DVD Review
by Kevin Carr

    MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5 stars)

    Michael Chiklis as VIC MACKEY
    Forrest Whitaker as JON KAVANAUGH
    Benito Martinez as DAVID ACEVEDA
    Walton Goggins as SHANE ENDRELL
    Michael Jace as JULIEN LOWE
    Jay Karnes as DUTCH WAGENBACH
    Catherine Dent as DANNY SOFER
    Cathy Cahlin Ryan as CORRINE MACKEY
    Kenny Johnson as LEM

    Not Rated
    Studio: Fox

    Created by: Shawn Ryan
    Back to DVD Review Home


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One of the drawbacks of getting into the reviewing business in the middle of the DVD craze is that I don’t always get all the seasons of a show to watch. Such was the case with “The Shield,” which I had never watched on television.

I received the fifth season of the show, so I had to jump into the middle of things. If it had been only the second season, I could have caught up on the shows. However, I didn’t have time to watch four whole seasons of the show just to catch up.

It bodes well for the show that I was able to catch onto things pretty quickly. Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis) runs a Strike Team in the LAPD. He’s not the cleanest cop around, but he is focused on catching the bad guys. Along the way, sometimes bad things happen. However, after four years of straddling the thin blue line, Internal Affairs is starting to look into him.

The season opens with full-time guest star Forest Whitaker as Lieutenant Jon Kavanaugh spearheading the investigation of Mackey. He leans on Vic, his team members and their families. As the seasons progresses, things get more and more heated. Blood is drawn, and things get ugly for both sides.

Meanwhile, detectives Dutch (Jay Karnes) and Claudette (CCH Pounder) learn to work through their differences, Danny (Catherine Dent) is pregnant but refuses to name the father, and Julian (Michael Jace) is saddled with a pretty young rookie (Paula Garces) whose inexperience jeopardizes several investigations.

I remember in the 1980s when “Hill Street Blues” was on the air, FOX television was considered the edgiest place for cop dramas. With the introduction of “NYPD Blue” and later “The Shield,” they are easily holding onto that label. “The Shield” makes “Hill Street Blues” look like “Murder She Wrote” in comparison.

“The Shield” is a gritty, seedy show that exposes the dark underbelly of crime in the city. It is at times difficult to watch for several reasons. It’s not for the feint of heart because it deals with some pretty awful stuff, like human sex trafficking and grisly murders involving children and even a fetus. However, if you can stomach the stories, it makes one hell of a compelling television series. I don’t know if there’s anywhere the stories won’t go.

The Kavanaugh investigation continues through the entire season, giving Whitaker a chance to take the spotlight on many occasions. It’s no surprise this guy just won an Academy Award.

Inside the investigation storyline, there’s a branch of the plot that follows Lem (Kenny Johnson), one of the strike team members being leaned on by Kavanaugh. His story becomes the focal point for the season’s climax which is pretty shocking for those who have followed the series from the beginning.

The DVD set comes with all eleven season five episodes on three discs. Commentaries are featured on all episodes, as well as deleted scenes on most of the episodes. The fourth disc contains a selection of special features, including a prequel to season six, discussions with the creator and stars, a feature on internal affairs, “Making a Scene” from Fox Movie Channel and additional featurettes.

Fans of gritty cop dramas will love “The Shield.” Those with weak stomachs should stay away, though.

Specifications: Dolby Surround Sound. Full frame (1.33:1). Spanish subtitles. English language subtitles for the hearing impaired.

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