TV Flashback – The Shield


TV Flashback - The ShieldAired: 2002 – 2008

Number of Seasons: 7

Created By: Shawn Ryan

Starring: Michael Chiklis, Walton Goggins, CCH Pounder, Jay Karnes, Benito Martinez, Catherine Dent, Michael Jace, Cathy Cahlin Ryan, David Rees Snell, Kenny Johnson, David Marciano, Paula Garces, Michele Hicks, Glenn Close, Laurie Holden, Forest Whitaker, Brian White and Alex O’Loughlin

 

Back in 2002, FX began to air a cop show that didn’t bring a good cop/bad cop vibe to the fold but a different kind of cop to the small screens and had us glued and then numbed by the final minutes of the shows thrill ride end in 2008 with a cop that is just as vindictive as the criminals he arrests, but yet, you can’t look away as you witness the good he does but does it justify what happens along the way? The Shield was initially based on the Rampart division of the Los Angeles Police Department corruption charges they faced and was one of the titles considered for the show until opposition from the LAPD (‘The Barn’ was also considered since it’s the nickname of the building that they are stationed in, but was rejected by the network as they believed potential audiences would think it was a gardening show or something similar, believe it or not). With the shows no hold bars with it’s graphic violence and graphic content which pushed the boundaries of the rating system (example of which being the season one episode ‘Cherrypoppers’ which is still uncomfortable viewing to this day, even though you see nothing, just hearing it gives it enough impact to make you shiver), it even scared advertisers from initially paying to be in it’s schedules between episodes, until they seen the shows high ratings and decided otherwise. Even through there is alot the main cast go through in the series run, most of it focused on the Strike Team which consisted of Ronnie Gardocki (David Rees Snell), Curtis ‘Lemonhead aka Lem’ Lemansky (Kenny Johnson), Shane Vendrell (Walton Goggins) and lead by Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis). Unfortunately The Shield doesn’t get the praise it really deserves due to another cop show that had a run at the same time (The Wire) though it was a much more adrenalin induced show out of the two.  So here i’ll break down an overview of each season and then discuss what recurring characters popped up on the show, what actors showed up that you may be more recognisable now, my favourite characters and episodes and then finally where the cast are now. So warning, there shall be SPOILER details ahead.

 

Series Overview

The first season starts off with a member of the Strike Team, Terry Crowley, is actually working with Captain David Aceveda to exploit Vic and his team as corrupt cops in Farmington. At the end of the first episode during a ride on a drug dealer named Two Time, Ronnie and Lem check the house for him, while Vic and Shane find him and take him out. It’s here where that this one moment will have consequences for the Strike Team throughout the series, as Terry enters and Vic puts a bullet to his head using Two Times gun, with Vic towering over his body in disappointment, leading to the end credits. So the first season has Aceveda gunning for Vic and believes that they did it, but has no evidence to prove otherwise. On the streets, Vic has ties to the streets with Kern Little (Sticky Fingaz) to have some money on the side through drug deals but a beef between Kern and T-Bonz begins to ruffle to a gang war which Vic and the Strike Team attempt to stop before innocents get hurt. Back with people at The Barn, Officer Julien Lowe is dealing with his conflict of his homosexual desires with his religious beliefs, Detective Holland ‘Dutch’ Wagenbach deals with a serial killer on the loose and Aceveda has to deal with a previous flame making accusations to the press against him that could damage his candidacy to run for city council. The season ends with Assistant Chief and friend of Vic’s Ben Gilroy, looking for his help in an accident, then Vic begins to unravel Gilroy’s exploits which has the two going head to head and Aceveda having to choose a side of which corrupt cop to take down.

 

Season two sees the show take the graphic content up a notch with the opening episode showing you what is known as ‘necklacing’ and it’s still as uncomfortable to watch as it was the first time you witness it. With having to deal with the fact that his wife Corrine (Cathy Cahlin Ryan) left with his kids and he has a private investigator out looking to find their whereabouts,  Vic has to deal with a new player in town as Armadillo Quintero (Danny Pino) tampers a bad batch of drugs from Mexico to all the dealers in Los Angeles so he and his people can move in and take out the market place. Armadillo happens to be a villain that pushes Vic to his limits and one of the few times, we witness Vic snap. We also have a new member in the Strike Team Tavon Garris (Brian White) who proves he is a  useful addition to the team but there is a bit of tension between him and Shane. After the initial riots that broke out due to a murder in the season 1 finale, there’s a civilian auditor keeping an eye on every detail at The Barn and Dutch’s ego gets brought back down to reality as he fails to capture a killer before a woman lost he life as he interviewed them but released them. Another storyline involves Julien now taking therapy sessions at his church to help his homosexual desires and falls in love with Vanessa (Monnae Michaell) but soon his past is exposed at The Barn. The main storyline of the second season is that the Strike Team learn of a shipment from the Armenian mob, a ‘money train’ of all their dirty money is placed at to be shipped out and they decide and plan to rip it off. Once the team make their move, things will never be the same again.

 

Season three sees the Strike Team on red alert as they discover that the US Treasury had placed traced bills in the money stolen from the Armenian mob and they get tipped off from one of the Armenian’s that survived the ambush that they were infact robbed and that they killed two of their men, which would mean that if the Strike Team were to be caught, they’ll also be hit with a murder charge. The Decoy Squad, which consist of Detectives Walon Burke (Gareth Williams), Annie Prince (Aisha Hinds), Trish George (Nicki Micheaux) and Eddie (Ted Emporellis), gets moved to The Barn from Wilshere and competition begins to unfold between them and the Strike Team. David Aceveda is still Captain for the time being, but mostly the angle he deals with this season is him being sexually assaulted and him planning to take revenge while his marriage begins to fall apart in the process. Dutch is trying to find a serial killer known as The Cuddler, Claudette Wyms (CCH Pounder) takes on a case of a public defender’s murder and begins to look into drug addiction, risking losing her career in the case of helping an innocent man from prison. Once again, the Strike Team remain the focus of dealing with the consequences of the money train heist, Lem becomes overcome with so much guilt and stress that he’s having ulcers. Meanwhile Tavon and Shane finally thrown down which results in Tavon being hospitalised. Shane learns that Mara (Michele Hicks) is also pregnant and the two get married. The team place the traced bills for an irishman named Neil O’Brien to pickup but Margos is back in Farmington and taking retribution against anyone linked to the stolen money and kills O’Brien and is gunning for the Strike Team next. Lem finally can’t take it anymore and burns the majority of the money and the Strike Team is no more.

 

Season four sees a new look Farmington with a new captain in Monica Rawlings, looking to bring in a controversial asset forfeiture policy to tackle gang violence in the city. The season also deals with the aftermath of the Strike Team going their separate ways, Shane is in vice with a new partner Armando ‘Army’ Renta (Michael Pena), who try to work with one-niners drug king Antwon Mitchell which leads them down a dangerous path and needs help from his former partners to bail him out. For Claudette and Dutch, they’re still benched in the major cases due to Claudette not apoligising to the DA on reopening a specific case and the two come across the path of Kleavon Gardner. Aceveda is dealing with the aftermath of his sexual assault and meets with Sara Frazier (Abby Brammell).

 

In the fifth season, we’re introduced to a new intimidating figure in IAD Lieutenant John Kavanuagh (Forest Whitaker). After learning from one of Vic’s informants that Lem stole heroin but never turned it in, Kavanuagh tries to use Lem to incriminate the rest of the Strike Team, in particular for the murder of Detective Terry Crowley, while the Strike Team try to figure out a way to save Lem from the situation that he’s in. Other storylines here included Danni (Catherine Dent) being pregnant and some trying to figure out who the father is and Claudette’s illness is starting to come to the forefront. This season mostly dealt with the Kavanuagh versus Strike Team angle and have to say that not only was this one of The Shield’s best seasons, but also one of the best seasons of television period, with a devastating ending.

 

Season six follows the devastating events of the fifth season’s finale with Vic hell bent on vengeance for Lem’s death, particularly gunning for El Salvadoran Guardo, who he believes has a hand in his death. When the Strike Team learn about the deal that Lem had and that Aceveda fed them a lie, Shane begins to spiral out of control dealing with the consequences of Lem’s death. Another major storyline beside the Lem’s death secret coming out was the San Marcos murders that the Barn need to clear to save the place, with the investigation leading them to an undercover ICE agent in the El Salvadoran crime ring known as Hernan. The season goes out on an edgy note leading to the final season, with Shane in bed with the Armenians and foolishly letting slip about the Strike Team’s involvement in the money train, but also Vic doing his best to save his job, discovering that Cruz Pezuela has a blackmail box on several council/government officials and has links with the Cartel to setup and have a foothold in Farmington, creating an unlikely alliance between him and David Aceveda.

 

The seventh and final season sees all things coming to ahead, with Vic trying to create a gang war between the Mexicans and the Armenians to solve the two issues of trying to get out of bed with the Armenians on paying back for the money train robbery and also getting Cruz Pezuela to slip up and he can pin him to save his job. He and Ronnie also use this to try and get rid of Shane once and for all, which of course fails, and leads to a dark and twisted final half of the season. The storyline of this and the angles being played out throughout this season with Vic undercover getting into bed with Pezuela is just as intriguing on repeated viewing, if not more, and Vic trying to play/hold so many cards you are just enthralled believing that he must slip up at some point. Other storylines include Corrine making a life changing decision, Dutch coming across a sixteen year old who he believes committed the perfect murder and is potentially a serial killer and Claudette’s condition worsens.

 

Recurring Characters/Before They Were Famous Faces

Kern Little

TV Flashback - The Shield - Supporting Characters - Kern Little Played By Sticky FingazKern Little is played by Sticky Fingaz. Kern was an aspiring rapper in a middle of a beef with T-Bone/T-Bonz when we first met him, through Vic’s CI Rondell Robinson. In order to stop a gang war from commencing, Vic places the both of them in a storage container so they can both come to a solution….just so happens the solution was Kern would be the only one to walk out alive. He would work a few times with the Strike Team throughout the shows run until he popped up again one more time in season five, with his rap career done and gone and back to potentially lead the one-niners, he would be killed by one of Antwon Mitchell’s guys, to make sure that Kern Little wouldn’t become numero uno for the gang.

 

Connie Riesler

TV Flashback - The Shield - Jamie Ann Allman as Connie RieslerConnie Riesler was one of Vic’s CI’s played by Jamie Ann Allman in the earlier seasons of The Shield. A crack-addicted prostitute and a single mother, Vic had a soft spot for Connie’s plight and tried to help Connie out with some jams for the sake of her son Brian, even trying to help her go cold turkey in order to keep her son but unfortunately fails and loses her son, being placed into foster care. The next time we see her, Connie returns clean and drug free, looking to be an official CI for Vic so in order to get paid and unfortunately ends up placing herself into a situation where she becomes a hostage and gets fatally shot.

 

Assistant Chief Ben Gilroy

TV Flashback - The Shield - John Diehl as Ben Gilroy in The ShieldBen Gilroy was played by John Diehl that appeared in the first two seasons. The first Assistant Chief in the shows run, Ben was a friend of Vic’s, more often than not covering his back while all the allegations of corruption and police brutality were more often than not being thrown Vic’s way. He also happened to be the one that notified Vic that Terry Crowley was looking to implicate the Strike Team in illegal activities. When Ben needs Vic’s help to settle a hit and run he was involved in, Vic learns that Gilroy was using his political influence to facilitate an illegal real estate scam. After threatening his family and will he/won’t he moment, Vic brings Ben to the Barn to be processed and disgraced. Gilroy would pop up the next season looking for Vic to help him once again to escape to Mexico. Learning that Gilroy was trying to incriminate the team and him being willing to testify against them for a reduced sentence, if offered, Vic gets him a new identity to get to Mexico and also manage to get Ben to unknowingly pay a hitman to kill him if he enters California ever again. Ben would pop up one more time, only this time in a morgue, after dying homeless and alone on his own vomit in Mexico.

 

Aurora Aceveda

TV Flashback - The Shield - Supporting Characters - Aurora Aceveda Played By Camillia Sanes MonetAurora is David Aceveda’s wife and supporter of his political campaign. She remains by his side during his campaign, no matter what personal obstacles are thrown their way, such as the rape allegation from the past in Season 1. Their relationship is put to the test after David was raped but it is summarised that they finally get through it towards the end of Season 4. It’s a shame that since then Aurora barely pops up again.

 

Assistant Chief Roy Phillips

TV Flashback - The Shield - Supporting Characters - Roy Phillips Played By Nigel GibbsAnytime you seen Chief Phillips show up at the Barn, it’s safe to assume that it’s not good news. Replacing Ben Gilroy as Assistant Chief of Police, Roy would often be on the scene to give the bad news to a member of staff from the brass about their jobs or if a case was making people concerned out in the streets. More often than not, he would have Vic be assigned to certain cases to help get it solved quickly, rather than care about the how.

 

Antwon Mitchell

TV Flashback - The Shield - Supporting Characters - Antwon Mitchell Played By Anthony AndersonThere’s been few villains that have got the best of Vic Mackey. The one that came the closest though was Armadillo in Season 2 but then there’s just one more character that was a thorn in Vic’s backside and that was Antwon Mitchell. Mitchell was a kingpin, trying to appear as a reinvented figure after a lengthy prison sentence, trying to be an upstanding community leader for the black people of Farmington, while also secretly flooding the streets with black tar heroin. Believing that he as Antwon in his backpocket, Shane discovers that he’s in over his head as Mitchell kills a fourteen year old kid right in front of him with his and his partner at the time, Army’s, guns. He then tries to blackmail Shane into killing Vic, also gives the go ahead for two cops, Carl and Scooby, to be murdered but eventually gets imprisoned for all of the above. The sound of Lem facing jail time brought Mitchell back into the mix, preaching to Vic that his reach will get Lem killed, just a matter of the where and when. There’s been a number of evil characters in the show but Mitchell was a constant threat and I’ll never look at Ted from Hang time the same way again. RESPECT!

 

Emolia Melendez

TV Flashback - The Shield - Supporting Characters - Emolia Melendez Played By Onahoua RodriguezEmolia becomes an informant for Vic, who shows some sympathy towards her as a single mother (remind you of anyone?) who has a son with special needs, named Sebastian. Unbeknownst to Vic at the time when they first met, Emolia witnessed Lem stealing the heroin and reported it to Internal Affairs and remained silent about it for six months, all the while giving him information and accepting gifts for her son. She eventually becomes a chest piece in the war between Vic and Kavanaugh, she ends up getting witness protection to escape from the life of Farmington.

 

Cruz Pezuela

TV Flashback - The Shield - Supporting Characters - Cruz Pezuela Played By FJ RioCruz Pezuela was a right smug mouthpiece. Played by FJ Rio, Pezuela was a real estate devloper, who happened to have a political mindset, seeking out David Aceveda to gather intel on the Farmington area. As he pressures Aceveda to solve the San Marcos murders, with Vic taking a particular interest into his keenless, Pezuela’s motives become clear as he offers Vic some evidence to use as leverage against Aceveda and discovers that Pezuela has serious connections with the Mexican Cartel and has a blackmail box on high ranking city officials in order for the Cartel to take over Farmington. He was an interesting side character to have but really lost his appeal when we discovered that he had a boss and with Aceveda kicking his ass in front of Beltran (the boss), he just appeared as just your standard lackey. Had some good quotes though.

 

Here is a list of other actors that have appeared in an episode or two through The Shield’s run and there is some recognisable names here: Matt Corby (Officer Ray Carlson), Frank Grillo (Officer Paul Jackson), Natalie Zea (Lauren Riley), Scoot McNairy (Doug Obermyer), Clark Gregg (William Faulks), Clifton Collins Jr (Hernan), Jose Zuniga (Gino), Walter Jones (Rondell Robinson), Rebecca Pidgeon (Joanna Faulks), Reed Diamond (Detective Terry Crowley), Frances Fisher (Rita Denton), Carl Weathers (Joe Clark), Stana Katic (Alya), Gina Torres (Sadie Kavanaugh), Emilio Rivera (Navaro Quintero), Noel Gugliemi (Top guy of the Prophets gang), Andre Benjamin aka Andre 3000 of Outkast (Robert Huggins), Jon Huertas (Robbie Villanueva), Paula Jai Parker (Desirae), Paul Ben-Victor (Detective Paul Reyes), Sung Kang (Malcolm Rama), Jay Harrington (Tom Ross), Kwame Patterson (Streetz), Brent Sexton (Paul Fets), Matt Gerald (Tommy Hisk), Kurt Sutter (Margos),  Brent Roam (Tomas Motyashik), Danny Pino (Armadillo Quintero), Ray Campbell (Kleavon Gardner), Kristen Bell ( Jessica Hintel), Daniel Dae Kim (Thomas Choi), Katey Sagal (Nancy Gilroy), Michael Pena (Detective Armando Renta), Laura Harring (Rebecca Doyle), Pat Healy (Mike Fletcher), Franka Potente (Diro Kesakhian), VJ Foster (Smith), Abby Brammell (Sara Fraizer), Cedric Pendleton (Tio) and Ally Walker (Tori Burke).

 

Top 5 characters

5. John Kavanaugh 

TV Flashback - The Shield - Top 5 Characters - John KavanaughHe may have only been in it for just over a season but Kavanaugh made an everlasting impact at the Barn and on the Strike Team. Coming into the fold as Internal Affairs look to capitalise at Lem’s expense on him stealing heorin, with Kavanaugh looking to use Lem to rat on his friends, more specifically Vic Mackey. Appearing calm, collective and methodical in dealing with the case and handling Lem, as the case grows we witness Vic getting under his skin, so much so that Kavanaugh loses his cool and progressively turns in the corrupt cop that he’s hunting, from removing the beard and being completely bald to planting evidence to ‘do what is right’ in cementing Vic’s corrupt ass, Kavanaugh has a change of heart as he realises what he’s becoming and can’t stomach it, resulting in him going to prison. But at least he’s at peace with himself.

 

4. Claudette Wyms

TV Flashback - The Shield - Top 5 Characters - Claudette WymsClaudette was one of the very few bright lights of the Barn in that she was morally incorruptible, regardless of who you were or how high up the ladder you were, which sometimes resulted her in being benched from their peers (i.e Season 4). Behind the opposite side of the coin, Claudette has bashed heads with Vic over the series run which comes to a head in a scene between the two in the finale. Claudette was one tough woman, standing up to authority and her partnership with Dutch was one of the few light moments that the show had. At first she didn’t have a set agenda or take sides in particular arguments i.e Vic being corrupt, then slowly but surely started to get a little bit more political headed in order to move up and turn into what Aceveda was like at the start of the show – set out to get rid of Vic Mackey. Her illness coming to the equation in the later seasons and yet battling on whilst on the job just added to the depth of the character.

 

3. Curtis ‘Lemonhead/Lem’ Lemansky

TV Flashback - The Shield - Top 5 Characters - LemAh, Lem. Lem was the heart and soul of the Strike Team, often there as the voice of reason, even though if he believes that a particular member of the group (often Shane) is in the wrong but is in need of some help to get out of a jam, Lem always had their back. As caring as he was loyal (seen in particular Lem centric episode ‘Throwaway’), there was a certain innocence to him, even though he was on the wrong path, mainly for Vic leading him there, it all came to a head in season five to testing his loyalties – did he prefer jail time or escape it by serving up his friends? The fact he was willing to take the sacrifice of jail, even if it meant having to come across whatever fate Antwon Mitchell had planned for him, in order to protect the Strike Team, who he saw as family, tells you where his loyalty lies. Unfortunately a certain member couldn’t take that chance, which resulted in one of the most shocking television moments ever.

 

2. Shane Vendrell

TV Flashback - The Shield - Top 5 Characters - Shane VendrellIn the early seasons he’d appear to be the idiot that stood alongside Vic and would puff up extra standing tall alongside him, until the Armenian money train robbery takes place, then we see a different side to Shane. We go through three phases with Shane, in the first two seasons leading up to the money train incident, he is a bit of a fool and a mouthpiece but is a cop, is good at what he does even though he’s bent. Then he becomes more and more like his mentor, the demon child coming of age after the money train, leading to the point where he even believes his actions in taking out a fellow cop like his mentor for the interests of protecting the Team (“All I did was following your game plan coach!”) in killing Lem. The difference between the two is that Shane’s grief gets the best of him in the final few seasons after killing Lem, the guilt weighing heavy on his conscious and shoulders, so much so he even sounds so raw when he talks, which I didn’t pick up on before until doing the rewatch marathon for this post. We witness the character grow as well as Walton Goggins playing him and become one of the best character actors around today.

 

1. Vic Mackey

TV Flashback - The Shield - Top 5 Characters - Vic MackeyIt’s an achievement in itself that a show, which has the main lead shoot and kill a fellow cop in the end of the pilot episode, yet makes sure you are with him to the bitter end and at times bet on him to clean the streets. Vic Mackey is not your standard villain, nor does he fit into the mold of good cop/bad cop, so like he states early on he’s just a ‘different kind of cop’. He certainly falls in the tag that is often used to describe the best of villains – why great villain sees him/herself as the hero. Vic believes in the methodology of doing what you have to do to survive and he does exactly that, whether it be killing a fellow cop to save his team, pocketing from busts, working with particular gangs, robbing mobs, you think of it and Vic has done it and then some. It’s a testament to the writers and Michael Chiklis himself that as despicable a man that Vic Mackey is, he’s such a fascinating character to watch and treading the fine line of at times agreeing with him and if ever you wanted a criminal or killer caught on your streets, you’d want to unleash the Mackey.

 

Top 5 episodes

5. Kavanaugh (Season 5, Episode 8)

TV Flashback - The Shield - Top 5 Episodes - Kavanaugh - Season 5 Episode 8As Kavanaugh deals with the emotional circumstances surrounding the return of his ex-wife, his obsession to take down the Strike Team comes to a head.

Normally the show primarily focused on a member of the Barn in the series run, until towards the end of season 5, where we witness IAD Detective John Kavanaugh at the front and centre of this episode, which is titled on the character. We knew next to nothing about Kavanaugh, other than he was becoming increasingly frustrated with trying to nail Vic (who wouldn’t?) for his crimes and in this episode we see everything from his viewpoint and even know a few things about Kavanaugh as a person, from his breakfast routine in the morning to dealing with the incident of his ex-wife reappearing Sadie (Gina Torres) and trying to protect Emolia from Vic who is using her to undercover and inflitrate an El Salvadoran gang that is using grenade attacks on the streets of Farmington. Forest Whitaker is as captivating as always with leading this episode from his POV, showing just how strong The Shield had become at this stage of it’s run of a season that had quite a few strong episodes that could’ve easily been on this list (but sadly, there must be five).

 

4. Dragonchasers (Season 1, Episode 10)

TV Flashback - The Shield - Top 5 Episodes - Dragonchasers - Season 1 Episode 10As Dutch uncovers a lead to the serial killer, a reporter questions force Aceveda to explain problems he thought were buried far in the past.

The episode where the Dutchman finally earned some credibility and respect amongst his co-workers, turning him from the blunt of Vic’s jokes to bruise his ego to the man of the hour. When Dutch learns of a public masturbator and how close he was to a crime scene in one of the serial killer’s murders, he believe’s that he’s found his guy. The problem is, he needs to methodically get evidence to place with his gut feeling. Sean Taylor (Sean Taylor) is as controlled in his responses and is as egotistical (Hammering Dutch’s inadequacies on the Whiteboard) as serial killers go, so it’s with this build of him bashing Dutch for hours that attracts an audience at the Barn (picture above), it’s still fist pump worthy to this day of Dutch nailing Sean to the murders of the girls, with Dutch getting the final shot of destroying Sean’s ego on him being special, “If you’re so special, how come a lowly civil servant like me just caught you?” and after a rousing applause from his colleagues, Dutch takes time away to have a moment to himself to cry which cements the episode as a favourite for me.  You almost forget that there is other storylines in this epsiode, with Connie attempting and sadly failing to go cold turkey in an attempt to keep hold of her son Brian, with the addiction winning out other parenthood, Shane lets his other brain get him into more trouble, being played by a stripper during a stripper scam bust and we’re introduced to blanket parties after a HIV-positive prostitute bites Danni and the blanket party is in retaliation from a few officers from the Barn, including Julien, and they’re not fun.

 

3. Possible Kill Screen (Season 7, Episode 12) 

TV Flashback - The Shield - Top 5 Episodes - Possible Kill Screen - Season 7 Episode 12Mara breaks her collarbone and accidentally shoots and kills an innocent person when Shane’s plan to get more money goes sideways. Meanwhile, Vic contemplates leaving Ronnie out to dry and taking a deal with the Feds without him.

Will the real Vic Mackey please stand up! The series had been building to this moment since the ending of the pilot episode and Michael Chiklis managed to look older and raw as ever in his performance in detailing the crimes of The Strike Team as part of his immunity deal, even throwing Ronnie under the bus. It’s the long pause before he utters the words “I shot and killed Detective Terry Crowley”, that little thing that adds so much to the scene and performance, like Vic’s grinding the variables but everything comes out, every despicable detail. If anyone was still left on Vic’s side up to this point, seeing him as a cop willing to cut a few corners to make the streets safer, Vic lost any if not all of them in this episode, massaging his own ego about his smarts as he goes into further detail of his dirty deeds and letting the Strike Team all versus one motto die in that room and plans to string Ronnie along to get the Beltran bust done. The fact he took the deal in order to help his ex-wife Corrine, whom he thought was arrested, though she was working with the police to incriminate Vic, showed that regardless of the monster he has become, he always believes that he acts in the interests of his family (with a guy will turn on his friends for his family had been foreshadowed on a few occasions in the show, everyone assumed it would’ve been Shane in the end that done what Vic done). Speaking of Shane, he also happens to be unveiling his true self that he knew all along, the mask of being the mini-Vic but really a scared grafter, trying to make desperate robbery attempts to get quick cash to help keep his family safe on the run which leads to Mara committing a crime that takes away any chance of the Vendrell family being together.

 

2. Postpartum (Season 5, Episode 11)

TV Flashback - The Shield - Top 5 Episodes - Postpartum - Season 5 Episode 11Vic arranges to get Lem safely out of the country and set up a new life for him in Mexico.

The fifth season had an end game that even the writers/creator wasn’t too sure whether or not it was a good idea to follow through on, so much so that they wrote out the season to make the audience think with a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe Lem could make it out safely from this stint of going to prison by fleeing to Mexico. Unfortunately this is The Shield and the show doesn’t do moderately happy endings and we get one of the most talked about scenes from the series run (hell I think it’s even more talked about than the Terry Crowley death). With Shane meeting with Lem alone, literally pleading with him to take the deal of fleeing to Mexico that the Team has hooked up, Lem decides to fall on the sword and take the hit for everyone. Unknown to him though is that Aceveda fed the little white lie to Vic that Lem was talking, taking the Strike Team down for this new deal and Shane was feeling out whether Lem had ratted them out or not. Shane builds up to doing what he thinks is right in this situation, which is to drop a grenade at Lem’s feet to take him out of the equation. It’s heartbreaking, yet inevitable that all this buildup of the pivotal moment of Vic’s past that Lem is the first domino to fall and he certainly wouldn’t be the last.

 

1.  Family Meeting (Season 7, Episode 13)

TV Flashback - The Shield - Top 5 Episodes - Family Meeting - Season 7 Episode 13As Vic hopes his immunity deal will help keep his family together, and Shane takes extreme measures to keep his pregnant wife from being charged with murder, Dutch finds he’s a suspect in the disappearance of a teenage serial killer’s mother.

Coming in at almost two hours in length to wrap up the series end, it’s every bit as satisfying and emotionally draining of a finale that you would want. Learning that the final bit of leverage he had holding over Vic’s held was no longer there, Shane lost all hope of escaping and all the talk of how they’re always a family and will stay together, Shane, in his own drug fueled, screwed up mind, did exactly that, letting Mara and Jackson go out quietly whereas he himself goes out quick and violent as the police finally arrive to catch them. The scene with Mara and Jackson lying on the bed still gave me shivers rewatching it. The finale also gives Claudette a few moments to shine, on tackling killer Lloyd (who is attempting to frame Dutch for his mothers ‘death’), to coming face to face with Vic in the interrogation room over Shane’s letter before he killed himself, hell, even Ronnie finally gets his big moment when he realises that Vic has stabbed him in the back. The most satisfying payoff is where Vic ends up, believing that his smarts has earned him more time on the streets, he’s dealt with a devastating blow that not only has he lost his wife and kids, but he’s resigned to desk duties from hell for the next few years, showing that there is a fate worse than death for someone like Vic and told brilliantly by Chiklis in a wordless final scene of letting his expressions tell the story of the aftermath of destruction he’s closed and then….suit up and held out the door with a gun in hand.

 

Where are they now?

Michael Chiklis since The Shield has gone on to be the lead on two television shows, No Ordinary Family and Vegas, that only lasted one season, as well as appear in films such as Parker and Pawn after the shows end. He will currently appear in the upcoming new season of American Horror Story: Freak Show and in the upcoming film release of When The Game Stands Tall. You can also check out for Michael’s music by searching for the Michael Chiklis Band (website here). Also, Chiklis is the only original Strike Team member to have not appeared on Sons of Anarchy in some shape or form yet…maybe for the final season just one little cameo?

Walton Goggins went from one long running series to another, as he went to join another FX show, Justified, which is coming up to it’s sixth and final season. He’s also appeared in supporting roles in films such as Predators, Django Unchained and Machete Kills. of course, I then there’s that famous few appearances he has in Sons of Anarchy that has to be seen to be believed.

CCH Pounder has been up to alot on the small screen appearing in Sons of Anarchy in Season 6 (and assuming the final season) and also on Warehouse 13, as well as being the voice behind Amanda Waller in a number of DC Animated Films.  She’s had film roles in titles such as Avatar, Orphan and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. She will also be appearing next on the NCIS spin-off show NCIS: New Orleans, where he character has appeared on the original show last season to give you some insight into her character.

Jay Karnes has appeared on the other Shawn Ryan television show Last Resort, as well as having a pivotal role in the first season of Sons of Anarchy but has made plenty of guest appearances on the likes of Burn Notice, V, Scandal, Grimm and Chicago P.D. ‘The Dutchman’ has also appeared in films such as Jayhawkers and Setup, with his next stop is appearing in the upcoming Headlock film.

Benito Martinez is another actor that has been on Sons of Anarchy (spot the trend) in Seasons 4 and 5, a recurring role in Supernatural during the show’s Season 7 run and most recently a recurring role in the second season of House of Cards.

Catherine Dent since The Shield has had a recurring role in The Mentalist and most recently appeared in the new television series Gang Related. She also directed and co-wrote a short film called ‘Silk’, tackling the subject of children forced into marriage, starring Oscar nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo. Details can be found about Silk on the official website here.

Michael Jace has had a number of guest appearances on television on shows such as CSI, Burn Notice and Southland.

Cathy Cahlin Ryan has had guest appearances on Numb3rs, The Chicago Code (Another good cop show created by her husband Shawn Ryan) and Justified.

David Rees Snell has had recurring roles in Sutter’s Sons of Anarchy and Shawn Ryan’s short lived  Last Resort. If you’re a gamer, you’ve probably heard his voice in a few games, especially in the Call of Duty series.

Kenny Johnson as well as being another member of the Strike Team to crossover into the world of Sons of Anarchy, Kenny has featured in the tv series Saving Grace and Prime Suspect (US Version), while also having guest roles in Burn Notice, Dexter and most recently Bates Motel (which I believe he may return for in the second season).

David Marciano has appeared on a number of television shows, but he’ll be remembered for his role of Virgil in the hit show Homeland.

Paula Garces has adapted well to life outside of the Barn, ranging from the Harold and Kumar Christmas film, to tv series such as Defying Ravity, All My Children, Devious Maids and most recently Warehouse 13.

Michele Hicks has appeared in films such as Rehab, Chlorine and The Wicked Within.

Glenn Close left The Shield to be the lead in Damages for a few seasons and was most recently seen in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

Laurie Holden appeared for a few seasons on a television show not long after The Shield wrapped up called The Walking Dead.

Forest Whitaker still appears in a number of films since The Shield (and cast for the upcoming Taken 3) and also appeared once again on the small screen for Criminal Minds: Suspect Behaviour.

Brian White has had standing roles in a few shows on the small screen (Men of A Certain Age, Beauty and the Beast, Hostages) and has also appeared on the big screen in films such as Cabin In The Woods.

Alex O’Loughlin has mostly stayed on the small screen since departing from The Shield, in Moonlight and Three Rivers, he can currently be seen in Hawaii Five-O.

 

So what did you think of The Shield? What was your favourite episodes and who were your favourite characters? Let me know in the comments below.

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2 responses to “TV Flashback – The Shield

  1. I LOOOVED this Eamonn – so much attention to detail & really nicely written. Thoroughly enjoyed this! Dutch catching the serial killer also one of my top scenes. Couple of storylines I’d forgotten you reminded me of, in particular Julien’s struggle with his sexuality. Claudette was a great character – did find her a bit goody two shoes at times but that was because I was invariably always on Vic’s side 😀

    • Thank you Simantha 😀

      Interesting that in the later seasons that the wives of Julien and Aceveda just suddenly disappeared for the Strike Team/Lem potentially going to prison, hell even Danni sort of slowly got pulled into the background towards the end.

      Claudette needed to be 100% ‘goody goody’, hence Kavanaugh being the example of a goody slowly becoming bad.

      Was going to do a top 20 or so moments list on this but decided against it. Might bring it up again but as a separate post.

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