Captain Aceveda's election to the City Council leaves Vic facing a formidable opponent in his replacement, a tough and politically savvy female cop who will do whatever it takes to succeed in her new assignment at the Barn.
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5. Tar Baby
As Monica is forced to defend her crime-fighting tactics, Vic's pursuit of a killer creates problems for Antwon, while Dutch's secret deal with the D.A.'s office gets him and Claudette assigned to a murder investigation.
The Complete Fourth Season of the Shield is in retrospect kind of painful to watch, knowing how the whole thing ends. But Glenn Close and Michael Chiklis have great chemistry, as Monica Rawling (Close) arrives at the Barn with a few agendas she is determined to push through, even at the cost of her own career. (In this sense, she's not unlike Vic.)
One of these agendas is to put Antwon Mitchell (one of the most evil characters I've seen in any television show) in prison for the rest of his life. Anderson does a superb job of playing this specimen, who pretends to be a community organizer by day and is a vicious drug dealing gangster by night. Most of the villains in this show really aren't worse or necessarily as bad as Vic, when you take a close look, but this guy cuts the cake. His execution of a young girl with Shane and Army's weapons is probably, along with Dutch choking the cat out, the most graphic scene in the series. (Or was it Ronnie being taken away to prison?)
Rawlings has a personal history with Antwon, her deceased husband (also a cop) promising to piss on the scumbag's grave but having gone to an early death because of cancer. It's clear that as smart as Vic is and as acutely aware of any threat to "him or his", the Strike Team or his family, Monica Rawlings is using Vic as much as he is using her. First, she provides the motivation Vic needs to put a rapist out of commission, and quite colorfully at that. Then when Shane screws everything up (as always) and thinks he can tax Mitchell on the street, the Strike Team becomes divided and caught in some mighty sticky situations. Vic needs Monica to put Antwon behind bars to keep everyone--especially himself--safe from Antwon's street reach.
This is one of the few times in the series that you see Vic Mackey really take care of business for the right side of the law. He's still doing corrupt things of course and indirectly encouraging others to do them, but a lot of what he does here is straight police work. Rawlings warns him towards the end of the series that he better take a good look at where he's going in life and that she never really got to "finish" something she had started with him. Mackey understands on some level of what she's trying to do, but is unable or unwilling to finish that work himself.
A must if you love "The Shield". I could not stop watching every episode and like another reviewer here would become sleep deprived in order to do so. As compelling as "The Wire".
WTH? Right in the middle of watching what was all, every season, on Prime, is suddenly removed from Prime and now we would have to pay for every episode! That is a bunch of foul play and stinks! We will find an alternative to streaming video in the future. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me! Why are we playing for Prime when Amazon can bait and switch any time they would like? And it isn't that The Shield was so enthralling that we are upset. We switched to streaming our TV viewing from high-speed cable TV to Amazon's Prime to avoid such back-handed rip-offs. Disgusted!
This season starts off somewhat slowly as we discover that the Strike Team has been splintered as Vic & Ronnie work together on detective duty while Lem & Shane have transferred out to other divisions. Aceveda finally begins his tenure on City Council and his vacant position is filled by a new female captain, Monica Rawling (Glenn Close) whose controversial ideas shake up the community and divide the officers at The Barn. Vic had hoped to secure a high profile position in another division but a damaging assessment letter from Aceveda tanks the transfer so Vic scrambles to get himself into the good graces of Capt Rawling who has researched the Strike Team and has great reservations about Vic.
Another new character, Antwon Mitchell (Anthony Anderson) returns to Farmington after a 13 yr prison stint and almost immediately we discover the deep animosity between him and Capt Rawling due to their past dealings. Anderson was terrific in this role as he initially portrayed himself as a reformed convict who just wanted to do good works in the neighborhood and then flipped into a convincingly menacing gang leader.
I read a previous review in which the person stated that a more imposing actor such as Ving Rhames or Michael Clark Duncan would've done the Antwon Mitchell role more justice. I respectfully disagree - although both Rhames and Duncan ARE more physically imposing than Anderson and arguably would've been terrifying personas, the fact that Anderson is not as muscular of a man makes it more believable that he was someone who could be "punked".
Shane & his new partner are running wild in the streets as they shake down gang affiliated pimps and ultimately try this ploy with Antwon Mitchell with tragic consequences. The danger that Shane faces brings the Strike Team back together to save him. I have to give the actor portraying Shane (Walton Goggins) mad props for his performance this season. Although I despise the Shane character, Goggins portrayal runs the gamut from a cocky Vic wannabe to a desperate cowering man begging for help from his friends to get out of a dangerous jam (AGAIN, remembering the Tayvon incident).
The supporting characters' storylines include: Aceveda's obsession with a prostitute as he tries to work out issues stemming from his assault; Dutch & Claudette are blackballed by the D.A.'s office and put on less high profile cases as a result and Dani & Julian clash over the controversial asset forfeiture program instituted by Capt. Rawling.
One thing I also must comment on was the overwhelmingly negative portrayals of Black women this season. We had a shady A.D.A. who blackmails Dutch so that he and Claudette can work on better cases; an uncaring Children Protective Services supervisor; an AIDS infected prostitute, etc. With the exception of Det Wymms, there was not one positive portrayal of a Black woman this season and that bothered me greatly as I watched this 13-episode season in basically one sitting.
On the positive side again this set contains tons of extras including episodic commentary from the cast, creator & writers; deleted scenes, a documentary on the making of this season and featurettes.