Every great TV series has its unsung heroes and Aerial Telly would like to flag up whoever edited together the ‘previously on…’ segment for the 13 episodes of the seventh and final season of Fx’s indisputably great The Shield. The most complicated ‘previouslys’ in television history must have strained even the most gifted of editors. The tangled web weaved by narcissist sociopath Vic Mackey as he struggled to extricate himself from the multi-strand heinous shit he’d been pulling these past seven years looked like it would never unravel. But in a stunning final episode in a stunning final season we ended up with some kind of closure on the events in the fictional but all too real Los Angeles district of Farmington.
“Once he found that it wasn’t possible to get the deal he rolled on Ronnie like a Gloucestershire farmer chasing a block of cheese. And why? As was always the case with Mackey: por familia.”
The penultimate episode had given us the biggest shock. Vic Mackey betrayed Ronnie by giving him up to the Feds. Although he had sincerely bust his hump trying to get the same immunity deal for his pal that the Feds were offering him, once he found that it wasn’t possible he rolled on Ronnie like a Gloucestershire farmer chasing a block of cheese. And why? As was always the case with Mackey: por familia.
See, Vic had spotted the cops watching Corinne as he came to drop off the $100,000 of dirty money to her in the park. Figuring they were tapping her phone, he went straight to ICE to take the deal that fucked Ronnie in the ass on the condition that they give his ex-wife immunity from prosecution. He’s a stand-up guy, looking over his wife like that.
“Claudette announces that she is dying and Dutchy looks sad then goes home to take it out on some stray cats.”
The only problem with that was that Corinne was actually working with the cops to take her maniac ex-husband out of her life and the lives of their children forever. Oh bad call Vic. You fucked Ronnie for nothing and we all know he was the last person in the world you wanted to fuck. The web is unravelling.
Meanwhile, back in the world of non-corrupt cops, Angry Claudette and Dutchy the Catkiller retained the moral high ground to the bitter end. Claudette announces that she is dying and Dutchy looks sad then goes home to take it out on some stray cats. But not before he’s almost framed for murder by fledgling serial killer Lloyd Denton, played by Beaver from Veronica Mars. But if there’s one thing Dutchy knows its serial killers so he’s all up in Lloyd’s grill like “what?”
“Suicide was painless and Shane Vendrell was brainless but his suicide note revealed some self-knowledge at last and you kind of felt bad for the corrupt racist hick murderer as he pulled a Budd Dwyer”
“50% of the world’s serial killers have spent at least sometime in Southern California, Lloyd, why do you think that is?” Dutchy asks.
“Because everyone comes to Los Angeles to get famous?” replies Loyd.
See why I’m going to miss this show so much?
I’ve seen this kid (Kyle Gallner) play three murderers now and he does a really good job each time. Typecasting means nothing to this boy. I bet he ends up killing a dude in real life.
“Vic walked out of The Barn for the final time in full view of everyone, all his sins known to his audience: thief, cop killer, snitch, Judas.”
It wouldn’t be The Shield if the finale didn’t have a “holy fuck” moment and it came when Shane introduced his brain to his friend Mr 9mm shortly after having syringed his pregnant wife and child into the next life. Suicide was painless and Shane Vendrell was brainless but his suicide note revealed some self-knowledge at last and you kind of felt bad for the corrupt racist hick murderer as he pulled a Budd Dwyer.
And Vic? Walked out of The Barn for the final time in full view of everyone, all his sins known to his audience: thief, cop killer, snitch, Judas. At ICE they castrate Vic by putting him behind a desk where he will remain to three years . He’s off the streets — a house cat. As he is given the officer tour by the ICE human resources harridan, in his cheap suit we slowly realise what’s happened: they’ve turned him into David Brent. Death will come as a blessing.
“Ruthless, intelligent and principled it had one of the most charismatic leads we’ve ever seen in Michael Chiklis and had an unyielding ethic of stomping through neighbourhoods other shows didn’t dare set foot in.”
And after his immunity deal, Corinne is in witness protection with her children who Vic never gets a chance to say goodbye to. While he may be a free man, no one can say that Vic isn’t paying at least some price for his crimes.
Just how good was The Shield? Very, very good is the answer. Ruthless, intelligent and principled it had one of the most charismatic leads we’ve ever seen in Michael Chiklis and had an unyielding ethic of stomping through neighbourhoods other shows didn’t dare set foot in. It was visionary and put basic cable on the map by being the first ad-supported cable network show to win a major Emmy. That this alone means that shows like Battlestar Galactica, Mad Men,Breaking Bad and Damages owe it a huge debt. Shows like this don’t come around every day.
The best thing about it: Vic Mackey – a different kind of cop.
The worst thing about it: Looking back, Ronnie was generally a bit useless
The verdict on The Shield series finale: A triumph for all concerned.
Marks out of 10: 9
Imagined: 27th November 2008