The Shield: Season 7
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The Shield: Season 7

0Most television shows either run year after year even though originality has become a thing of the distant past or the executives at the networks pull the plug canceling the series before it had a sufficient opportunity to find itself and gather an audience. It is exceptionally rare for a series to receive a proper ending show respect not only for the fans but the talented cast and crew that made the series popular in the first place. The first television series that was afforded the dignity of a proper ending was in 1967 with the two episode series conclusion of the immensely popular drama, ‘The Fugitive’. This resulted in unheard of ratings as the nation tuned in to watch Dr. Richard Kimball finally catch up with the infamous ‘one-armed’ since if sufficient warming of cancellation was given a few series have been give a chance to wrap up the open plot lines and tie up the loose strings. One of the latest shows granted this boon was the Fox F/X original crimes series ‘The Shield’. For six seasons fans watch with anticipation following the exploits of a crooked but highly effective police detective Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis) as he and his anti-gang task force took down the worse criminals while helping themselves to an extremely lucrative take of many illegal enterprises. This series was ground breaking; taking its loyal audience to a place no fan of cop shows could previously imagine. ‘The Shield’ was brutally graphic, the language was much harsher that broadcast networks would than allowed albeit not as explicit as common on the upper tier stations. Likewise the themes the stories explored push the limits but never utilized much overt nudity. This was the first of a new breed of series for basic cable set between familiar regular television and networks like HBO where almost anything goes.

The series was crafted by Shawn Ryan, former producer for one of Joss Whedon’s hits ‘Angel’. Ryan twisted everything you have ever come to expect in a police series infusing the story lines with a near perfect blending of action and drama spiced with expertly measured dollops of greed, lust, betrayal and ambition. By the time that this final season begins the past six years of conniving, plotting and barely keeping one step ahead of the police and the criminals Makey finds that all he has built is a rapidly disintegrating house of cards. The last season set up the endgame that is about to play out. Lieutenant Jon Kavanaugh (Forest Whitaker) had been assigned by Internal Affairs to discover the extent of Mackey’s illegal activities, help build against him and his strike team and finally bring them to justice. Kavanaugh makes a brief appearance here but his obsession with bringing Mackey down has come to physical blows discrediting Kavanaugh in the eyes of senior management. One of his last ploys was to try to divide and conquer the strike team isolating Mackey. Charges were leveled against the only member with a hint on conscience, Curtis "Lem" Lemansky (Kenneth Johnson). Making it seem like he was going to cut a deal to lessen his own sentence. Although that was false the team’s second in command, Shane Vendrell (Walton Goggins) plans to covertly rectify the potential problem by luring Lem to a deserted location dropping a live grenade next to his former friend murdering him. One of the main plot lines in this concluding season involves Shane’s ultimately failed attempt to hide his responsibility for Lem from Mackey and ultimately a deadly cat and mouse game the pair are forced into. In order to secure some quick cash and perhaps a modicum of safety in order to get his family away Shane curries favor with the Armenian gang offering his police protective services, this prompts an investigation by the Feds and Vic’s growing suspicions. As a full scale gang war between the Armenians and the Mexicans to kill Vic. This results in Shane being trapped between his friendship to Vic and a primal sense of survival. Shane’s last ditch effort to protect himself comes in the form of a detailed written account and confession that would them all away. ]all that does is back fire leaving Shane no way out and Vic looking to cut a deal with the feds for a job with their task force in return for his intimate knowledge of the gang’s secrets, particularly a Mexican drug lord Beltran who has a box full of blackmail information with extremely far ranging victims. Vic really has little choice. His family is rightfully afraid of being near him resulting in his ex-wife, Corrine (looking for witness relocation. The current head of the precinct, Claudette Wyms (CCH Pounder) is about to watch her command closed down but that pale to her terminal illness. Vic has to choice between a fast deals for himself or waiting until the last strike team member, Ronnie Gardocki (David Rees Snell) can be included but Vic betrays him to cut a quick deal for himself. The pressure mounts on Vic as the brass want him to put in his paper work for retirement, now. Vic had hoped to be able to stay on at least a couple more months to get to the 15 year mark and at first that is agreeable but that is soon shortened to a matter of days.

There is a certain degree of freedom allotted to the writers when preparing for a planned conclusion of a popular series. First of all it can have the survival rate of Macbeth. You can litter the set with the corpses of regular characters if you want to; no one has to survive. This translated here to a sense of never knowing what will happen next. The episodes in this season there are more than a few truly spectacular departures in television history. Vic is painted into a corner like nothing he has ever encountered. He is the kind of character that has always been Teflon; able to skate away from the worse mess. Now he has to watch has his meticulously built life collapses around him trapping him under the debris. This season will com/pel you undivided attention with every episode.

Posted 2010

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