REVIEW: The Shield - Season 6 (2007, Shawn Ryan / M.Chiklis, W.Goggins)

Friday, 23 December 2011

  • Original Release: 2007 (aired)
  • Writer: Shawn Ryan (main)
  • Starring: Michael Chiklis (Vic), Catherine Dent (Danni), Walton Goggins (Shane), Michael Jace (Julien), Jay Karnes (Dutch), Benito Martinez (Aceveda), CCH Pounder (Wyms), David Rees Snell (Ronnie), David Marciano (Billings) etc.
  • Format: DVD
  • Amount of Episodes:  10

The Shield: Season 6

Weird place to start to review The Shield from Season 6. I've seen the previous ones, but since this blog was formed just lately and I just finished watching the season, I think this is the way to go. Shortly, The Shield is one of -- if not the all time favorite cop-serie of mine. Why? Let's do this the other way, bad things first.

Well, there's constantly threatening and blackmailing circle going on between the Strike Team of police and anyone who stands in their way. The dialogue in that part might be bit repetitive sometimes. The good thing is though that all the cases and problems they encounter are very varying -- thus not never really letting it down, despite the solution to the problem is most often threat after another. The pace of The Shield is perfect combination of dark drama and quite gory action -- it doesn't try to pretend anything. It's just pure honest evil, showing dark side of human, and that even police officers can go way past the line without the writer "having to stick in those necessary moral lessons" in each episode. There are good cops, and there are bad cops.. and the bad ones don't always lose.

The plotting in the series is quite complex. The characters go way deep in The Shield, with having many unique characters who have widely different personality. This will constantly make new clashes between the characters, as well as lead to surprising new solutions. Most episodes have several different plots for different characters, which sometimes collide leading two teams into same case. Sometimes a newer episode will continue from events of totally different previous episode on part of some character, if it makes sense. This all just means one thing -- you'd better start from Season 1 if you never watched the series and go on from there. That's the way you'll understand all the relationships between characters better, and things make sense. You'll also learn to love complexity of the plot in this series for sure!

New addition of "Strike Team" Hiatt on right -- missing Julien

Well as mentioned above, this series is about "A Strike Team", one small special unit within local police station called "The Barn", who handle the most twisted and rough cases around. These are the bunch of guys who use excessive force, threatening, blackmailing, even killing without permission to solve problems. In Season 6 Strike Team consists of Vic -- who has rather twisted sense of justice and has biggest influence to everyone in team, Shane -- who constantly messes his life up, Julien who's been just regularly added to Strike Team after Lem's death, Ronnie -- a bit quiet and trustworthy cop who's probably the most morally good person in Strike team, and another new addition called Kevin Hiatt, who's yet bit of a mystery. We'll explain situation of Strike Team in Season 6 bit later, now let's take look on other characters.

So, then we have several other important characters: "Dutch" is typical cop who doesn't do that much field work, but uses his brains more to solve the problems. He is interrogation expert and compiles reports, interviews victims and suspects. He thinks highly of himself but is a bit of a loser, loner, and gets picked on in the work. His new partner in Season 6 is detective Steve Billings, who's a bit similar character, and they get on each others nerves. Dutch has a thing for police officer called Tina, but doesn't seem to have much chance, and Billings is making his best laugh out of it.

We have "good regular cops" Julien and Danni, who originally were partners but have been rearranged in Season 6. Julien is facing pressure to have to work with Strike Team's bad guys, while he's mostly good one with morals, while Danni has been arranged to work with Tina, who constantly makes mistakes on the field. Danni thinks that Tina getting attention and is forgiven just for her looks, while Tina has pressure to show off that she's not only "office pet" but can also do some decent field work. Ex-partner of Dutch, detective Claudette Wyms, takes the seat of Captain in Episode 6, while Lt. Jon Kavanaugh has to step down.

Wyms is reasonable cop with morals, although very direct and may seem cold. And she's constantly after Strike Team's illegal way of handling their job. Then of course the old dog, ex-captain David Aceveda is still around. This guy really sails between good and evil.

So where this season begins? Well it begins pretty much in middle of events, so you'd better have seen Season 5 in case you're heading for 6th. Season 5 ended in middle of things, where current Captain Lt. Kavanaugh was chasing Vic and the Strike Team for their corrupted deeds of the past. He ended up blackmailing Curtis Lemansky "Lem", one of the Strike Team unit cops, to rat out Vic, Ronnie and Shane. The end decision of Season 5 was quite breathtaking, while offering Lem a way to Mexico to flee Kavanaugh, Shane didn't trust Lem to keep his mouth closed about the deeds they had done. So Shane killed their long time member and friend, Lem, by dropping a grenade to his car, just before Lem was ment to leave to Mexico to hide.

Now Vic's furious and wants to seek for revenge of Lem's death, but he has no idea that Shane was the one killing him. Meanwhile Kavanaugh loses his tracks to Strike Team's corruption, since after Lem's dead, his blackmailing approach went down the toilet. Now Kavanaugh is directly after Vic, thinking that he either killed or arranged Lem's death. He tries to come up with made up false proofs against Vic, setting him up, thus getting caught and fired. Then to be replaced as a captain by Wyms -- who hears from her superiors that if she doesn't cut down the crime stats, the police station also known as "The Barn" will be shut down permanently.

Wyms then rearranges things in the police force a bit, mixing the card deck a bit. She puts Julien to Strike Team -- which may not be the best idea 'cause Julien has morals after all. She also sends them a new guy Hiatt to lead them, after hearing a good things about the guy at his reports -- but Wyms is about to be surprised that the new guy is actually not all that "Good". Vic's no longer leader, for he's about to be forced out to retire. Vic's furiously trying to fight against this and buy himself more time as a police officer in Season 6 by any way he comes up to. Usual routine of threatening and blackmailing people, no matter how high it gets. Wyms also sets Danni to be partner with Tina, and Dutch to be partner with Billings. Either of those pairsdon't really enjoy each other much.

That is only the setting in the beginning of the season, and problems don't stop there. I don't want to spoil it all, but let's take a short look. Spoiler alert! The main case of Season 6 is mexican illegals who been found hacked into pieces. This leads Vic and strike team to investigate this mass murder, which seems at first to be gang related, but they soon see that it goes way higher beyond that. Vic has once again to rely on brute force and blackmailing -- this whole case brings his way back with Aceveda. Meanwhile Vic also tries to track down killer of Lem, while person after another seems to be not guilty. After beating up gang leader by large metal chain and shooting him dead, and talking to Antoine, he's running out of suspects untill it hits him - could it be Shane? Shane digs himself deeper by threatening Vic about telling superiors how he (Vic) killed a cop called Terry way back, if something would happen to him because of Lem. Shane the goes his way involving in other illegal activities and blackmailing a mafia boss thus getting his and Vic's family in danger (see episode to know why), as well as screwing just barely legal 18 year old girl, then getting brutally beat up by his father. Now his marriage is on the line too. Can this guy possibly screw up his life any more?

Shane has screwed up once again..

Ronnie hangs with Vic trying to solve the main case and get information what Shane is up to with Vic. Other than that, he's left bit aside. The new guy Hiatt also makes decent debut, but although he's new leader of Strike Team, Vic's still the main influence. At the beginning Hiatt listens Vic, but soon realizes he wants to do decisions of his own. This makes Hiatt and Vic clash a bit. Hiatt's role could had been bit bigger though. He's like in the middle and leaving bit into shadows.

The more interesting chapter in my opinion is the case with "Dutch". He's interrogating and solving crimes as usual, but he's arranged to be working with Billings who he really doesn't like, and Billings doesn't like him much either. They're just fun to watch. Instead of physically clashing, they throw clever verbal threats and insults to each others with fake-smiles. It's just funny to see two of these more loner and loser types trying to get on top of each other. Later on Billings finds out Dutch has a thing for Tina and screws up Dutch's chances just for laughs. Billings talks Hiatt and Tina both seperately telling how hots they have for each others. Then when they get together at evening for a few drinks at Tina's house, Billings sends fake-message to Dutch from Tina to come over. Dutchboy then comes on with bottle of Wine and while knocking the door he hears moans inside -- heads then to the window and you can guess the rest. I was really clapping on that scene! One of the top moments in the Season. But the Dutch's story doesn't end there, don't want to reveal the ending though but it's really.. un-suspected.

Needless to say there's lot of complications and crashes between different characters in Season 6 of The Shield, since Strike Team line-up has been rearranged, Vic and Shane don't get along. Dutch has his thing against Billings, which is also the case with Danni and Tina. Kavanaugh is backing heat on Vic first few episodes and so on. I really enjoyed this Season, about equally than Season 5, although it had very tragic ending.

The low points are that Season 6 begins in middle of things and ends up leaving the whole plot open. The new guy Hiatt doesn't get it going at full speed, although isn't failure either. Ronnie lacks a bit character compared to Shane and Vic in my opinion, although he's decent. It just gets emphasized while he get's more time as a person rather than Strike Team member in this season.

Forest Whitaker guest starring at Lt. Kavanaugh in Seasons 5-6

Other than that it's very action packed with decent amount of drama and touching scenes (though none perhaps reaches level of Lem's death), contains a lot of tension between several characters, and brings different plots together beautifully. Chiklis is tough and entertaining to watch as ever, as is Shane screwing up his life totally. There's some really memorable scenes here like those chopped up mexicans, beating up gang boss with a metal chain, few scenes with Dutch.. The families of Vic and Shane are shown where it makes sense, but luckily they aren't too much involved stealing the pace. Let's not forget good performance put up by Forest Whitaker as Lt. Kavanaugh, although he doesn't show up more than in first few episodes in Season 6. To see more of him check Season 5.

If you're interested at all I strongly advice to start with Season 1 of you'll be missing many things. Very good season all in all.

9 Bullets out of 10

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