The Shield-Complete Second Season (2002)
Audio Commentary-Filmmakers - Four Episodes
Featurette-The Editing Room, With Optional Commentary
Featurette-Raising The Barn
Teaser Trailer-Season 3
Trailer-S.W.A.T., Starsky And Hutch Season One, Spider-Man 2
Trailer-Bad Boys 2
|Year Of Production||2002|
|Running Time||529:33 (Case: 572)|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (4)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||
Stephen T. Kay
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
David Rees Snell
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.75:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
I used to refer to Shawn Ryan’s outstanding crime drama The Shield as the best show not on TV. Since Season Two finally hit the small screen in Australia, through late last year and early this year, I have managed to make a host of new converts who now regard this show as a contemporary of The Sopranos, held back only by the censoring laws of the partially-commercial channel on which it is broadcast in the US.
The Shield is about an experimental police squad in a racially diverse and crime-ridden neighbourhood in Los Angeles called Farmington. The Farmington precinct, known as ‘The Barn’, is a converted church housing a group of diverse police officers and a special anti-gang unit known as the Strike Team. Everybody at the Barn has an agenda and more than a few skeletons in their respective closets. Strike team leader Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis) and the rest of his crew – Shane Vendrell (Walton Goggins), Curtis ‘Lemonhead’ Lemansky (Kenny Johnson) and Ronnie Gardocki (David Rees Snell) – control the violence in Farmington by unofficially controlling the drug trade, and cracking down brutally on anyone who breaks their street code or tries to move in on their action. Vic’s right-wing tactics are tempered by the liberal station captain David Aceveda (Benito Martinez), who still uses Vic when he needs him, mostly to serve his own political ambitions, but detests himself for doing so.
Also at the Barn are the dynamic detectives Claudette Wyms (CCH Pounder) and Holland ‘Dutch’ Wagenbach (Jay Karnes), the former of which is beginning to suspect that Mackey is even more amoral than she at first assumed, and the latter of which is becoming less socially adept, but better as a detective. And at street level, there are patrol officers Danielle ‘Dani’ Sofer (Catherine Dent), whose life is a shambles and is only getting worse, and her gay partner Julien Lowe (Michael Jace) who is attempting to undergo sexual reorientation through the church.
Season Two picks up shortly after the conclusion of Season One and goes together like this:
1. The Quick Fix (48:54)
To find his family, Vic’s going to need money. Only problem is, Shane has tied the retirement fund up in Mexico with a dealer who has double-crossed them. Looks like the Strike Team is going on a road trip down South.
2. Dead Soldiers (42:57)
A new dealer is in town looking to muscle Vic and his boys out of the market and take over Farmington. But when he crosses over a case investigated by Dutch and Claudette, he becomes enemy number one on Claudette’s books.
3. Partners (43:23)
Vic’s former partner is in town, looking to settle a score with the gang member who got him kicked off the force.
4. Carte Blanche (43:36)
The dirty cops get to play as dirty cops with Aceveda’s blessing in order to infiltrate a group of Armenian drug runners.
5. Greenlit (43:23)
After Vic finds that the new drug dealer on the block, Armadillo (Danny Pino), is dealing heroin to children, he puts out a hit on his brother in jail.
6. Homewrecker (43:23)
When Dani and Julien find a women’s shelter full of bodies, Vic sends Connie to find the word on the street about the perpetrator while Claudette and Dutch trace the killer to a cop.
7. Barnstormers (43:09)
Vic tries to hep a battered woman in his apartment block while Dutch and Claudette investigate the rape and murder of an overweight girl in a local park.
8. Scar Tissue (43:29)
Can the strike team find Armadillo before he exposes Vic’s connection to the drug trade in Farmington? Will Aceveda stand in Claudette’s way? And who will pay the price if things go bad?
9. Co-Pilot (43:40)
Take it back to where it all began, first day on the force in Farmington, as Dutch and Claudette form a partnership and Mackey finds that sometimes it’s easier to bend the rules to get results.
10. Coyotes (43:37)
When disgraced former assistant chief Ben Gilroy shows up on Vic’s doorstep looking for help, Vic reluctantly agrees to get him across the border to Mexico. But who is setting up who?
11. Inferno (43:33)
With a federal criminal in town and the reputation of the Barn on the line, Vic must use every resource at his disposal to save the Strike team’s reputation and as a result Acaveda’s career.
12. Breakpoint (43:16)
With the future of his own family in the balance, Vic finds himself empathising with the father of a missing kid and determines to help Claudette and Dutch find him.
13. Dominoes Falling (46:36)
With jobs being cut at the Barn, the council primaries going on through Farmington, rumours of corruption flying about, Vic’s family falling apart, and an Armenian money shipment to take down, the last thing Vic needs is a bunch of gang members running around town randomly killing people – especially when one of the victims is Claudette’s ex-husband.
Whoa ... I’ll just slow my pulse down a little. Okay.
The Shield is the best thing to happen to TV since The Sopranos and The West Wing. Crime drama shows like Law & Order (including its various incarnations) and NYPD Blue just pale by comparison. Even C.S.I. and its various incarnations look cheap and formulaic when lined up next to this show.
Everything about this show screams quality, from the writing, where all good shows begin, to the directing, the cinematography, the production values and of course, the acting – particularly the acting. These actors have managed to create characters who are not only realistic and flawed, but also worth caring about. Chiklis does a spectacular job once again, but more noticeable this season was CCH Pounder, whose character takes a dramatic leap forward, and whose acting at times eclipses that of her co-stars.
In the end, The Shield thrives on its complex plotlines, which can be overwhelming if you are not paying attention. These are many subtle layers at work here, and if you don’t keep up, the show won’t cut you any slack. You will also want to watch Season One before delving into this season or you will find yourself miles behind the eight ball. And a warning to more squeamish viewers - this is also definitely not a show for the faint-hearted. It is, at times, extremely violent, employing torture on a semi-regular basis, and is not afraid of showing blood. Lots of it, in some instances.
If you want a show that won’t pull many punches (language is about the only area this show has to hold back in, but they generally find ways around that) then I cannot recommend this highly enough. Grab a copy now.
Transferred here in 1.75:1, 16x9 enhanced, this is very close to the original aspect ratio for the series, which is 1.78:1. Although it was broadcast on cable in the US in a 1.33:1 Full Frame aspect ratio, it is filmed in the widescreen format and was clearly intended to be seen that way by the directors. We, thankfully, have it broadcast in widescreen in Australia.
The show does employ an intentionally over-exposed image, very similar to that of Saving Private Ryan, designed to give the show a quasi-documentary feel – that gritty, real-life look. While this graininess sometimes led to minor low-level noise in the first season, all those problem have since been corrected.
The image is sharp, highly detailed and well defined. However, this sharpness never delineates into aliasing, which is a bonus.
Colours are rich and deep within the overexposed colour palate which this series uses. The image never looks washed out, though - the light just has a particular feel. The graininess was far less apparent in this season, although still present when looked for, generally in more well lit scenes such as the blue of the Los Angeles skyline.
MPEG artefacts are non-existent, as are film-to-video transfer artefacts. My only complaint was that (perhaps because of the NTSC to PAL transfer) some scenes looked as if they were a fraction too fast, as if the film speed were too quick. I only noticed two sequences like this, however, and they were not overly distracting (I was looking for something if anything to criticise this transfer for and that was about it).
Dirt is virtually non-existent, although you will see the odd white dot of dust here and there.
Subtitles are available in English, English for the Hearing Impaired and Dutch for the show and English and Dutch for the audio commentaries. They are white with a black border, clear and easy to read, and follow the dialogue pretty closely.
The dual-layer pauses are between the episodes, with two episodes per layer.
Unfortunately, the only audio available is the original English 2.0 Dolby Surround track.
As with the first season, there were no dialogue problems, which is important given how much this show relies upon its dialogue. There are no apparent audio sync issues.
The range is as dynamic as the last season, with great post-production sound work evident here.
That work also shows in the surrounds and the music, which are both used to great effect in this show.
Sadly, there is no subwoofer use, which is really unfortunate given how often it would be put to work in this series.
|Surround Channel Use|
All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. They are static and silent.
Presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround, the following episodes contain an audio commentary:
These commentaries are all excellent and well worth listening to.
Presented in 1.33:1, full Frame, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, there are 35 deleted scenes here, which is apparently enough to make up another episode. The deleted scenes sequence comes with an audio introduction by Shawn Ryan, and some of the scenes themselves have their own individual audio introduction by Ryan explaining why the scene was removed. My own personal opinion is that, on the whole, these scenes should have been left in, with only one or two exceptions. I would love to see re-edited versions of these episodes incorporating the deleted scenes as I suspect some of the subplots that got badly trimmed out for timing reasons would come up much better with these scenes added back in.
Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, this is a look at the scene in Homewrecker where Connie gets shot, comparing the editor’s version (6:02) with the final aired version (5:52).
Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, 2.0 Dolby Surround, this is a look at the work in the sound editing studio and a scene which involved a lost of post-production sound work. You can listen to the scene with various layers of sound which are then combined into one overall sound field. Each layer has an introduction by the sound editing crew talking about how they do the procedure. Quite interesting.
Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, this is a look at the final day of shooting for the second season and includes interviews with the principal cast and crew who worked on that day. This would be a hell of a job.
Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, this is an interesting ‘roundtable’ style interview with three directors and an executive producer of the show via satellite video discussing what it is like to work on The Shield.
Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, this is a look at the creation of the set of the Barn, which really is a converted church. Includes interviews with the chief production designers.
Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, 2.0 Dolby Surround, this teaser doesn’t give you much of an idea at all about Season 3, except that it is definitely coming. Indeed, it’s already available in R1.
We are provided with trailers for other Columbia TriStar releases:
There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The R1 release of this series has been available since January 2004. The R1 version includes a DVD-ROM Game which is not present on the R4 release. The rest of the special features are identical.
However, as with the first season, the R1 release is presented only in 1.33:1 Pan & Scan, which was the original broadcast ratio on cable in the US but not the original filming aspect ratio. Because of the difference the picture makes with this film, the R4 release is clearly the better of the two.
The Shield is easily the best cop drama series on TV.
Video is outstanding, and a definite improvement on the first season – very hard to fault.
The sound is only available in 2.0 Dolby Surround. Maybe one day we will get a 5.1 Dolby Digital remix, but until then this will have to suffice. It’s good for what it is, though.
The extras are outstanding, and (with a couple of promotional exceptions) insightful and relevant.
|DVD||Panasonic DVD-RV31A-S, using S-Video output|
|Display||Beko 28" (16x9). This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver.|
|Speakers||Energy - Front, Rear, Centre & Subwoofer|