The Shield: The Complete Fourth Season

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The Shield: The Complete Fourth Season
Cast: Michael Chiklis, Glenn Close, Catherine Dent, Walton Goggins
Studio: Fox
Rating: 8.5/10

CORPORATE LINE: Transgressing the seemingly rock-solid boundaries of regular television programming, THE SHIELD refuses the strictures of black-and-white depictions of clear-cut moral dilemmas in favor of an ambiguity that will challenge even the most jaded viewers. Detective Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis, THE COMMISH) leads the elite Strike Team in the fictional L.A. district of Farmington. He employs dubious but effective crime fighting methods as a tough, successful, but corrupt cop. The other detectives and cops on the force disapprove of the Team’s methods, to say the least, while the precinct head, Captain David Aceveda (Benito Martinez), is just as corrupt as Mackey, but his political aspirations lead him into a campaign to end the detective’s career. The stoic, upright Detective Claudette Wyms (CCH Pounder, ER, BOYCOTT), who understands both sides of the game, provides a much needed balance and rationality to the mix. The charismatic Mackey strikes just the right pitch so as to be the least sympathetic antihero television has yet seen, while retaining his audience, who refuses to write him off quite yet. Meanwhile, the controversial themes and violent nature of the content manage the effect–inconsistent at best in TV programming–of making audiences really think about what they’re watching. Included here is the entire fourth season.

THE REVIEW: The Shield didn’t necessarily need a new character to keep the momentum alive—however the edition of Glenn Close made an already phenomenal cast that much better. Close at first felt stiff but it didn’t take long for her to find her place and turned it on and became the biggest surprise of the season.

The Shield once again does a great job of creating inner turmoil both within the characters and the precinct. It’s all that turmoil that boils over and conflicts with the streets that makes The Shield a treat. Of course there is a lot of crime and the cast needs to clean it up.

The dialogue and many narratives suck the viewers in. Too often NYPD: Blue felt contrived and the dialogue always seemed wrought with filler—The Shield on the other hand is full of sarcasm and never lets an easy laugh go by. All the while the show never turns into a comedy. The dialogue also exposes characters and their issues without being contrived.

THE EXTRAS:
There are a few audio commentaries on selected episodes with all of the cast members. The conversation is always interesting and informative.

There are 42 deleted scenes included.

“Under the Skin” – This featurette documentary is an hour long and an amazing look behind the scenes. This is better than most of the behind-the-scenes documentaries released on DVD for films.

FRANKLY: The Shield: The Complete Fourth Season continues the high level of what has been a great show from day one. With the great featurettes this box set is a must own.

+ Charlie Craine

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