The Shield - The Complete First Season

The Shield - The Complete First Season
In the very first episode of The Shield, Michael Chiklis blows away his affable good guy image - the one he's used in TV shows like The Commish and Daddio - the moment his character Vic Mackey kills a fellow cop to protect his own ass. It serves notice that this is not the Chiklis you know - he's bald, toned, and pit bull vicious - nor is this your typical cop show, even on cable. Centring on Mackey's experimental street crime unit, The Shield examines the racial, economic and social environment of a culture that demands a low crime rate and is willing to not ask too many questions about how it's achieved. Los Angeles, with its majority Spanish speaking population and huge gulf between economic strata, is a perfect environment; creator Shawn Ryan throws in an riot-tainted L.A.P.D., a politically ambitious Latino police captain and enough moral ambiguity to paint the whole cast grey. While the series takes a while to gain its footing and overcome its genre limitations, its second half and payoff is as strong as anything that's been put on television, messing with expectations and tying in lines of plot continuity so subtle, you may not notice them until they explode in your face. Fox is jumping the gun on this DVD release, hoping to capitalise on Chiklis's Emmy and Golden Globe wins for best actor; the series also recently dumped on no less than The Sopranos and Six Feet Under in a surprise Globes win. With comprehensive extras, this is as good as it gets for a series DVD release, but The Shield's media saturation is just beginning, so this may not be an essential purchase. Yet. Extras: Cast/crew commentary on all 13 episodes, "Behind the Shield" featurette, original pilot script, comprehensive deleted scenes, original cast auditions. (Fox)