on December 8, 2006
...is about the only way to describe the way the first part of season five of 'The Shield' ends. It's the hallmark of a truly terrific series that events from its very first episode (like, the first episode of season ONE) form the basis of the entire fifth season.
Detective Vic Mackey's original sin -- to keep it hushed for those not in the know -- comes back to haunt the entire Strike Team in the fifth season, while strings from seasons past (The Incident with Aceveda, Mackey and Danny's tryst, etc., etc.) are all pulled taut to make the entire season tense with ugly possibilities, the ugliest of which comes at the end.
Forest Whitaker is a commanding presence as Internal Affairs Lieutenant John Kavannaugh, a seemingly-dedicated member of the rat squad who SHOULD be perceived as the hero in this piece. But of course, we've all come to love Vic Mackey so much that we're actually rooting for Kavannaugh to fail (again, another impressive accomplishment for a series in which the hero is actually a less-evil villain). Kavannaugh's merciless pursuit of Mackey, along with a too-eager-to-deal-for-the-truth attitude that leads him to bargain with season four übervillain Antwon Mitchell, spells tragedy for a lot of characters.
For someone like me, who is familiar with 'The Shield's entire run, this was an immensely satisfying, if painful, season. It brought in elements from seasons past, with a firm eye toward the (uncertain) future.
Killer scenes: 1) Kavannaugh's undercover 'sting' on the Strike team, 2) Kavannaugh being reduced to animalistic rage after making a crucial mistake, 3) Kavannaugh interrogating Mackey's wife (like I said, Forest Whitaker is a helluva presence), and 4) Mackey's late-season interactions with Antwon Mitchell (Anthony Anderson still gets maaaad props for being possibly the scariest L.A. gangbanger since Tookie Williams).
Start at the beginning, but once you do, you'll be fiendishly anxious to get to season five.
Sometimes TV shows let you down after they've built up the tension, that is not the case here. Everything that came before in the Shield series built up to the events of this season. All the characters start to reap what they've sown for the past 4 years and it doesn't disappoint, although it will twist your heart.
In real life, Forest Whitaker's Kavanaugh would be My Hero, because I know the Strike Team members deserve what's coming to them, but as a Shield and ST fan I mostly don't want them to get it now. One minute they're behind, the next minute ahead, but Kavanaugh is a pit bull who won't let go so the tug of war goes back and forth the whole season. The storylines for the rest of the cast weren't as meaty this year but still complemented the season and built on their history as well. The shoe was on the other foot for Julian who was training officer for bumbling newcomer Tina, while Billings is an inept acting Captain. Catherine Dent was pregnant so Danny was too, but you'll have to wait until the last show to meet the father. Terry's death haunts both Vic and Aceveda again, while Claudette finally gets her due. Ally Walker was a notable guest star in an episode that had her working with Jay Karnes' character Dutch which was kind of cute because Ally Walker starred as Samantha Waters for 3 seasons on "Profiler" and Dutch tries to be "the great serial killer profiler" as Claudette once put it. (Although Walker's character on The Shield was neither cop nor FBI agent.) Jay Karnes' Dutch did have an interesting twist when he decides to take a cue from a pimp in his approach towards newcomer Tina. His is one character who has many unexplored dimensions; he has the psyche of a serial killer who has chosen to be a good person instead, and if I could bend Ryan's ear I would do my best to get him to explore that more frequently.
The line up of extras and commentaries looks pretty good on this set. It's disappointing when there are big plot points and there's either no commentary for that show or if there is one the key actors/writers involved in that show aren't involved in its commentary, such as the show "Cut Throat" during season 4 when Shane goes to Vic for help and Vic goes to meet him alone even though he knows Shane agreed to kill him for Antwon. Neither Chiklis nor Goggins was involved in the "Cut Throat" commentary. I see that Walt Goggins, Kenny Johnson, and Shawn Ryan are slated to do the commentary on the last show of the season: "Postpartum." Ryan is very good at leading the commentaries but it's too bad Adam Fierro isn't involved in it since he was that show's writer. Still, that one should be interesting, and personally I think it's the first thing I'll watch when I get this set.
This show has been Emmy snubbed like you won't believe, although the Golden Globes have treated them a little better. Walt Goggins and Benito Martinez have each had several performances that deserved Emmy nominations, if not the award. Chiklis deserves more than one Emmy for his performance on this show while Glenn Close, who I consider to be a bench-mark actress, should have won for her role. Jay Karnes has had performances that should not only have been nominated but should have won the Emmy, not to mention Forest Whitaker's tremendous performance as Kavanaugh. My suspicion is that the show is a little hard core for the Emmy panels and that it's hard to accept a show that presents but doesn't automatically punish bad behavior, including racism. My only complaint with this show is the shortness of its seasons. I'll miss it when it's gone.
on February 3, 2007
This season is going in my DVD collection instantly.
One of the aspects I began noticing while watching this season was how the writers are showing us in each consecutive season how captians and people with authority handle Vic, and what it will actually take to get him.
When Aceveda was running the barn, he wanted to bring Vic down because Vic was a bad cop, but also because he wanted to help himself. That also meant he didn't mind helping himself to Vic's methods (used Vic) when it suited him. He couldn't get the job done, because he lacked personal integrity.
Rawlings had the integrity, but she believed in a second chance for all. She would have eventually got Vic, but unfortunately, her integrity got her canned while Vic's second chance clock was winding down.
Billings? Forget about it, he just wants cruise control for himself. Kavanaugh is a bull dog who wont stop, and will use any means necessary, even if it means he has to break certain moral codes. But he is not in charge of Vic directly, so it resorts to a battle of wits in season 5, and it was very exciting. Looks like it will ramp up even more in season 6. But .. can Kavanaugh bring down Vic the wrong way? I don't know. Vic is too smart. Anything Kavanaugh does "wrong", is an opportunity for Vic to use that against him. Kavanaugh almost has to sacrifice his own career to take Vic down ... and is he willing to do that? Is he willing to do MORE than that?
Enter Claudette. We know her. She has fierce integrity, and she is directly in charge of Vic now. I think she is way beyond giving him a second chance. Vic could be in trouble. How will Claudette react the first time she considers using the wrong kind of shortcut and knows Vic is the guy to get it done? Will she give in or hold on to her integrity? And if she doesn't, what will that force Dutch into doing? He, after all ... is assigned to get to the bottom of events this season (and ultimately the first season). WooHoo!
It is this kind of ever changing dynamic betwee a bad cop and the captain that makes this show so great for me year after year. The writers don't just stick with the original formula.
on December 3, 2006
Coming off a very positive, insanely character developed season, this season doesnt disapoint one bit. Because of the Barn's former captain's (played briliantly by Glen Close) request, IAD has come to watch over Vic Mackey's strike team. IAD Lieutenant Jon Kavanaugh comes to LA, obsessed with nailing Vic with not only some small crimes hes done in the past, but also the murder of Detective Terry Crowly.
First off, let me sat Forest Whitaker got ROBBED at the emmys. He should have been a shoe-in, but apparently he escaped the votes to even get nominated. Easily some of the best acting Ive seen from a television show, and not just from Whitaker, or ever Chiklis, but from almost everyone in the cast.
Clearly the best show on televion, in my opinion, has gotten 10 times better with this latest season. With each coming year, I always say they cant top the previous season (hell, Im even saying it about this season!), but they seem to shock me every time.
The final 2 episodes may be the best of the entire SERIES. I swear, I sat there after the second to last episode, and didnt know what to do. I had work early in the morning, but I couldnt get to sleep. I actually got up from bed, and went down to watch that episode's encore presentation because from the end of that episode, I couldnt think of anything else. And I dont even want to get started on the heartbreaking final episode because I dont want to ruin anything, but that ending has left my jaw perminently dropped for months now. I really have no idea where they are going to take it from here.
Warning: Do not start to watch these episodes on DVD anytime close to night because you will be up till 1 or 2 in the morning watching them (no kidding, Ive done it a few times)
All I can say is, if you havent started watching this show yet, DO NOT start in this season. Start from the beginning, trust me you'll want to start there.
-Commentarys on EVERY episode, except episode 6, "Rap Payback"
-Season six prequel
-Featurettes on "delivering the baby", "the shield panel", and "IAD"
-Scott Brazil tribute (an award winning director of the shield and many other shows, who died last April)
-25 deleted scenes
on January 16, 2007
If I had to choose one word for this season of The Shield it would be gutwrenching. If they gave me another, it would be compelling. As someone else stated Forest Whitaker was nothing short of ROBBED by both the Golden Globes (though he did win best actor for Scotland) by not being recognized for his performance as John Kavanagh, which was nothing short of brilliant. Someone said that The Wire is perfection fo a cop drama, I disagree. Though I am a huge fan of The Wire, The Shield is a different type of show. The Wire emcompasses many different points of view, culturally speaking, while The Shield is strictly a COP drama and as far as cop dramas are concerned this is tops.
As someone else stated though, try and start with season 1, you won't be disappointed.
I'd also like to make clear that I am not knocking The Wire as it truly is an amazing show but the brilliance in The Wire is much different than that found in The Shield
on February 15, 2007
The fifth season of "The Shield" starts out fast and never lets up. The main plotline is set up in the first episode, and the tension just builds with each subsequent episode up to its searing, 11th episode season finale. "The Shield" has always been one of my favorite shows, but in its fifth season (unlike shows such as The Sopranos), the series not only feels fresh as ever, but provides our now beloved characters with a conflict even they can't seem to handle. In other words, the best show on television just keeps getting better, and season 5 ranks among the best television (or film, for that matter) that I've ever seen.
Forest Whitaker should have won an Emmy for his performance as IAD detective Kavanaugh, who makes it his personal mission to prove Makcey and the Strike Team were somehow behind the death of Terry Crowley (yes, the guy killed in the PILOT episode). His work, along with a brilliant performance from Kenneth Johnson as Lem, make for some of the most agonizing moments in a series known for high tension.
After the slight misstep that was Season 4, "The Shield" seems to go back to its roots here, and stands up with Season 3 among the best "The Shield" has to offer. It may be the beginning of the end, but what a fearless way to go out. Very highly recommended.
on January 4, 2007
If I could give this a 4.5 I would, but Amazon doesn't give me the option. This isn't quite a 5-star show (see The Wire), but it's still a phenomenal show that has been unjustly overlooked in its later (greater) seasons. This past season should have received multiple Emmy nods, and Mr. Forest Whitaker most certainly should have taken home a trophy for his typically brilliant work. Anyway, if you haven't seen this show, you should really give it a try. Start from Season 1 though. I watched all 5 seasons in about a month...couldn't help myself. Don't let the occasionally over-the-top elements of the first season scare you away from a truly excellent series.
on November 23, 2006
"Lieutenant John Kavanuagh"....
At the end of the fourth year Antwon Mitchell may have been behind bars, but Monica's IA investigation into the Strike Team seemed to have bourne fruit with the discovery of Lem taking the heroin as leverage on Pitarrio. Seven months on, the investigation is still ongoing, with Forest Whitakers' Kavanuagh heading things up. Another superb characher from the pens of Kurt Sutter ans Shawn Ryan, and Whitaker is such a great actor.
Other notable storylines' this year include Claudettes' battle with Lupus, which culminates in the interrogation of Kleavon Gardner, a piece of pure theature to rival Homcide:Life On The Street's Three Men and Adena. The promotion of Billings to captain is another inspiring piece of writing, as he struggles to cope with a job he's patently unsuited for.
Jay Karnes is as compelling as ever as Dutch, although he doesn't really get a meaty storyline this year. Like wise, Aceveda takes a backseat this year, although he's an integral part of Kavanugh's IA strategy
The only thing that doesn't really come off is Danny's pregnancy, it seems a little unfocused, to the point that the by the time the father is (semi) revealed, we don't really care.
As far as the street goes, the Salvadorians are running grenades into Farmington, there's a shooting and riot at a school in episode one. Kavanugh himself gets his own episode in E8, and in said episode Antwon Mitchell makes a guest appearance.
As for the finale... I won't spoil it if you've yet to see it, but who'd have thought the always antagonistic relationship between Shane and Lem would play out the way it did?
And I havn't even mentioned Becca Doyle or Tina Hanlon... but you're going to buy this anyway right?
on December 31, 2006
My two favorite shows of the past ten years have been "The Sopranos" and "The Shield." As "The Sopranos" limps into its final season--let's face it, that show hasn't had the same compelling intensity since its first three incredible seasons--"The Shield" is still kicking major butt.
The quality has never let up and I would highly recommend that you watch every season from the very beginning. The writing is so inventive and the acting is just dynamite.
I can't wait to see where they're going with this!
At the close of the fourth season of the Shield, there was reason for celebration. As season five begins, not much seems to have changed. Corrupt cop Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis) and his Strike team are back together again, Antwon Mitchell (Anthony Anderson) is in prison, Rawling is gone, Aceveda (Benito Martinez) seems out of reach; it seems like it's business as usual. Then everything changes. Enter Forest Whitaker as Jon Kavanaugh, an IAD lieutenant who is making it his sole purpose in life to bring Vic down. His method: using Lem (Kenny Johnson) as a blackmail tactic to rat out Vic. But as we learn as the season progresses, not only do things not go as planned, but everything comes to a shocker of a conclusion that will have you beating the walls in anticipation for the sixth season. Also going on during the season are a variety of things: Julian (Michael Jace) breaks in a new partner (Paula Garces) because Danny (Catherine Dent) is pregnant, Wyms (CCH Pounder) looks to take another shot at being the Captain, and Shane (Walt Goggins) makes a choice that will alter the course of the show forever. As the credits roll after the season finale, it is clear that the end is quite near, which is bittersweet in a way, because if it's one thing that Shawn Ryan's gritty cop drama has proved, it's that prime time cable TV can be nothing less than spectacular.