“The Shield” (2002-2008) is proof that we are actually living in television’s golden age, if only because so many of you haven’t heard of it. The fact is, there is now so much good US TV around that we can’t possibly see it all, and as a result shows like “The Shield” were pushed to late night slots on TV3 where they are never seen except by the drunk and the stoned and the drunk having sex with a slice of still warm pizza stuck to their bum.
The show centres around a special anti-gang “strike team” operating in a poor Los Angeles neighbourhood, led by possibly the greatest TV anti-hero of all, (At least until Dr. Gregory House came along.), Vic Mackey. Mackey is played by a brooding, thuggish Michael Chiklis, who will stun anyone who remembers him from the gentle family comedy drama “The Commish”. Indeed, the whole ensemble cast is superb, in particular Jay Karnes’s socially inept but dogged detective Holland “Dutch” Waggenbach.
The show is rough and hugely politically incorrect, but what really defines it is its moral greyness. Mackey and his team, indeed most of the characters, are either corrupt or at least compromised, and yet when you see what they have to face on a daily basis one can’t help rooting for them. Viewers find themselves hoping that Mackey prevails as he steals drug money from the dealers. One scene in particular, when Mackey faces off against a paedophile who has kidnapped a young girl will turn even the staunchest liberal into a right wing lynchmobber.
As I said, this is adult drama, and as I’ve said before: Go on, treat yourself.