The Shield (FX)
Few television police procedurals have matched the intensity of The Shield. Here characters push against legal, psychological, and moral boundaries so fluid and porous as to offer no guidelines, no clear perspective. Viewers are forced into sympathy for villains and disgust at those in authority. At the core of its “What price order?” quandaries is Vic Mackey, masterfully portrayed by Michael Chiklis. Mackey is a corrupt detective who strives to protect his family, his colleagues, and his city from further descent into chaos, even as he himself perpetrates violence of the most horrible sort. His associates, Detectives Shane Vendrell (Walton Goggins), Curtis Lemansky (Kenneth Johnson), and Ronnie Gardocki (David Rees Snell), are his partners in murder and theft, his protectors, and potentially his betrayers. In the 2005 season they worked under the eye of Captain Monica Rawling (Glenn Close in an outstanding performance). Other characters strenuously attempt to remain the “good cops” in the precinct, most notably detectives Claudette Wyms (CCH Pounder), Dutch Wagenbach (Jay Karnes), and officers Julien Lowe (Michael Jace) and “Danny” Sofer (Catherine Dent). All are in ever-deepening conflict with their former commanding captain, David Aceveda (Benito Martinez), now a city councilman. At the emotional center of Mackey’s life is his wife, Corinne (Cathy Cahlin Ryan), who manages a home and a life cluttered with the implications of her husband’s choices. A host of guest stars in stunning short-term performances add to The Shield’s remarkable ensemble. Creator/executive producer Shawn Ryan works with an equally powerful company of producers, writers, and directors. Among them are co-executive producer Scott Brazil, producers Michael Chiklis, Adam E. Fierro, Kevin G. Cremin, and Dean White, writers Scott Rosenbaum, Lia Langworthy, Sarah Fain, and Elizabeth Craft, and directors Nick Gomez and Scott Brazil. For creating an ongoing narrative that clarifies values and actions even as it questions them, a Peabody Award is presented to The Shield.
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