Monday, August 11, 2008

The Shield: Season Six

The seventh and final season starts this September 2nd. The penultimate season of The Shield is referred to many fans as the second half of season five. Picking up shortly after Shane’s murder of Lem, the main storyline of season six is Vic and crew trying to track down an punish those responsible for Lem’s murder.

The Strike Team investigation by Jon Kavanaugh (Forest Whitaker) is still open, and now Kavanaugh is convinced that Vic was behind Lem’s murder. He pleads for more time with the brass to continue his investigation and is granted a temporary continuance. Kavanugh is teamed with Dutch in the investigation, but he sends Dutch off on wild goose chases while he continues his vendetta against Vic. The first episode ends with Kavanaugh completing his transformation into a dirty copy by planting evidence linking Vic to Lem’s murder. In episode two, Dutch goes to his old partner Claudette (now captain of The Barn) with his concerns about Kavanaugh and his methods. The episode ends with Kavanaugh behind bars and Vic free to continue his search for Lem’s killers.

At first, Vic and team are on the trail of a Mexican banger named Guardo. They end up capturing him and torturing him, trying to get him to confess to Lem’s murder. Shane, for once, seems to be playing the voice of reason, trying to get his friends not to take it out on Guardo. In reality, Shane’s guilt over killing his friend is eating him alive. He confesses to his wife that he killed Lem by the end of the fifth episode and to Vic by the end of the sixth episode. Vic promises if he sees Shane again that he’ll kill him. Shane’s guilt is now gone and he takes a sanctimonious attitude toward Vic and the crap they’ve done in previous seasons. He tries to be smart and play the angles again, but like with Antwon Mitchell, he ends up creating more trouble than the eliminated. Shane lets slip to the Armenian mob that he and the Strike Team were behind the Money Train heist of season two. The Armenians send their best killers after the boys. Instead of trying to get help, Shane takes it upon himself to save Vic’s family. Of course, he doesn’t tell Vic the plan and ends up getting Vic more pissed at him.

Now that Claudette is The Barn’s captain, Dutch is partnered up with Steve Billings (David Marciano) on a murder house in San Marcos. At the end of the fifth season, Dutch stumbles across a house with eleven dead Mexican immigrants and a severed arm of a Mexican government official. Their investigation leads them to a developer, Cruz Pezuela, who happens to be a big financial backer of Councilman David Aceveda. Aceveda wants Pezuela’s backing for a mayoral run, but he also is still part cop and wants the murders solved.

In order to get himself out of trouble, Pezuela gives Vic a copy of the photo taken of Aceveda while he was being raped. Instead of using it to blackmail Aceveda, Vic gives it to him as a sign of good faith and tries to get Aceveda on his side for his upcoming review board hearing. Vic and Aceveda work together and figure out that Pezuela is working on a redistricting plan to manipulate the vote and get politicians loyal to him elected. That way he can get contracts easier and help launder money for the Mexican mafia. The season ends with Vic skipping his review board hearing to roust Pezuela’s Mexican mob contact who is carrying a large stash of documents and photographs. Blackmail material for every important politician and judge in and around Los Angeles. Vic and Aveceda agree to use the material to save Vic’s badge so they can take down Pezuela and the Mexican mafia.

After the stellar fifth season, something felt missing in the sixth season. Jon Kavanaugh was a perfect “big baddie” to play opposite Vic, so the faceless review board trying to force him into retirement is not quite as menacing. The show is still fantastic and multi-faceted as always. Great acting once again by Michael Chiklis (Vic Mackey) and Walton Goggins (Shane). All the crap the Strike Team did in previous seasons came back – even more so than during Kavanaugh’s investigation. The Mexican mob angle and the final showdown between Vic and Shane are set up nicely for season seven.

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