The Shield

the shield
on the jones (1/10)
friday, 23.00–00.00

The hard-hitting police drama returns for its sixth season. Focusing on maverick detective Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis), head of the elite Strike Team, the series follows the day-to-day action of tough, morally ambiguous cops who will happily break the law to put criminals behind bars. The new series hits the ground running with the squad facing up to the death of one of their own, while Vic has to contend with a hostage situation at a methadone clinic.

At the end of the last season, the team was rocked by the death of their colleague Curtis “Lem” Lemansky, who went on the run after being connected to heroin dealing. Vic is determined to avenge his friend’s murder, little knowing that fellow cop Shane Vendrell (Walton Goggins) killed Lem in a bid to stop him from testifying about the Strike Team’s underhand activities. Meanwhile, Internal Affairs officer Lieutenant Kavanaugh (guest star Forest Whitaker) is determined to bring Vic down once and for all – and hits upon a plan to implicate him in Lem’s death.

Still grieving for Lem, Vic vows to hunt down the El Salvadorian gang he believes to be responsible for his murder. However, Captain Wyms (CCH Pounder) refuses to involve Vic in the investigation: “Take a step back, focus on something else,” she says. To this end, she sends Vic to look into an arson attack on a methadone clinic that is linked to a psychotic drug dealer named Quentin Garth.

Vic and the team are distracted, however, by the revelation that Lem was not about to testify against them when he died. Vic realises that Kavanaugh used his old nemesis, councilman Aceveda (Benito Martinez), to trick them into thinking that Lem was about to betray them: “They made me think my own guy turned on me,” he says. The revelation hits Shane the hardest, as he realises that he killed his friend for no reason.

The squad is then summoned to another methadone clinic where Quentin Garth is holding hostages. The addict has set cans of diesel oil in the corridor to stop the police approaching, so Vic climbs onto the roof to get a better look. Meanwhile, a shell-shocked Shane decides to take the situation into his own hands. He tries to negotiate with Garth, and douses himself in the oil in order to win his trust. But is the guilt-ridden cop really trying to save lives, or just looking for way to end his own?

Also in this episode, Kavanaugh’s vendetta against Vic reaches new heights when he begs the chief of police to let him investigate Vic’s involvement in Lem’s death. Convinced that the detective is in some way responsible, Kavanaugh reveals to Detective “Dutch” Wagenbach (Jay Karnes) that it was he who made Vic believe that Lem was going to testify against him: “He had Lem killed because I gave him motive,” Kavanaugh says.

But when Kavanaugh and Vic brawl in the precinct, and the chief threatens to pull him off the case, Kavanaugh claims to have a witness who can incriminate Vic: Emolia Melendez, an informant that Vic used against an El Salvadorian gangster. Kavanaugh convinces Emolia to lie for him in return for witness protection, and encourages her to testify that she set up Lem’s murder for Vic. “I thought you stopped other cops from doing this sort of thing,” Emolia says. But the vengeful Kavanaugh is past the point of no return, as he sets about fabricating forensic evidence. Can the Strike Team’s toughest cop survive the plot against him?

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