If you're already a fan of the FX cop drama The Shield, then you know that shy of a select few shows on HBO, there's nothing better on television. With the fourth season getting ready to kick off, and the third season released this week on DVD, now is the perfect time to either get caught up on what you've missed, or simply introduce yourself to the hardboiled show.
Set in Los Angeles at the fictional Farmington Precinct, The Shield revolves around Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis), the morally corrupt detective who heads up LAPD's elite Strike Team. In the first season, Vic committed cold-blooded murder, conspired with dope dealers and cheated on his wife. He also brought down more than his share of bad guys. In the second season, the inner politics of the precinct began to heat up. As the season drew to a close, Captain David Aceveda (Benito Martinez) was elected to City Council and promised to leave his position at the volatile precinct with Detective Claudette Wyms (CCH Pounder) in charge. Meanwhile, Vic and the rest of the Strike Team managed to successfully rip off the Armenian mob for millions of dollars.
The third season of The Shield starts off strong, with the Armenians leaving a trail of mutilated corpses in their search for who ripped them off. The Strike Team tries to lie low, but inner tension surrounding the money begins to make things difficult. Making matters worse, it turns out some of the money was marked and being used as part of an ongoing federal investigation. And it doesn't help that there are some new kids in the precinct-a token black cop brought in to integrate the Strike Team, and the Decoy Squad, the new darlings of the LAPD. Elsewhere in the precinct, Aceveda refuses to step down from his command, leaving Wyms in limbo and frustrated with her captain's political maneuverings. And if all that weren't enough, a serial rapist is making his way through the area, targeting elderly women.
The four-disc collection of Season 3 includes all 15 episodes (the only thing that sucks about The Shield is that the seasons are too short), as well as deleted scenes and audio commentary on select episodes. With something like the collected season of The Shield, it's always fun to have bonus material, but you don't need it. The individual episodes and the larger body that they make up are more than enough to keep you entertained. Watching any show on DVD-where the whole process can take hours if not days-can be daunting. But with The Shield, it's all time well spent.