more prominent in later episodes. In particular, a gang calling itself the "One-Niners" is central to the plot of Season 4. Like the notorious real-life Blood and Crip gangs, the One-Niners identify themselves strongly with one color (in this case purple), wearing it on various items of clothing. To enhance its realism, the show makes very little use of background music until the end of each episode.

Time magazine's James Poniewozik named it one of the Top 10 Returning Series of 2007, ranking it at #8.Entertainment Weekly put it on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, " Det. Vic Mackey didn't just clean up the streets--he cleaned up on the streets. Would he pay for those sins? This gutsy TV drama kept us guessing."

Awards and nominations

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Primetime Emmy Awards

  • 2002 Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (Michael Chiklis)
  • 2003 Nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (Michael Chiklis)
  • 2005 Nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Glenn Close)
  • 2005 Nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (CCH Pounder)


Golden Globe Awards

  • 2002 Award for Best Drama Series
  • 2002 Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series (Michael Chiklis)
  • 2003 Nomination for Best Actor in a Drama Series (Michael Chiklis)
  • 2004 Nomination for Best Actor in a Drama Series (Michael Chiklis)
  • 2005 Nomination for Best Actress in a Drama Series (Glenn Close)


Satellite Awards

  • 2002 Nomination for Best Actor in a Drama Series (Michael Chiklis)
  • 2002 Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series (CCH Pounder)
  • 2003 Award for Best Drama Series
  • 2003 Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series (Michael Chiklis)
  • 2003 Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series (CCH Pounder)
  • 2004 Nomination for Best Drama Series


Screen Actors Guild Awards

  • 2003 Nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series (Michael Chiklis)


Ewwy Awards

  • 2009 Nomination for Best Drama Series
  • 2009 Nomination for Best Actor in a Drama Series (Michael Chiklis)
  • 2009 Nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Walton Goggins)


Other media

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Soundtrack
On September 5, 2005, The Shield: Music from the Streets was released by Lakeshore Entertainment. The soundtrack features 19 tracks, including two versions of the theme song and tracks ranging from artists such as Black Label Society to Kelis.

Video games
After a rocky development cycle, The Shield, the video game, was released for the PlayStation 2 on January 9, 2007, and for the PC on January 22, 2007. It is a third person shooter that bridges the gap between the third and fourth seasons by exploring the gang war between the Byz-Lats and the One-Niners. It received generally negative reviews, receiving a 3.9 out of 10 from GameSpot.com.

Spotlight
In 2004, IDW Publishing released a five-issue comic book limited series written by Jeff Mariotte and illustrated by Jean Diaz titled The Shield: Spotlight. A controversial journalist is murdered and the barn is under intense media scrutiny. Vic and the Strike Team find the murderer but uncover a bigger conspiracy which has Dutch enthralled. All the while, Shane is trying to keep his face out of the media when he accidentally sets up a chance to make the team a whole lot of money recovering stolen art and Julien and Danny struggle to realize when is the right time to go 'by the book' and when isn't. When uniformed officers spot the Strike Team with the stolen art, they have no choice but to do things the right way. Acevada is warned to drop the journalists investigation or risk losing political backing. He drops the case which leaves Dutch feeling disheartened.

DVD
The Region 1 DVD releases were originally distributed by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, encompassing seasons 1-5. However, as of 2011, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment have become the rights holders for Region 1. They released season 6 - and re-released seasons 1-5 - in 2008, and released season 7 in 2009. International releases have always been distributed by Sony, who have only ever presented the show in 16:9 (widescreen) format, as opposed to the Fox releases, which presented the show in 4:3. This means that although some argue that the show was designed to be framed in 4:3 (despite being filmed in widescreen), only the out-of-print Region 1 Fox releases of seasons 1-5 present the show that way, whilst seasons 6 and 7 are exclusively available in widescreen.

There are several differences between the R1 & PAL boxsets, with slightly fewer extras on the PAL boxsets and with episode 5x11 drastically shortened.

For the Region 4 releases, seasons 5 and 6 were released in advance at JB Hi-Fi stores across Australia, and were not available at other stores until a number of months later.

DVD titleDate released
Region 1 (Fox)Region 1 (Sony Pictures)Region 2Region 4
The Complete First SeasonJanuary 7, 2003March 25, 2008July 21, 2003February 9, 2004
The Complete Second SeasonJanuary 6, 2004March 25, 2008August 9, 2004April 5, 2005
The Complete Third SeasonFebruary 22, 2005March 25, 2008May 28, 2007May 11, 2007
The Complete Fourth SeasonDecember 26, 2005March 25, 2008July 2, 2007November 15, 2007
The Complete Fifth SeasonMarch 27, 2007March 25, 2008January 28, 2008November 26, 2008*
The Complete Sixth SeasonN/AAugust 26, 2008March 24, 2008August 19, 2009
The Complete Seventh SeasonN/AJune 9, 2009June 8, 2009September 15, 2010
The Shield: Complete SeriesN/ANovember 3, 2009June 8, 2009November 23, 2010


Some of the content on this page has been provided by the following page on Wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shield


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