Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Shield - Season 2

The second season of The Shield didn't have the impact for me that the first did, though it was still a well produced, interesting 585 minutes of television. It follows more or less the same formula. Vick and his strike team frequently break the law to make sure they get an arrest, or sometimes just for personal gain. Aceveda continues to disapprove of his methods, though this season he ends up helping him cover things up a bit to protect his run for city council. Claudette and Dutch continue to provide a lot of the B stories, investigating unusual cases each week, although this time Claudette is more of Vick's true foil, as his techniques begin to cause issues with her own work. And Danny and Julien have their own problems to carry around while they tend to facilitate the others' stories. It's not a terribly unique formula, but it's one that totally works to create a show that both serves as an entertaining weekly cop show and a much more compelling long term drama about corruption and the cost of justice.

I guess the problem this time around was the tension between Vick's methods and his results really wasn't there in the second half of the season. It was huge in the beginning, as he and his crew clash with a particularly brutal drug dealer from Mexico, and he has to interfere with ongoing investigations to save his own ass. But eventually that plot resolves itself, and while it's in a way that causes further issues for others, it doesn't really for Vick. The tension between him and Claudette dims only slightly, but there's not much really pressing it harder after that point. His problems become more domestic for the remainder of the season, and that stuff is handled pretty well, it's just not as compelling as the central question that got me really intrigued by the show in the first place. I always appreciated how The Sopranos (there's that comparison again) mixed crime and family problems for Tony, but The Shield just doesn't do it as well. It's been at its best when Vick is one slip up away from finally getting caught in the act, and I hope there's more of that in season 3.

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