Raw-edged 'Shield' ends

The Baltimore Sun

After seven seasons, The Shield comes to an end tonight on FX. And I am surprised at how little emotion I feel about the finale.

Once upon a time, I was crazy about this cop drama and its lead character, rogue LAPD detective Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis). I have freely acknowledged before that the pleasure I took in The Shield was probably not a good thing in that all its raw-edge violence was clearly speaking anger to rage. And I was the red-hot receptor.

Still, it was compelling to watch Mackey and his renegade cops run roughshod over the urban mayhem of Los Angeles' nasty side. So why does the finale, which I screened (sorry, no spoilers), leave me feeling nothing but a bit flat and empty?

The Shield stayed on the air at least one season too many. Not only was the series creatively spent, the whole cop drama genre that so dominated prime time in the 1990s was exhausted. The American frontier had shifted, and the cities and the men and women trying to maintain order on that frontier no longer seemed to matter so much.

So long, Vic. Sorry I'm not more emotional, but I know you wouldn't want phony tears. (10 p.m., FX) ** 1/2

LATE-NIGHT GUESTS Actress Reese Witherspoon visits the Late Show with David Letterman. Actor Josh Brolin visits The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

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