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FX's "The Shield" Ends As It Began, with a Killer Episode
November 25, 2008  | By David Bianculli
 
shield-finale-n-25.jpgThe FX series The Shieldshook up viewers, and all of TV, when it burst onto the scene in 2002 -- with the show's purported hero, Michael Chiklis' rogue cop Vic Mackey, knowingly and ruthlessly killing an undercover officer.

Tonight at 10 ET, six years later, The Shield goes out the way it goes in -- with a killer episode.

shield-finale-shane-n-25.jpg

For more than a year now, series creator Shawn Ryan has been building the confrontation between Vic and his former second-in-command, Walton Goggins' Shane Vendrell, to critical mass. All that energy and dramatic tension pays off tonight, as we finally learn the fates of Vic and Shane -- fates which were blood-stained from the start.

Don't worry: I'll say nothing about what happens in this expanded finale. Only that it's fabulous, and unceasingly tense, and loaded with one gripping, sometimes startling scene after another.

shield-n-25-finale-cch.jpg

And it's not just the endgame between Vic and Shane that makes this last Shield shine so brightly. CCH Pounder as critically ill police chief Claudette Wyms, and Jay Karnes as principled detective Dutch Wagenbach, also get meaty, satisfying scenes in this finale.

For six years, the image of Vic shooting another officer in cold blood has stayed with me -- just as the bold example of the protagonist as extreme antihero has inspired and driven basic cable dramas ever since, from Nip/Tuck and Damages to Breaking Bad and Mad Men.

Tonight's episode contains images that, I'm sure, have seared themselves into my TV brain just as indelibly. Literally, from start to finish, The Shield has been one amazing, satisfying thrill ride.

 

1 Comment

 

Sean Dougherty said:

I think if you check you will find Mr. Goggin's first name is "Walton," not "Walter." (You're right. Brain synapse misfire on my part. I'll correct. Thanks. -- David B.)

Comment posted on November 26, 2008 8:18 AM
 
 
 
 
 
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