The Shield

This is a hard, gritty cop show, imagine NYPD Blue on speed then drop all the nice happy endings and swallow a bitter pill of hard assed reality and you’ve got this show.

It’s seriously gripping, with shocks and suspenseful moments at every advert break, it builds the real life morally grey characters around the events of an experimental Police Squad based in some of the toughest neighbourhoods in the city.

Although the story is based around the entire squad operating from “The Barn”, it primarily focuses around the Strike Team, a team designed to get close to the Gangs, deal with them and keep them under control.

The team is led by Vic, a morally questionable character who is always trying to do the right thing for his team and his wife and kids. However, the right thing isn’t always legal, and he and his team bend the rules beyond belief.

What is good about the show is that you can see what all the characters mean to be, and that their intentions are focused on the right area, it’s just their route matches the world they immersed in. With the Strike Teams code of ethics matching those they are trying to destroy, the Gangs.

The characters are far from white or typical television characters. The Strike Team have Gang and drug money syphoned off for their “retirement” fund, and has even murdered an undercover cop who threatened to blow their secrets. The Captain has some dark secrets he hides well. One of the top detectives murders a cat to “understand” a serial killer they have caught, and is a lonely isolated figure. A prominent black policeman secretly hides his homosexuality behind a cross and his wife.

The stories are intense, and never meant to entertain as so many other shows have. These grip you and pull you into some seedy and terrible lives. Pulling you into these characters lives and leaving you desperate for more.

This is compelling drama, sometimes harrowing, but always exciting and gripping. Without a doubt one of the best shows on television just now.

Update 09/10/2005: As we approach the final episode of the series that has introduced Glenn Close in the role as the Captain of the Farmington Police Precinct I feel compelled to write something about the series. At first when Close was introduced and we saw the old Captain pass into the realms of local goverment, I was disappointed. I have to say I thought the show was losing its edge and the introduction of Close was nothing more than bringing a big name in to a show that might have been starting to ebb on its ratings.

Boy was I wrong. Close has turned out a stunning perfomance, as real, hard and as gritty as the show itself, and now as I have just finished watching the enthralling penultimate episode of the series, I find myself wondering if she was made for this role. Indeed you actually think she’s been playing this character for more than just one series, she’s phenomenal in the role.

This entire series has returned to the harsh core of the original, it is shocking, but you also get the sense that it’s very real and in some cases very heartfelt. The characters are all caught in some dilemna or other, and nothing is as black and white as the uniforms they wear. Everyone is dirty, everyone is wrong. This is some of the best TV drama I’ve ever seen. I hope the series to come keep it going.

The Shield official US site.

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