Destroy the photo evidence of mouth favours, hide your grandmother and meet me at The Barn. This week we are covering FX’s The Shield.


Creator: Shawn Ryan
Released: March 2002
Network: FX
Actors: Michael Chiklis, Catherine Dent, Walton Goggins, CCH Pounder, Kenny Johnson, Benito Martinez

Breakdown and Analysis

  • The Shield has one of the best pilots in Television history.
  • The Shield is an allegory for shitty people receiving their comeuppance. That it will eventually catch up to them. Except for Dutch.
  • Sometimes KT just wants a good story. It doesn’t always have to be stylised and boasting of pleasing aesthetics.
  • On surface level, it is easy to dismiss Vic Mackey as a shitty person. KT believes that he wasn’t a dickhead just to be a dickhead. Oti asserts they were all greedy and in for themselves.
  • Vic’s goal to keep the family a family was the demise of himself and those around him. KT believed he was tough when he needed to be.
  • We are introduced to Vic as shooting another cop. KT has assumed that the strike team had already broken bad so it was interesting to see the fall out.
  • People may see Vic as a beacon for dirty cops that walks the line between right and wrong, taking spoils of war and doing whatever needs to be done. However, we see debris catapults in moments that even he couldn’t account for. The way he is presented, he does what needs to be done. His actions in the pilot denote how he feels above the law. In the final scene, we witness Vic’s career death. The most poignant moment is at the end of the series where he looks at photos of his family, that he will never see again. Friends he will never see again. He grabs a gun and walks out. Oti ponders that he wanted to go out on his own terms, put himself in a situation where he couldn’t get out. He lived knowing the street and wanted to live and die that way. He wanted to have it all. His job, family, side pieces and in life you can’t have everything exactly the way you want it.
  • There was no way that any character was walking out of this clean. Everyone is tethered to this disgusting world that they’ve created.
  • The one time Vic chose his family is where he let his team down. Made even more sad because he truly ended up alone. He was constantly balancing multiple scales. When he tried to balance family, work would struggle and vice versa. He wanted to be everything to everyone and ended up being no one to no one.
  • Shane takes a lot of real estate, emotionally and financially. He is Vic’s oldest pal and they formed the strike team together. It becomes the team’s obligation to save him. He wants the title but not earn the title. He does not have the cajones, brain or any body part to be a leader.
  • After the pilot, we see the aftermath of Vic’s actions and how that weighs on Shane. It was clear that he would not be able to handle it. It was convenient when Armando was forgotten because he would have been the thread that would have opened the case wide open on their investigation.
  • There is a continual lack of fleshing out storylines. Tigre as an example as well as Armando. Lemansky and Ronnie didn’t have a life outside of work. Danni is the emotional dump truck, all tragedy would happen to her character. There are very interesting storylines that are introduced, for whatever reason, it dissipates. We didn’t get to see behind the headlines of these characters.
  • Shane proved time and time again that he was the one that got in his own way. He needed Vic to bail him out every single time. Shane would continue his colossal fuck ups and Vic would also find a way out for him.
  • Curtis was the heart, anchorage and canary that let Vic know when he went too far. There were times where he had to be encouraged to partake in criminal activity. It is always painful to lose the heart of the show. The way Lemansky died on the show was one of the most emotional deaths on TV. Only for Shane to realise that Curtis was never going to give them up. It is the excruciating extension of time of anticipating what is about to happen and having us sit in the horror.
  • By all accounts, Lemanksy was a good guy. He proved time and time again that he had a moral code and stood by it. Which Kavanaugh exploited.
  • If you’re going to kill off a character, make it count. Lemanksy was the catalyst to the way the team functioned and how Aceveda and Claudette navigated within there.
  • Oti saw Aceveda as a renegade that set out to help the community. KT points out that he also stood to gain from his work.
  • Trauma aside, Aceveda was very ambitious and not aware of the restrictions being placed on him. He was always for his self interest.
  • In the early episodes, Claudette shares that she is indifferent to Vic’s methods because it allows the community to be able to walk the streets.
  • One of the biggest qualms was Dutch strangling a cat and it never got addressed. Dutch was supposed to be the worst character but he prayed the serial killer away.
  • There were core traits in Dutch that we could have explored but his character was constantly morphing into someone more wholesome.
  • Danni is the stick being used for punishment but instead of other people being punished, she cops it.
  • Accepting our sexuality and how others may accept or reject our reality is not easy. We are understanding and want to feel sorry for Julien but we also see him be extremely violent to others.
  • Rawling refused to see how her policy affected the families of those that had their houses repossessed. It was solving the funding issue within the police force but it was not considerate of the community that they are put in place to serve.
  • Kavanaugh went too far, at least taking accountability for what you did. Every single thing he did was Vic’s fault. He thought he was too smart to get caught up with Vic. He was the shiny new girlfriend and thinking all the exes were crazy without realising he is also crazy. If Vic had met his match in a mental strategic chess game, it would have been a tantalising display for us viewers. From his point of view, he was a good guy but failed to realise he was wading the very same murky waters. To the point of planting evidence. Those creep tendencies could not be blamed on Vic.
  • Corrine was struggling mentally and actually verbalised it.

Unrelated but vital points

  • Other FX shows we have covered: Archer and Snowfall.
  • Our ability is being able to binge 70-90 episode shows within 3 weeks.
  • Ronnie is like Donnie from Lebowski or Brett from Archer.
  • We love Kenny Oti Rogers.
  • Spin off idea: Oti Rogers and The KT Gambler
  • KT needs a break from Walton Goggins.
  • When we think of a ride or die, we think of Beyonce and Jay Z in the Bonnie and Clyde video but what you really get is Mara from The Shield.
  • We do love some continuity in the For Your Reference household.
  • You had to have lived through some struggle to be able to live off rice and beans for the rest of the life.
  • Spin off show: Rice, Beans and Beer
  • Monster (anime) reference.
  • Baby Chiklis.

For Your Reference


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