The Shield - "Trial by Fire" Friday, July 6

the shield
baptism by fire (2/10)

The hard-hitting police drama continues its sixth season. Focusing on maverick detective Vic Mackey, the series follows the day-to-day action of tough, morally ambiguous cops who will happily break the law to put criminals behind bars. Tonight, Kavanaugh’s plan to implicate Vic in Lem’s murder falls into place, while Vic pursues the gangster he thinks is responsible for his friend’s death.

Vic is determined to wreak his revenge on Guardo Lima, the Salvadorian gangster he believes planted a grenade in his colleague Lem’s lap. To this end, he traces Guardo’s girlfriend, Nydia Hernandez, and breaks into her house with Shane and Ronnie in tow. There, they overhear Nydia making a phone call to Guardo in Mexico. The gangster is out of Vic’s reach –unless he can he find a way to lure him back to the States.

Vic goes to see a Mexican contact named Tonio to see if he can help bring Guardo back. In return, Vic agrees to rescue Tonio’s grandchildren from their father, a mobster named Rocha who kidnapped the kids in Mexico and fled to LA. To do this, he heads into the heart of Mexican gang territory and confronts a mob leader who knows of Rocha’s whereabouts. Vic successfully tracks down his man and retrieves the kids, only for Tonio to confess that he was unable to get Guardo: “I couldn’t get close enough to talk to him,” he says.

A furious Vic must find an alternative way to flush out his quarry. He returns to Nydia’s house with Shane and Ronnie and tricks her into thinking her life is in danger. Nydia agrees to hide out at Ronnie’s apartment, little realising that the police are kidnapping her. Vic returns to Tonio and tells him to send a message to Guardo that he has 24 hours to rescue Nydia in person. A horrified Shane can only beg Vic to reconsider his plan: “You push this too far, man – we’re going to lose you too!” he says. But Vic is resolute: “Guardo must pay.”

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Kavanaugh (guest star Forest Whitaker) plans to pin Lem’s murder on Vic, and leads a search of the detective’s home. When they find evidence planted by Kavanaugh linking Vic to the crime, an alert is put out for his arrest.

Vic stays away from the precinct in order to buy himself some time and sends Shane and Ronnie to report back for him. At the station, Vic’s lieutenants claim not to have seen him, and refute all the charges against him. Under questioning, Shane accuses Kavanaugh of setting Vic up. Privately, Shane urges Vic to come back and defend himself: “They’re building a case – you’ve got to get back here and fight it,” he says.

However, Shane is not the only one suspicious of Kavanaugh’s evidence. Dutch knows that Kavanaugh has already lied to him once about the case and his mistrust increases when the lieutenant refuses to let him interview his star witness, Emolia Melendez, alone. Captain Wyms also has misgivings when Corrine Mackey accuses Kavanaugh of trying to sexually assault her. Wyms is determined to rebuild the precinct and restore honesty to the squad: “I’ve got one chance to right this ship,” she says. “That means to pursue the truth.” Acting on her suspicions, Wyms interviews Emolia herself, and recognises that she is caught in the middle of Vic and Kavanaugh’s war: “I can offer you a way out if you let me,” she says. “First you have to tell me the truth.”

Seeing that Emolia is about to crumble, Kavanaugh is compelled to expose himself: “I fed her the story,” he confesses. “I framed a guilty man.” As Kavanaugh’s career collapses about him, all charges against Vic are dropped – but will this stop him from pursuing his vengeful course?

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