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.

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