The series finale of The Shield has aired. The ending of the FX show about the most corrupt cops in the history of television ended with a kind of Shakespearean splendor that was awesome to behold. Beware, spoilers follow.
In The Shield Season finale, the last survivors of the Strike Team, the Farmington District’s collection of rogue cops who make other rogue cops nervous, finally get what is coming to them. For Ronnie, the quiet, bearded one, it was a somewhat conventional meting out of justice as he was hauled off to jail, realizing that he had been betrayed by Vic Mackey. Ronnie’s yelps of outrage ring hollow, knowing what he had done and allowed to be done in the last seven seasons of The Shield. Vic Mackey’s apologies were, to say the least, a little lame.
Shane’s fate was one, though, that could blast the eye that witnessed it and forever blight the memory. For the last few episodes, Shane, his wife pregnant Mara, and their son Jackson had been embarked in a kind of sad, dysfunctional Bonnie and Clyde adventure as one blunder and mishap after another derailed their attempts to escape justice. As the Farmington cops kicked down the door, Shane shot himself on the toilet. But that was not the worse.
Laying on the bed were the bodies of Mara and Jackson, flowers on her breast, a favorite toy truck in his lifeless hand. Shane, concluding that there was nothing else he could do to keep his wife from prison and his son from foster care, had slipped them an overdose of sleeping pills in their drinks.
And so we come to the Macbeth of The Shield, Vic Mackey. Getting killed or going to jail would have been far too conventional a punishment for him. Letting him skate would have been horrible. So Olivia, his handler at ICE and arbiter of Mackey’s immunity deal, devised an exquisite torture for Victor Mackey.
For the next three years, in exchange for his immunity from prosecution for three years of murder and mayhem, Victor Mackey is condemned to Dilbert-land. He will appear at the offices of ICE in suit and tie, sit in a cubical, and write reports. For Victor Mackey, a man who lives for the excitement of police work on the streets, this is a hell more horrible than anything imagined be Dante. And Olivia will spend the next three years watching to see if Mackey slips, so that the immunity deal can be cancelled, and Vic Mackey can be sent to Death Row.
Still, despite the fact that it is The Shield series finale, one gets the idea that we are not quite done with Victor Mackey. Mackey is not the kind of guy to accept his fate easily. We already see it in the hard set of his eyes as he takes out a gun from the brief case and sticks it under his belt in the small of his back as he leaves his cubical hell. Is he going to shoot himself? Is he going to shoot someone else? Or is he just plotting, in his relentless way, to turn the tables just one more time and take his own fate in his own hands?
Source: ‘The Shield’ series finale: Who feels emotionally pistol-whipped?, Dan Snierson, Entertainment Weekly, November 26th, 2008