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Welcome to the Barn,
This review is from: The Shield: Series 1 - 7 [DVD]  (DVD)
Vic Mackey runs the Strike team from L.A's Farmington police station. A rapid response task force, they bend rules to achieve goals, often running into trouble with both superiors and local government. It soon becomes obvious that the team are corrupt and willing to go to any lengths to protect themselves. The problem is that they are pretty good at covering their tracks and they also produce results which makes nailing them difficult. As the episodes progress so does the depth of their lawlessness and so they must go to increasingly more complicated lengths to keep themselves one step ahead of the ever growing crowd of those trying to prove their crimes.
The shield rose way above the run of the mill police procedural thanks to razor sharp scripting which managed to make every episode exciting yet believable and producing fully rounded personalities in so many different characters.
The standard of acting was among the most consistantly high of any TV programme.
Michael Chiklis somehow managed to make the truly wicked and ruthless Vic come across as both human and likeable. His leadership is deeply flawed and ultimately self centered to the point of destruction. His strike team partners are equally well drawn characters. Walton Goggins really impresses as Shane Vendrell,the hopeless redneck with a hair trigger temper and very little brain who is willing to follow Vic to hell and back and eventually does. As Lemansky, Kenny Johnson gives a counterpoint to Vic & Shanes' gung-ho attitude with a measured performance of someone in over his head whose doubts grow with each episode. The real stand-out performance must surely be the excellent Benito Martinez as police chief David Aceveda who starts out as a clean as a whistle chief who eventually enters politics and finds his hands getting as dirty as those of his enemy Mackey.
Added to the mix are a police station full of kooks, confused, selfish and downright weird cops whose worlds all collide with the strike team. The strike teams families whose lives are slowly pulled apart by their actions. Not to be ignored also are the guest appearances. Especially Glenn Close who turns up for a season as the new chief who backs Vic and tries to sort out the whole mess and the truly inspired Forrest Whittaker whose performance as an internal investigations officer trailing Vic, unravelling mentally over one and a half series, is a powerhouse performance that shakes up even this already amazing programme.
The whole 7 series' are high octane storylines that simply do not let up. There are no slow 'filler' episodes and each one see's the stakes raised for all involved. This whole programme could have been superb just looking at the interaction between the police characters but when you add the amazing array of cases they investigate and the villains they chase,(Anthony Johnson as the unflappable kingpin Antwon Mitchell is superb), then this really takes off as something quite special.
The action is in the raw and is bloody and violent, as is the language at times, so be warned.
If you have enjoyed the wire then you'll probably love this.
Yet another TV classic has come to an end but what a ride it has been with the boys from the strike team.