The Shield: Season 4 (Ryan, 2005)

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Season 4 belongs entirely to the compelling Glenn Close as new captain Monica Rawling, a forceful presence who mandates a key seizure program that ruffles feathers with the general public and police brass. During the many contradictions within city ordinance, institutional hierarchies, and back room dealings, The Shield finally delves into the territory of The Wire, but still devotes itself entirely to the intricacy of this particular war zone. Rawling gets results by using Vic as a spearhead to battle brutal drug dealer Antoine Mitchell (Anthony Anderson in a devilish performance), but it’s the tension between community pressure and reform that drives almost every narrative burst between this brilliant character triangle. Social issues begin to creep into a show that previously had little room amidst the shocking moral ambiguity and violence. The addition of Close, Anderson, and Michael Pena lends new layers of credence to the already crowded and complex Farmington landscape, uprooting previous relationships between the now defunct Strike Team and new Councilman David Aceveda. Performance takes precedent over plot for the first time, and as the seasoned veterans grow deeper, the expanded cast exhibits a fresh angle on this universe. We get a sense that the idealistic global perspectives battling inner city realities is beginning to take a toll within every dark corner of The Shield.

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