A frequent Golden Globe and Emmy nominee since its debut in 2002, "The Shield" is another drama tht shows the continuing shift of scripted programming to the cable networks, and away from network TV. The show, which airs on cable channel FX, stars Michael Chiklis as Det. Vic Mackey, a daring head officer in a Los Angeles police station. Backed up by a squad of fellow officers (his elite "Strike Team"), Mackey and company have a lot of work on the horizon each and every week. None of them are above breaking a few laws to keep the streets clean and their own selves going.
With a series of directors in the stable (such as Clark Johnson, who helmed the big-screen adaptation of "SWAT"), "The Shield" is consistent in its roaring, brutal feel and tone. Gritty and intense, the show often uses hand-held cinematography to excellent effect, launching the viewer into the action like few shows on television. Ronn Schmidt's cinematography throughout the episodes is key: it gives the show an additional level of immediacy and urgency. Creator Shawn Ryan is one of the writers on the upcoming film adaptation of the "Max Payne" video game series; I can't wait to see what he does, as "The Shield" shows he's an absolutely perfect choice.
The fifth season opened with Vic and the Strike Team trying to contain racial tensions that have errupted in the city, while Internal Affairs Officer Lt. Jon Kavanaugh (Forest Whitaker) arrives with one goal in mind: taking down Mackey, and he'll even use Vic's ex-wife to do it. This is the key storyline of the season, and it's wonderfully tense, as the cat and mouse game between the two is intense and superbly acted by Chiklis and Whitaker.
The sixth season continues directly after the end of the fifth, with the team having lost one of their members at the end of the prior season. Mackey, horrified at the loss, becomes enraged and focuses only on finding revenge for who was behind it - although he'll soon find that the path leads to someone he didn't expect.
Meanwhile, Internal Affairs Officer Lt. Jon Kavanaugh (Forest Whitaker) is back, and is doubling his efforts to try to take down Mackey - and even resorting to illegal tactics to try and get what he wants. Mackey, facing department pressure and the constant cat & mouse game between him and Kavanaugh - realizes that time is running out before he's not going to have a choice besides retiring from the force. Claudette also has to try to keep the Barn from being shut down and Vic meets who might be his potential replacement. While it's difficult to believe the show could be any more intense - it's the definition of riveting TV - the sixth season sees the show's creators continuing to ramp up the tension.
Overall, "The Shield" is an impressive and highly compelling series that ventures into darkness in a fierce and more confident way than the rest of the cop shows currently on TV. The acting is terrific and the writing is excellent, as well. The show's next season is, unfortunately, reportedly the last one.
66. 6- 1 3 Apr 07 On the Jones
67. 6- 2 10 Apr 07 Baptism by Fire
68. 6- 3 17 Apr 07 Back to One
69. 6- 4 24 Apr 07 The New Guy
70. 6- 5 1 May 07 Haunts
71. 6- 6 8 May 07 Chasing Ghosts
72. 6- 7 15 May 07 Exiled
73. 6- 8 22 May 07 The Math of the Wrath
74. 6- 9 29 May 07 Recoil
75. 6-10 5 Jun 07 Spanish Practices
VIDEO: "The Shield" is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The image quality of this release is generally excellent, as it keeps to the show's general look and feel. Sharpness and detail are usually very good. Although there is considerable grain in the image quite often (the show's "look", so it's intentional), it doesn't effect the viewing experience, and is presented smoothly here.
There did not appear to be any flaws not associated with the source material. Edge enhancement was not spotted here, nor were any instances of pixelation. The source material also appeared to be in excellent condition, with no specks, marks or wear. The show's color palette was also presented accurately.
SOUND: "The Shield" is presented in 2.0 audio on this set. The audio is a little disappointing, as although sound quality is perfectly fine, the show certainly deserves a 5.1 presentation to throw viewers right in the middle of the situations.
EXTRAS: Commentaries with many members of the cast and crew are included on eight of the ten episodes. We also get deleted scenes with optional commentary and two featurettes.
Final Thoughts: "The Shield" once again boils over with intensity in the powerful sixth season, lead by a fierce performance from Chiklis. The DVD set offers very good audio/video quality, as well as quite a few supplements. Recommended.