The fourth season of The Shield is probably my least favorite. Anthony Anderson gives a great performance as Antwon Mitchell, but my point is if he’s such a major player in the drug trade, how come we never heard of him before? Much has been made of Glenn Close’s stint as Monica Rowling, the new captain, but her performance left me cold and her character seemed underdeveloped (unheard of on The Shield).
Season Four starts with the Strike Team on separate assignments. Vic and Ronnie are still in The Barn overseeing a custom cars sting, Lem is now working for the Youth Authority, and Shane is working vice with a new partner. While the other three are content in doing their jobs, Shane acts the part of a dime store Vic Mackey. He tries to play the drug dealers the same way Vic did, but he either is too cocky or doesn’t have the intelligence for it. He ends up getting in deep with Antwon Mitchell and his former Strike Team compatriots have to, reluctantly, bail him out of trouble.
Claudette and Dutch are pretty much out of the loop for a good portion of the season due to Claudette’s not playing ball with the DA. Rowling starts some sweeping anti-drug initiatives that bring her head-to-head with Mitchell and David Aceveda, now a city councilman. Aceveda, meanwhile, is still dealing with the effects of his rape, but overcomes most of them by the season’s end.
At the end of the season, the Money Train is all but buried, Rowling is deemed a failure and shipped off to another post, Antwon Mitchell is in jail, and it appears the Strike Team is back in business. The final scene of this season sets up season five perfectly. The Team is in a bar celebrating their recent success and it appears that even the rift between Shane and Lem has been healed. But in walks an Internal Affairs cop who sits at the opposite end of the bar and keeps an eye on the proceedings.