You know, even without shows like “The Shield”
I have a hard time trusting police officers to always do the right thing. I was released from jury duty once because I was a little too convincing with the other prospective members, when I argued that your average human being doesn’t become overwhelmed with a sense of honor, duty, and all that is good when a badge is pinned on him. I love comics and superheroes as much as the next guy, but we’ve all really got to grow up where real life is concerned. There are no super-heroes, the nice guy doesn’t always end up with the girl, and some police officers are more frightening and dangerous than the criminals they're supposed to protect us from. A badge is a lot of power, a lot of potentially scary power, easily abused and it takes a really awesome kind of person to honor the responsibility that is supposed to come with it, especially when surrounded day to day with the scum of the earth with no rules of their own to follow. “The Shield”
is about both types of policemen, a frightening tale of a very smart cop who uses his job for his own benefit, the police who actually want to ‘protect and serve’
, and the thin and easily scuffed line that separates the two.
Season Seven is titled “The Final Act”
. It’s the closer to a series that from episode one has been easily one of, if not THE most nail-biting television show ever to make it to the box. After watching Detective Vic Mackey
) and his strike team in the South Central LA Police Department commit murders, steal millions, and generally behave as badly as the perps they chase, it’s all come to the crisis point. Vic
's former best friend Shane
) is now his biggest enemy, the department is finally going to kick him out without his pension, his ex-wife wants to set him up to get arrested for his crimes…pretty much everybody is out to make Vic
’s career, his freedom or his life come to an end. Vic
, as per usual, has a back-up plan, but even he doesn't know all the players in the game and things look pretty dicey. It might finally be time for that long delayed comeuppance.
So what’s great about the final season? Much like every season before it, “The Final Act”
has astonishing performances, writing and camera work. Chiklis
and Walton Goggins
both particularly shine, especially as things build to the crescendo in the last few episodes. They're the two actors this final season is most about and they go above and beyond the call of duty dramatically as both characters spiral downwards towards their possible doom. As I’d heard repeatedly from folks who watched this season as it aired, “THIS is the way you end a TV show”
and when they say that, they're mainly talking about the work these two men do.
The crux of the problem for ending the show was, the character of Vic Mackey
was both a villain and a hero. He HAD to be punished and harshly but how to do that in a non-predictable fashion that suited his unique appeal to viewers? Show runner Shawn Ryan
found a way to wrap things up for Vic
that was both disturbing and beautiful that will leave your jaw gaping open and probably will require some quiet meditative alone time and maybe a few shots of bourbon. It’s a shocker to rival the end of the first episode, a finale that manages to be surprising and absorbing in practically every moment, and a bar-raiser for television that will set the standard for how to finish out a continuing story show the right way.
The final season isn’t without its problems though. There’s a last minute sub-plot involving the detective “Dutch”
) and the police captain Claudette Wyms
) about trying to prove that a teenage boy is a burgeoning serial killer that only seems there to write in a positive end to the friendship between the two police officers. The crime itself must have been solved off-screen…kind of anti-climactic for a season-long mystery. Some other characters never really get the comeuppance they certainly deserve, like ex-police captain/mayoral candidate David Acevada
) who may have been left the way he was to say something the corruption of most politiciand, but it doesn’t feel punctuated quite enough for dramatic purposes. Instead of re-appearances by Glenn Close
, Forrest Whittaker
, Anthony Anderson
or Franka Potente
, all of whom played major roles in previous seasons, season seven only re-introduces André Benjamin
, who played a small bit in season three, and serves here only as a plot device to wrap up Acevada
’s story. Basically, while the strike team all get to go out with a bang, no one else gets quite the same amount of attention. To be fair, you’re left with a ‘well, life goes on’
feeling that is entirely appropriate. In this horrible place, life does indeed go on and it’s going to be shitty with or without the strike team hanging around.
For this final set, in addition to cast and crew commentary on the episodes and deleted scenes, we’re treated with some nice extras, most notably two featurettes about the making of the last season and specifically of the last 90-minute episode that are insightful and incredibly moving. Having been in a few theater productions myself (I know, you learn something new about Cyrus
every time he picks up the keyboard) I know how emotionally draining the last performance is and the featurettes don’t shirk in showing you all the crying and tributes and just plain camaraderie between this troupe of amazing actors. You’ll tear up while watching the last episode but you’ll weep while watching them all say goodbye to each other.
So what do I do now? So many of my favorite shows are coming to an end. “The Shield”
was easily one of my absolute favorite programs ever (certainly my fave cop show) and it ended with grace. But it’s still over. Oh, I know there’ll be another police drama someday but I need some time. You can’t step away from a relationship like I had with “The Shield”
and right into a new one. “The Wire”
keeps sending me meet-up requests on Adult Show Friend Finder
but I’m just not ready to move on yet. Perhaps someday I can enter into another mature watching situation like this one, but I worry…was it SO good that it’ll make it that much harder to enjoy my time with some other show? Only time will tell. In the meantime, I’ll greedily hold onto my box sets of all seven seasons and watch ‘em again in a year or two. Maybe Shawn Ryan
will sneak into my house and replace a few discs with slightly different episodes so it’ll be a new experience. Maybe this time Vic
will find a different path. Hmm. Maybe I should stop now before I end up writing fan fiction.
Click Here to Buy The Shield: Season Seven - The Final Act