The new FX series ''The Shield''

I’m kinda surprised there isn’t already a thread on this. It got all kinds of raves by the critics, plus it had a somewhat high profile due to the “extreme language and content” discussions in various media outlets.

I thought it was amazing.

It’s a cop show built around serious moral ambiguity. The lead character, Mackey, played by an unrecognizable Michael Chiklis (“The Commish”), is most assuredly not the hero; he’s an evil bastard cop who lives according to his own rules. Mackey’s boss is a captain who wants to nail the cop not because it’s the right thing to do but because it’ll make him look good in an eventual mayoral campaign. Of the two sympathetically-portrayed cops, one (CCH Pounder, in one of her best roles) is weary, tired, and almost too fed up to do her job; the other is an egghead who gets the job done given enough time, but who gets defensive when asked to produce results immediately.

Evil bastard Mackey runs the streets his own way. He apparently takes bribes and otherwise colludes with criminals, because it has the practical effect of reducing violent crime. He openly mocks his captain’s efforts to rein him in, and implies he has friends and defenders high in the department. And when he thinks he’s cornered, he lashes out like a dangerous animal. But the pilot episode also let him accomplish something really important nobody else could handle. How’s that for ambiguity?

If the show has a downside (based on the single episode aired thus far), it’s that it’s almost too dark. There’s no obvious hero, nobody we can root for. There’s also a lot of profanity, violence, and even nudity (and not the teasing back-of-the-breast curve patented by “NYPD Blue,” either), most of it well-integrated and organic to the show. To a lot of people, this will seem like a wallow in filth and corruption for no good purpose. To me, it’s a bracing look at policework unprecedented in television. Remember the lightning-cracking energy “NYPD Blue” had when it first premiered, before it turned into a soap opera? “The Shield” is like that. If they go too far with the nastiness and dark melodrama, obviously it’ll get old and pointless. But so far they’re walking the tightrope, and I can’t wait for next week.

Trivia notes: The pilot episode was directed by Clark Johnson, the fedora-topped Meldrick on “Homicide: Life on the Street,” and two cast members were borrowed from the same show. Also, the original title of this show was “Rampart,” until the LAPD objected, which should give you an idea of the show’s style and themes.

I thought it was an excellent debut and it looks to be a really good show. I agree with every observation you had, especially that the darkness is what is working for it. In a way, CCH said it in ep. 1: People just want to get to their car without being mugged, they want to come home and see their stereo wasn’t stolen.

People, despite the rash of IRL police brutality, are willing to turn a blind eye when the “victim” of it is a child molester or crack dealer. I know it doesn’t bother me, cold or calous as that might sound, criminals get beat a little, tough, don’t break the law and you can keep your rights.

Key difference here, though, is that Mackey is dirty, straight up, which blurs the line just a bit.

Thanks for the info, guys. I used to like NYPD Blue before it went all soppy on us. A cop show I really loved–though I saw too few of the episodes-- was the BBC programme, Prime Suspect, with the wonderful Helen Mirren. She did an outstanding job in Gosford Park, by the way, a gem of a movie. (Apologies for thread drift).

The good news is that BBC and Mirren have agreed to terms and the team was scheduled to start shooting the series again in January 2002, after a hiatus of 6 years.

Sounds great–I’m a huge fan of Homicide. Anyone know if the first episode will be re-aired?

For whomever may be interested I did (VCR gods willing; I didn’t get to check yet) tape the first episode. Email me or something if you want a copy. (Of course, the VCR gods have proven, historically, to be rather fickle, so I promise nothing.)

I watched it and liked it quite a bit, but the thing that surprised me the most was the language they allowed on TV. Yowza!

All in all, though, a great show.

I believe I heard somewhere that the series premiere will be encored next Tuesday before the second episode. That’ll be at 9pm, so it conflicts with both “NYPD Blue” and “24,” if that makes a difference to your schedule. Check your local listings.

I was impressed. The show definitely has potential.

A few observations:

The first ten minutes actually did seem a little excessive. Seemed they were trying to say, “Whee! Look at how cool it is, being vulgar on broadcast television.” But it settled down to normal levels after that.

Egghead-cop’s opening scene, I kept expecting him to look down at the woman’s body and say, “Not only did he kill her, he stole her nipples!”

But the very end almost knocked me off the couch. Talk about going against the cliche. I really wasn’t expecting that twist. That’s all I’ll say until someone puts up a spoiler warning.

Haven’t decided if I’ll make it regular viewing.

I thought it was mostly OK. Came over as thin, though, ultimately. I just think Chiklis is a bad actor. I’ve never seen him lose that selfconsciousness that shows he’s aware he’s acting a part. And especially with a part like this, they should have found someone who could really lose himself in the part. I read he stormed in, did a guerilla audition, and stormed out. Everyone was stunned. So he got the part. Well, he may be stunning if he’s storming around in the same room with you, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to screen presence. Of which he has less than none, for me.

I’ll probably watch it next week; the writing’s good, the rest of the cast is good. But I don’t see myself devoting a whole lot of energy to keeping up with it.

Damn! I completely forgot it was on!

According to 11PM Friday, 10PM Sunday and on Tuesday at 9PM just before the second episode. All times Eastern.

I thought the SDMB was about combatting ignorance, not spreading it.
Not every British TV show is made by the BBC. ‘Prime Suspect’ was not made by the BBC. It was made by some independent production company for the commercial ITV channel here in the UK, as will be the new Prime Suspect shows. ‘Prime Suspect’ never was a series as such. It started as a one-off ‘special’ which originally aired over several nights and which has since been re-packaged and re-shown several times. It was very successful, so they made several more - usually no more than 1 or 2 per year. But they do have Helen Mirren in them, so you got that right.

I had mixed feelings about it, but it has potential. I’ll probably give it another couple of weeks and see if it improves. I do like the cast, but Chiklis was a little too hammy. Maybe he’s trying to make people forget The Commish, wish I could forget it.

Slight nitpick: Did anyone else notice the body mic on Chiklis during the scene where he’s arguing with the captain about when to turn in his report? Totally deflated the scene for me.

I give the show a thumbs up, and can’t wait for episode 2. I love the good/evil dictomomy in the Mackey character, and Chiklis is simply awesome, perhaps one of the most menacing and complex characters I have ever seen on a TV show. When he comes on screen, you immediately pay attention.

My wife did not like it because she thinks the entire purpose of the show is to be crude hiding behind the fact that it is on “cable” when in reality f/x is available on most homes on basic cable and is not pay cable. I do see her point, perhaps it is the lack of a real “hero” that might have also turned her off.

Personally I like the crudeness- this is how cops talk, how criminals talk, and what life is really like in the world of fighting evil-doers. FINALLY- a “Sopranos” or “Oz” for those of us who are too cheap to buy HBO!

Then again, I do like Hawaii Five-O because it’s good-guy bad-guy clean television. Maybe next week I’ll tape H5O and watch it after “the Shield” to cleanse myself.

Just saw the 11pm Friday re-airing. Wow. Just…wow.

Clark Johnson sure as hell knows how to use music effectively to set the mood–betcha dollars to donuts he got that from Homicide. (And Dutch–the egghead cop–is a Kyle Secor clone if there ever was one.) Really well-written, really well-acted…I’m extremely interested to see if they can keep up this level of intensity without delving into melodrama.

By the way:

Absolutely. And while it was a tremendous way to end the hour, the Homicide fan in me was disappointed. (That’s not quite a spoiler; those of you who saw the show will know exactly what I mean.)

I’ll be watching next week. Thanks, Cervaise!

I knew there was a Homicide: Life on the Streets vibe to this show, now I know why!!

I thought Chilkis was amazing in the role. I wasn’t sure if it was him, I kept going back and forth, saying “Nah, that can’t be him, it must be someone that looks like him”, then “No, it’s GOTTA be him”. So I finally had to look it up in the TV Guide. You know, I could kinda see some John Belushi to him, (remember Chilkis played Belushi in Wired…don’t know if anyone remembers that movie.)

Anyway, I was only able to watch the FIRST HALF of the show, so could somebody post more of a hint of what happened at the end?? Please???:slight_smile:

HelloKitty, you would never forgive us if we simply out-and-out told you what happens at the end. You really do have to see it, trust me.

If you insist, I suppose somebody can spill the beans. But believe me, it’ll lose everything in the translation: It’s much, much better just to see it.

Two more re-airings are scheduled before the second episode. Go back up to Jeff Olsen’s message for specifics.

I’m glad I searched for this before starting a new thread.

Did anyone think last week’s episode was as good? I definitely still think the show is really good, but last week’s didn’t blow me away like the premier. If tonight’s falls off porportionally from last week’s, I may be worried…but aside from The Job, it’s definitely a new show I would recommend, which I almost never do.

Gotta admit, I caught the show this weekend and I am glad I did. Good show tonight, too, I thought. Not an emmy award winning drama IMO, but I do like the fact that the show doesn’t seem bogged down with cliches in the wrong places.

I don’t get fx, thanks to Cablevision here. Can you give me a spoiler as to what happened?

strike team did a quick bust and caught a pro basketball player with some druggie friends of his. They arrested the friends but kept the star player aside in order to make him miss the game. The skinny cop (sorry, I am terrible with TV character names) who the captain thought (on the previous episode) would crack and spill the beans about the other cop’s death, he is starting to show signs of serious mental stress and really got pissy with the bb player.

Meanwhile, there was some little sideshow about a serial rapist who got busted. Doesn’t seem like a storyline thing, just a space-filler, except that the guy’s latest victim was a druggie friend of the bald cop.

Bald cop also saved a baby from a guy whacked out on PCP or something equally evil [:rolleyes:]. But is goes to show them really trying to play up on this particular character.

The captain suggested the white female cop should try out for seargent. She said, “You just want me there 'cause I’m a woman,” and he said, “Doesn’t matter how you get there, its what you do when you make it.” Nice response for his character, admitting that she’s saying what is true, but still saying that he thinks she can do the job, as well.

Her partner is gay, but in some serious self-denial about it. They had arrested this guy who claimed that the warrant which was out for his arrest was a clerical mistake or something, and asked the blakc cop, “Hey, didn’t I see you down at so-and-so? Standing outside but never going in?” Must be a gay bar or something. At any rate, the black cop ends up at this guy’s house and denies his homosexuality. The young man respond, “I wasn’t gay either, until I admitted I was.” Or something like that. Then he comes out into the hall and kisses the black cop. I didn’t see tongue, but it was a real kiss. :slight_smile: First man-kiss I’ve ever seen on TV. I’m not gay, but still. About friggin time.

I think that pretty much wraps it up. No real nudity, but there was some explicit softcore porn with a chick having sex with the basketball player (the cops were stalling him so he couldn’t attend the game that night, and they let him have one of his local women come over for some sex). A nice side-shot of a breast, but no nipplage.

Oh, and the skinny cop who I said is cracking? He called the basketball player a nigger. I suppose that is important, I don’t know if that word ever really makes it into other “gritty” tv shows. I don’t watch much TV. But at any rate, this guy is clearly losing it. He was almost in tears about killing the cop. High stress factor here.

At any rate, I think that pretty much sums it up. Maybe next episode I will know people’s names.