Today began the first part of my marathon watching of The Shield, being undertaken while on holiday from work. I'll be keeping most of this behind a spoiler cut in order to avoid giving too much away to anyone who's not yet watched the show but is considering doing so.
Apologies if this is a little raw and random, I'm just writing lines as they occur to me while watching.
For everyone else; behind this cut is a timeline of thoughts while watching the first disc of the first season...
10:00 - Having spent the early morning sorting out various jobs which needed doing around the house 10am becomes the start time.
Collecting all the DVD sets together and putting in the first disc I prepare to start watching The Shield. But realisation hits that I don't have a cup of tea ready, so everything is put on halt while that's sorted out.
10:10 - Disturbed by the mail watching begins at 10:10, ten minutes later than planned. Episodes will be watched without commentary.
10:11 – Pilot Episode
10: 11 - I forgot David Acevada was the first character to appear in this show.
10:12 – Hey look, it’s Reed Diamond/Terry Crowley.
10:13 – Naked ass and brutality. Nice mix.
10:14 – Naked dead woman, I don’t recall this much nudity last time I watched it. Claudette and Dutch turn up, followed quickly by Danny and then Julien.
10:15 – First sighting of the Barn. Vic’s quite small compared to later on. Toilet’s broken in the Barn.
10:17 – I think we’ve established two things about Vic, one he isn’t afraid of bending the rules and two he’s obsessed with toilets.
10:18 – Dutch is already interested in Danny, wow that’s a long running infatuation – I can’t recall a time he wasn’t into her.
10:19 – Dutch attempts to chat up Danny, poorly. Then Vic and Shane roll in and roast him.
10:20 – Vic looks really fresh and enthusiastic here, and quite young too.
10:21 – Funky music and we find out Aceveda wants Terry to look into Vic. Don’t do it Terry!
10:23 – “I just want a dirty cop off the street.” Heh, David. You’re terrible at lying.
10:24 – I completely forgot that Reed and Clark were not the only ex-Homicide cast members who appeared in The Shield. It’s Max Perlice (Brodie) in a short cameo.
10:26 – Aw, Vic’s concerned about the druggies kids. He’s a good guy!
10:26 – CCTV footage, Clark Johnson’s signature style. First appearance of the old interview room camera.
10:28 – They’ve wrapped that murder up pretty quickly, oh wait – the guy sold his daughter. It’s not over yet.
10:29 – Good cop, bad cop!
10:30 – The Ding Dong incident, just the first of many times Vic bullies Dutch. I think they wrote it so they could just repeatedly say Ding Dong.
10:32 – Chickens!
10:33 – Hey, it’s the fat girl argument between Lemar and Martel
10:36 – Oh and he helps out needy single mother/prostitute. Vic really is a good guy! And rather concerned about soup.
10:39 – Claudette’s very liberal about Vic at this point. She’s actually justifying Vic’s actions here. Admittedly we haven’t seen anything too bad from Vic – he’s mostly been roughing up hoods and being concerned about families.
10:40 – It’s Martel.
10:41 – And now we establish that Julien’s religious.
10:42 – Pool Party! Hey look, it’s my T-Shirt! Vic, can I have it back now?
10:44 – “Remember, the team comes first. We take care of each other.” – Really?
10:46 – Time for Vic to do his thing with the Doctor. Knife, Whiskey, Phonebook and Lighter. I wonder if he’s planning to make something nice like a paper cup?
10:47 – “Good cop and bad cop have left for the day, I’m a different kind of cop.”
10:47 – So Cassidy is eight at the start of this.
10:51 – Dutch tries the moves on Danny, but he’s cockblocked by a blind date and dop-poop in his draw.
10:52 – “Nobody leaves without providing a stool sample.”
10:53 – Did Acevada put the poop in the draw?
10:54 – Wow I forgot how fast paced this show was.
10:55 – Don’t stand there Terry! Too late.
I’m still of the opinion that while the pilot episode is a powerful one, Vic shooting Terry would have been more potent if it had happened about halfway through the first season. The show could have spent time setting itself up as an investigation into corrupt cops before switching up into a show about the aforementioned corrupt cops. But it should be noted that the pilot episode is still one of the most energetic and striking of pilot episodes all time in my opinion. Casting ex-Homicide veteran Reed Diamond and billing him as one of the starring cast was a fantastic move, but in hindsight (and if you didn’t really know who Reed was) the shooting is signaled somewhat by Vic and Terry's words earlier in the episode.
Terry: "Without Trust, you're dead"
Quick break to lift weights and a second cup of tea brewed then back into the fray.
11:10 – “Our Gang”
11:12 – I often forget that Terry didn’t die immediately; he’s in hospital at the start of the episode. Sometimes a bullet to the face isn’t fatal.
11:13 – Poor Lem, beating himself up over this.
11:13 – Maybe I spoke to soon, Terry’s dead and now Lem’s bust his hand up punching a car window.
11:14 – Vic: “I’m responsible”.
11:14 – Ah he’s claiming he’s responsible because he was in charge of the operation, not because he gave Terry a little lead to the face.
11:16 – There’s Gillmore!
11:17 – Julien, how dare you stay at home when Terry had been shot.
11:19 – Dutch is more willing to assume Vic’s incompetent than a murderer. Then again, it’s a bit of a stretch to assume any cop would kill a fellow officer at this point.
11:21 – Well at least Acevada is convinced Vic’s responsible for Terry’s death, though he’s assuming Vic set Terry up to get shot at this point.
11:22 – Oh that’s just unfortunate, who’d have Terry and Two-Time buried at the same time. But I guess it’s at least not at the same cemetery.
11:23 – It is Terry’s brother!
11:25 – Looks like Julien’s taken Danny’s words about hitting the streets hard a little too far.
11:26 – First signs of autism.
11:28 – Vic’s got away with it, looks like he’s in the clear. Surely it won’t ever come back to bite him in the arse now.
11:30 – Deary me, it looks like the vendor was shot over protection money, he only wanted his son to be able to go to Stanford.
11:32 – Another flashback, I forgot how flashback heavy the early episodes are. But these bits show just how good Reed Diamond is with these guys.
11:34 – It really is Claudette’s birthday today.
11:34 – More cop rules for Julien from Danny.
11:36 – It seems immigrants are a problem stealing jobs everywhere, even in the criminal world. How dare they!
11:38 – And now Aceveda identifies the weak link in the Strike Team chain – it’s Shane. That’s a surprise.
11:39 – Walton Goggins is small compared to later on in the show. Really small.
11:40 – The one eyed painter makes his first appearance.
11:41 – Gang initiation! Also known as “Beat on the new kid”.
11:45 – “The Last Shot”. It seems Aceveda and Dutch now know or at least suspect Vic’s involvement in the shooting.
11:47 – This kid’s got a Walton Goggins’s sized overbite!
11:48 – And Claudette still doesn’t want to get involved with Vic’s dirt at this moment.
11:50 – “Captain Ass-Invader”
11:52 – Turns out that B&B stands for Beer and Blow. But Julien’s a little reluctant to go, is he shy?
11:55 – Second episode over, man time flies when you’re watching The Shield.
Quick break now to put lunch on and have a few thoughts about the second episode, it lacks the same punch as the first one. But then again it’s hard to deliver the same impact as that opener without cheapening the entire episode. The main thing here is Aceveda’s suspicions are now on Vic in full and Vic seems rather calm about the loss of Terry. I did enjoy the stand alone story with the young ganger, but at this point Dutch and Claudette feel like a distraction rather than part of the mythos.
12:06 – “The Spread”
12:07 – Another previously on The Shield? Man they really don’t want people to forget what happened in the Pilot episode at this point.
12:08 – Naughty, Vic’s just shot his second cop. This time it’s Julien.
12:09 – No matter how hard I try, I can’t help but like Lem.
12:11 – It’s Derek Tripp!
12:13 – What a brilliant two level conversation on the phone there. Corrine is a lot less shrill and annoying at this point.
12:14 – “Damn I gotta call my bookie…”
12:16 – Shane’s up for betting now Tripp is delayed, Vic’s just doing for the win.
12:18 – Dutch’s first hints of his serial killer-fu is here.
12:19 – The Abbey? What’s this about Julien, surely he doesn’t have a secret to hide.
12:20 – Quick dish up of lunch and back to the show.
12:24 – Naked guy on a coach
12:25 – “It’s not mayonnaise.” That’s not what I think it is, is it? “Keep away from my children!” It is! It’s a fridge full of semen.
12:26 – Tripp’s missing. “Huh, weird.”
12:26 – Lem’s belly button!
12:28 – And Dutch flies off the handle with his serial killer vibe.
12:29 – It’s amazing how fast things return to normal after Terry’s death, but I guess life goes on.
12:30 – Holy Cow Tripp’s woman is HOT!
12:32 – Stay away from that prisoner Julien, he’s bad news!
12:33 – That’s it Danny, rattle their cage.
12:34 – The Jar Spunker is a pretty twisted customer, apparently it’s ball size which determines how suitable a man is. Well in crazy town it is anyway.
12:35 – More nakedness, this time it’s Tripp and his woman. Side boob ahoy!
12:36 – A crackhead with a baby, Vic’s trying to claim he’s a doctor.
12:36 – Nope, that didn’t work. Man and baby in the pool (skanky pool), swim Vic swim.
12:37 – Hey, he saved the baby and the man both. See? He’s a nice guy.
12:38 – Ah, the penny’s dropped. Tripp’s realized he’s stuck here and going to miss the match.
12:39 – No Shane, don’t attack Tripp!
12:40 – I wonder who’s coffee Vic used to put out that cigar. Dutch’s?
12:40 – Man that guy has good gay-dar if he’s right about Julien.
12:41 – Claudette wants to be alone with the Jar-Spunker. Romance?
12:42 – There’s a doormat on that bush!
12:44 – That’s not drugs under that couch.
12:44 – Shane, Shane, Shane. Put your gun away, don’t hurt Tripp.
12:45 – Ah, Shane’s acting out over Terry’s death, it’s good that someone feels guilty apart from poor innocent Lem.
12:48 – A little disturbing flirting and then we find out Jar-Spunker is a serial rapist, not really an improvement. But Claudette gives him what for.
12:49 – Man Catherine Dent is a great looking woman. You can see why Dutch is interested in Danny.
12:51 – No Julien, I told you to stay away from him. That man is trouble!
12:53 – Yup looks like there’s something wrong with poor young Matt.
12:55 – “Dawg Days”
12:55 – Another reminder, just incase you couldn’t remember what happened to Terry, I mean it was a rather forgettable incident.
12:56 – More naked women. Does anyone in LA remain clothed?
12:57 – Lem and Danny at Kern’s party – security. Oh dear there’s a gatecrasher in a doorag.
12:58 – Gunfire. Duck guys!
13:00 – I wonder if Kern Little is related to Omar Little.
13:04 – They didn’t use the full “Lemonhead” nickname too often; not surprising really ‘Lem’ is a much better name for him.
13:06 – Lucky Dutch, he’s once again working as an errand boy, this time for Aceveda.
13:07 – “Don’t you make me break a sweat trying to catch you!”
13:09 – It’s all fun an games until a shot gangster loses control and runs over a young boy while crashing.
13:13 – Time for T-Bone and Kern to talk man-to-man in the interview room.
13:16 – Run Edwardo, run!
13:18 – Political moves from Aceveda, but it’s all to nawt unless he can pull Vic out from under his rock.
13:20 – The case of the stolen corpse? Someone call Holmes.
13:21 – Vic makes puppy dog eye, Danny melts.
13:21 – Therman (the missing corpse) used to bully Julien, small world!
13:23 – Case of the Stolen Corpse solved – he did it to try and get the life insurance money – money which was already spent on the funeral. Guess we don't need Holmes after all, cancel the time machine.
13:25 – Bad Rondell, you don’t sent people to threaten Danny. We love Danny! I knew Aceveda mentioning that a cop could ID Rondell was a mistake.
13:26 – “The biggest chance you could have taken was to piss me off, and that’s what you did.”
13:27 – Dutch’s Spanish sucks!
13:28 – “Raped in a truck sneaking into the country, how is that possible?” Someone needs to explain to Dutch how male on male intercourse works.
13:29 – Dead dog! Bad T-Bone.
13:33 – Welcome to the Thunder-cargo-container T-Bone!
13:34 – Two men enter!
13:35 – Rondell learns the lesson, never go after a cop when Vic’s around – that’s his job.
13:37 – Sounds like a bad phone call there Vic.
13:38 – Mat bit Megan in the face?
13:39 – One man leaves.
13:40 – Bald heads glinting in the sun. Kern’s the last man standing from the Thunder-Can.
End of Disc one.
• It's amazing how fast The Shield returns to normality after the big shock of Terry's shooting; it's not unrealistic, but it is unusual pacing for a TV show.
• Everyone looks so small in this, I forgot just how much the Strike Team bulks up over the passing seasons. Walton Goggins (Shane) in particular really beefs out later on.
• You can really feel Clark Johnson's presense behind the camera, there's quite a few stylistic decisions which can cause comparison with The Wire - still amazing to think that he opened and closed both of those two shows and appeared in them both (as well as Homicide).
• I'm going to have to go for a walk before hitting disc two, sitting still this long is difficult for me. I normally pace around a lot.
• Time flies when watching this show, every episode is so crammed to the gills with fast pacy scenes it's always a case of 'is it over already?'
• Apart from the pilot episode, disc one is pretty tame. I believe my favourite season one moment is on disc two.
• More later today!