The Shield - Series 1

****

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

The phrase, "Our number one priority is looking after the Vic," takes on a whole new meaning in this hard-hitting Los Angeles cop drama.

That Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis) gets results is not in any doubt. It's how he gets them that is the problem for many of his colleagues. He may not be the cleanest kid on the squad, but when it comes to clean up rates, he and his team are the tops.

Unlike its fellow cop shows on the block, The Shield is unremitting and never pulls its punches. Where the likes of Law And Order and sundry British police procedurals concentrate on the solving of crime and its victims, while CSI gets down to the nitty gritty - gorewise - The Shield shines a light on the perpetrators and asks us to decide where the thin blue line should be marked.

Vic isn't a particularly sympathetic character. He is a hard man who has no fear of killing his own, but there are softer aspects to his character, which are neatly portrayed by Chiklis. It is not so much that you grow to find him cuddly, but, by midway through the series, you can't help hoping that he is on your side.

The human aspect is the hook for the audience. Everything from the gay subplot of one of his fellow officers seems calculated to encourage you to tune in, while the balance of male/female cops ensures there is plenty of eye candy on offer.

Ultimately, if you like your crime scene clean and your cuffs free from grime, this won't be the type of entertainment that appeals. If, however, you like to get down and dirty with the bad guys and are willing to roll with the punches, this is a series to cherish.

Reviewed on: 15 Aug 2003
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Hard-hitting cop drama.
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Director: Clark Johnson, Gary Fleder, Stephen Gyllenhaal and more

Writer: Kevin Arkadie, Glen Mazzara, Shawn Ryan and more

Starring: Michael Chiklis, Benito Martinez, CCH Pounder, Catherine Dent, Walt Goggins, Michael Jace, Kenneth Johnson, Jay Karnes, Cathy Ryan

Year: 2002

Runtime: 575 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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