The Shield was never a conventional cops and robbers series, and in Series 7 it's not really even cops and cops. It's a study of moral and personal disintegration, which reaches a grimly predestined conclusion. There's always been a strong religious sub-text to The Shield, from the opening moments in a de-consecrated Church, the Barn, itself an indication of how a suburb of the City of Angels has become a bestial cesspit, appropriately called Farmington. Series 7 is about the desperate search for redemption of the remaining members of the Strike Team, through an increasingly desperate moral nightmare of violence and betrayal, where the members of the Team resort to trying to kill each other, and where there are many Judases, but no Jesus. Redemption, of a sort, comes to Mackey after his confession to the federal agency which has mysteriously intervened to save him, but no forgiveness. Perversely, Shane and Mara find a kind of redemption in their mutual love, even as Mackey's own wife finally turns against him. Hell, said the theologians, is separation from God. If Shane thought that he and his family would be reunited in heaven, the Mackey, separated from everyone and everything he has ever valued, could be said to be in Hell at the end. The fact that he's alive simply means he has more time to suffer. This is the extraordinary conclusion of one of the most astonishing drama series of modern times.