A frequent Golden Globe and Emmy nominee since its debut in 2002, "The Shield" is another drama tht shows the continuing shift of scripted programming to the cable networks, and away from network TV. The show, which airs on cable channel FX, stars Michael Chiklis as Det. Vic Mackey, a daring head officer in a Los Angeles police station. Backed up by a squad of fellow officers (his elite "Strike Team"), Mackey and company have a lot of work on the horizon each and every week. None of them are above breaking a few laws to keep the streets clean and their own selves going.
With a series of directors in the stable (such as Clark Johnson, who helmed the big-screen adaptation of "SWAT"), "The Shield" is consistent in its roaring, brutal feel and tone. Gritty and intense, the show often uses hand-held cinematography to excellent effect, launching the viewer into the action like few shows on television. Ronn Schmidt's cinematography throughout the episodes is key: it gives the show an additional level of immediacy and urgency. Creator Shawn Ryan is supposedly behind the upcoming adaptation of the "Max Payne" video game series; I can't wait to see what he does, as "The Shield" shows he's an absolutely perfect choice.
The fifth season opens with Vic and the Strike Team trying to contain racial tensions that have errupted in the city, while Internal Affairs Officer Lt. Jon Kavanaugh (Forest Whitaker) arrives with one goal in mind: taking down Mackey, and he'll even use Vic's ex-wife to do it. This is the key storyline of the season, and it's wonderfully tense, as the cat and mouse game between the two is intense and superbly acted by Chiklis and Whitaker.
Overall, "The Shield" is an impressive and highly compelling series that ventures into darkness in a fierce and more confident way than the rest of the cop shows currently on TV. The acting is terrific and the writing is excellent, as well.
55. 10 Jan 06 Extraction
56. 17 Jan 06 Enemy of Good
57. 24 Jan 06 Jailbait
58. 31 Jan 06 Tapa Boca
59. 7 Feb 06 Trophy
60. 14 Feb 06 Rap Payback
61. 21 Feb 06 Man Inside
62. 28 Feb 06 Kavanaugh
63. 7 Mar 06 Smoked
64. 14 Mar 06 Of Mice and Lem
65. 21 Mar 06 Post Partum
VIDEO: "The Shield" is presented in 1.33:1 full-frame by Fox. The image quality of this release is generally excellent, as it keeps to the show's general look and feel. Sharpness and detail are usually very good. Although there is considerable grain in the image quite often (the show's "look", so it's intentional), it doesn't effect the viewing experience, and is presented smoothly here.
There did not appear to be any flaws not associated with the source material. Edge enhancement was not spotted here, nor were any instances of pixelation. The source material also appeared to be in excellent condition, with no specks, marks or wear. The show's color palette was also presented accurately.
SOUND: "The Shield" is presented in 2.0 audio on this set. The audio is a little disappointing, as although sound quality is perfectly fine, the show cries out for a 5.1 track to throw viewers right in the middle of the situations.
Extraction Commentary by DJ Caruso, Michael Chiklis, Walton Goggins, Kenneth Johnson, David Rees Snell & Kurt Sutter
Enemy of Good
Commentary by Catherine Dent, Guy Ferland, Paula Garces & Michael Jaces
Commentary by Michael Chiklis, Walton Goggins, Kenneth Johnson, Scott Rosenbaum & David Rees Snell
Commentary by Liz Craft, Sarah Fain, Paula Garces, Laura Harring & Jay Karnes
Commentary by Catherine Dent, Laura Harring, Benito Martinez & CCH Pounder
Commentary by Adam Fierro, Jay Karnes, Emily Lewis, CCH Pounder & Cathy Cahlin Ryan
Commentary by Jay Karnes and Shawn Ryan
Commentary by David Marciano, Glen Mazzara, Cathy Cahlin Ryan & David Rees Snell
Of Mice & Lem
Commentary by Anthony Anderson, Gwenyth Horder-Payton, Michael Jace, Kenneth Johnson, Benito Martinez & CCH Pounder
Commentary by Walton Goggins, Kenneth Johnson & Shawn Ryan
"Prequel to Season 6" is a short film that joins the final moments of the fifth season with the upcoming season. It's essentially a long preview and doesn't offer too much. "Delivering the Baby" is a nearly 90-minute doc looking into the shooting of the final episode of the season. It's difficult to discuss the feature without spoiling the major events of the finale, but I will say that it's an excellent, informative look at the shooting of the episode and a lot of the show's day-to-day functioning. "I.A.D." is a short featurette that looks at the work of internal affairs and comparing reality to how it is portrayed on the show. We also get a panel discussion with Chiklis, Whitaker and Ryan, as well as a touching and emotional tribute to producer Scott Brazil, deleted scenes and a Fox "Making a Scene" promo featurette.
Final Thoughts: "The Shield"'s fifth season is a powerhouse right up until the shocking finale. The DVD presentation offers very good audio/video quality, along with a good set of supplements. Recommended.