The Shield – In Memorandum

Six years I’ve waded faithfully – or is it blindly? – through The Shield‘s rising turpitude, its serpentine storylining brushing unseen against my immersed body, the show’s writing satisfying the need to resolve each ep’s crime-of-the-week while each season’s caper escapade escalating crisis builds towards a season ending that’s as welcome – and inevitable – as dementia. Lately I’ve been flashing on Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman‘s comics runs in the eighties and nineties – each and every ep, I’m led down back-of-my-hand familiar back- and dead-end-alleys, and each time I reach the end, whatever I find is a). not what I expect and b). the most obvious or logical thing in the world.

My TradeMe connections brought me right up to Season 6. The final season (Season 7) is half-way through its run in the States as I type this. And thanks to my leetle frien’, I’m just a few days behind them.

It’s all building towards a James Ellroy ending. And just like in Ellroy’s L.A. Quartet, the following thoughts are uppermost in my mind with this final season:

  • no good turn goes unpunished;
  • the rule of unintended consequences applies supreme;
  • things, no matter the best of intentions, will not – can not – end well.

So often in film and television these days, I recognise the portents and the foreshadowing, and can comfort myself that, even if/when things go bad, I was braced for it. But now, despite six seasons of faithful viewing, and with only seven eps to go, my sleeps in between are fitful with drowning dreams…. I can’t contemplate the show ending. It has to, I know that. I accept it. It’s the how that scares the bejesus out of me.

Mr Ryan – I’m in. All the way.


Fight the Power

My take on the WGA strike? The thing is, obviously, –

(a) I’m not a WGA member, and
(b) I live a quarter of the world away.

There’s a lot of stuff on the web about it, and the screenwriting blogs have a screed of information to choose from. I’ve found Shawn Ryan‘s guest post on why he’s joining the strike despite being a multi-hyphenate, Josh Friedman‘s succinct report on standing for what’s right, and John Rogersoverview all particularly enlightening.

As a card-carrying screenwriter, I wholeheartedly exhort the strikers onward to victory.


I Heart “The Shield”

I’d spent almost half of my life in thrall of Dick Wolf‘s Law & Order (at least, as much as the local broadcasters allowed) before Shawn Ryan‘s The Shield arrived and pissed and shit all over the television police procedural genre. Cop shows haven’t been the same since then.

Described as a James Ellroy-infused procedural, The Shield shows cops as flawed human beings, most of them driven by some core need to do The Right Thing, each with their own methods and morals, each looking out for their own interests, and each leaving a trail of emotional, psychological, emotional, sexual and physical destruction. I’m a dirty little voyeur for enjoying their mis/adventures for those reasons. (It’s those same reasons why The Goddess won’t watch it with me.)

The fourth season ended recently. Glenn Close‘s Captain Rawlings gets shafted but good by her superiors; I’ll miss her. An Internal Affairs investigation into the Strike Team appears about to change up a gear. And to see the Strike Team end a season with beers and esprit de corps aplenty was a discomfiting sight indeed.

Shows like The Shield and David Simon‘s The Wire have reinvigorated the genre, elevating it above mere ‘procedural’ to give us true ‘police drama’.

And about bloody time.