The Shield: Seasons 5 & 6 (Ryan, 2006, 2007)

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I lump these two shortened seasons together because Forest Whitaker’s Lt. Tom Kavanaugh appears over the course of both, becoming the lighter fluid to Vic’s fire. Cavanuagh, a manipulative and forceful Internal Affairs officer, sets out to prove Vic was behind the murder of Terry Crowly, the inciting incident in the Pilot episode three years before. The battle between both men gets incredibly personal and dirty, challenging the loyalty of the Strike Team and ultimately leading to the tragic and horrific demise of one member.  After the emotional roller coaster ride of Season 5, it’s predecessor feels like a bit of a downturn, as Kavanaugh exits and a new, more universal force becomes Vic’s key adversary. However, both Seasons expand the universe of The Shield to new heights, giving credence to Claudet’s lasting strength (and CCH Pounder’s incredible performance) and Dutch’s weaknesses, while solving a few notorious cases that have been haunting The Barn for years. The finale of Season 6 promises a great ending to the show, forcing Vic and Aceveda to align in the face of insurmountable odds.

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