As The Shield drew closer to its series finale, critics reflected on how The Shield made so many other shows possible. Without The Shield, FX couldn’t launch shows like Nip/Tuck, Rescue Me or Damages. Without The Shield, there couldn’t be other shows with almost unlikable lead characters, like Mad Men or House. The Shield started off with one of the biggest bangs of all time when Vic Mackey killed a fellow cop. For the series finale, The Shield ended with a bang that was a little more quiet.
For seven seasons on The Shield, Vic Mackey, Shane Vendrell, Ronnie Gardocki and Curtis Lemansky, a.k.a The Strike Team, had performed criminal activities to stop felons, and enrich their own pockets. But their actions were finally catching up to them.
By the time of The Shield series finale, Shane’s desperate murder of Lem had fueled a final war between him and Vic. Shane’s attempt to live on the run with his pregnant wife and toddler son had failed miserably.
Before Shane or Captain Claudette Wimms could ruin him, Vic bought full immunity from ICE in return for a major bust. But Vic had to confess all of his evil deeds first. Vic had to do this by also selling out Ronnie, while his own ex-wife was trying to help ruin him.
With these plot lines colliding, The Shield series finale was expected to have big, bloody final confrontations, and finally reveal if Vic Mackey would finally get his. All of these answers were explained- though not in the way many expected.
There was a final confrontation between Vic and Shane of sorts, but not in person. Shane finally went down in the most horrifying and tragic fashion. Claudette could not bring Vic down herself, but she got a crushing victory of sorts over him. And Vic got to witness everything that he had left finally disappear from him.
And the final fate of Vic Mackey? It may surprise people to find out how darkly funny it actually is.
The Shield series finale took a bit from The Sopranos, in ending without the bloody reckonings that many expected, and trying to have a semi-open ended finale for its villainous hero.
But The Sopranos approach to its finale insulted much of its audience and angered them to no end. The Shield series finale has no such drawbacks.
Now The Shield officially takes its place in TV history. It will likely end without any final recognition from the Emmy voters. But most critics know that Michael Chiklis, Walton Goggins and CCH Pounder should all be winning Emmys for this episode anyway, if the Emmy gods were fair.
But if we had a fair world, the Vic Mackeys of this world wouldn’t exist, and then The Shield wouldn’t exist. The last seven years have shown that that wouldn’t be fair either, as The Shield series finale reminded us one last time.
Entertainment Weekly- “The Shield series finale: Who feels emotionally pistol-whipped?” popwatch.ew.com/popwatch/2008/11/the-shield-fina.html