How I Got Hooked:
At first, I teased a friend for binge-watching the DVD sets — haw haw, look at the dude and his cop show! — but then, I agreed to watch the first episode. I'd been anticipating a typical Dragnet-style procedural, but The Shield immediately proved its ability to defy conventions and expectations.
Just watch the first one, okay? You'll get an idea of the mind-blowing saga that is yet to come. If I tell you anything more, you'll be robbed of all kinds of character development. (And, this show has deep, solid, real characters.) Plus, the guest stars, from Andre 3000 to Glenn Close to Forest Whitaker, are fantastic — they disappear into their roles completely. Unlike a lot of shows that stretch on for seven seasons, The Shield stays consistently strong, with even the tiniest story threads woven together to create a satisfying saga. In the very last hour of the series, Mackey is still feeling the effects of what happened in that first episode. The show is that tightly written.
Why You'll Love It:
There's no filler, which means that every single moment is riveting. (Get ready to gobble up three or four episodes in a row.) Still, it's not all crack-house stakeouts and street shoot-'em-ups. All of the characters, from Mackey to the gangbangers and prostitutes who run in his world, are fleshed-out and three-dimensional, especially in their private lives. In particular, Walton Goggins plays Vic's right-hand man, Shane Vendrell, with impressive range and depth — where was his statuette, Emmy gods?!
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