Friday, September 24, 2010

The Shield - Season 4

This was definitely the best season since the first. It's clear the show's status jumped a bit somewhere between the third and this one, as it stocks up on some pretty famous talent to fill out the cast, notably Glenn Close as the new captain of the station, and Anthony Anderson as a drug kingpin recently released from prison and right back in the game. Vick's strike team broke up at the end of the last season, so the beginning of this one has him trying to fix his image and get in good with the captain, while Shane and his partner end up getting in way too deep with the bad guys. He thinks he's in control of the situation, but before long the rug is pulled out from under him and he needs the old team's help to set things right.

What follows is some of the most tense TV I've seen since... well, the last season of Breaking Bad, I guess. It's not just about keeping their dirty little secrets out of the spotlight anymore, as there's some real danger that they or people they love might not survive to see the end of it. I only really remember Anderson from comedic roles previously, but he's a great menacing presence as the main villain of the season, and he has some really intense scenes that you can't predict the outcome of. Of course I knew that things would generally be okay by the end because there's three more seasons, but it's still really good stuff.

Close is also pretty fantastic as the new captain. Her storyline is about how it doesn't matter how much sense a policy makes or how well it prevents crime, some people aren't going to like it. She has to battle public perception, higher ups in the department, and the government, and ultimately things don't go as planned. Dutch and Claudette have their typical back and forth while investigating a few fairly interesting criminals, and the fallout of Aceveda's ordeal continues. Unfortunately, I felt even more tired of Danny and Julien's storylines. Not a whole lot of actual consequence really happens to them, and to be honest they just work better facilitating the police work of the other, more significant characters. Also, it's kind of funny how they shoehorned Vick's wife into more screen time by having her seem to be the nurse on call every single time they have to show up at the hospital. Three seasons left, two of which are shorter than usual, so we're cooking with gas now.

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