Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Three Gun Salute To The Sheild

Three Gun Salute To The Sheild

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The Rampart Scandal in the 1990's was a series of LAPD corruption cases in the Rampart district, which isn't the nicest part of town, to say the least. So when Shawn Ryan brought the idea to the Fox cable channel FX in 2002, which much like the rest of basic-cable programming, was limited bland procedurals and adventure shows. They took it and ran with it. Since 2002 there has not been a bad season. Not one. All of them have been works of wonder.

It's now 2008. My NDA is finally done with seeing that the show is finally over and there's nothing left under the sun to spoil about this show. So it's a moot point to say the least. The Shield represents something close to my heart. It was the first location filming that I did in this grand industry. I was a PA, but it was fun. Most of all, it had a connection to me in a sense that it was filmed around the areas I grew up. At one point I was literally 5 blocks away from where I lived to where they were filming. It was the shortest commute to work ever. I could have walked there.

Then again, perhaps saying that I lived near the areas that the show runners wanted to represent in the series about corrupt cops in the East LA/South LA area is a good thing, it was just a thing none the less. A little more about the show is that without it, you wouldn't see shows like Rescue Me, damages, Mad Men, Nip/Tuck and all the rest is because of shows like the shield that pushed the envelop. That lured the big names to the small screen of basic cable. Before its airing in 2002, F/X and basic cable was a wasteland.

Michael Chiklis, for his role as Vic Mackey, has gone far beyond the whole role as the Commish. He brought such a corrupt and morally bankrupt character to life. Not to mention he's a really stand up guy in person. But through all these seven years there has not been a bad moment that didn't keep you on the edge of your feet on the show. And with tonights showing, that's it. It's finally over.

So what about the Finale? It ended with the shoe dropping for the sins of the characters over the past seven years. Their corruption. Their bad deeds. Their fall from grace of being anything but remotely honest and upstanding police officers is finally paid off in spades. Taken after the CRASH unit in the Rampart division of Los Angeles, this is gritty and real in all aspects. Many of those same Rampart division officers were arrested or charged. Many got away Scott free because of a lack of evidence, which only had them fight their own personal demons on the matter of what they did.

Since the show was based on a fictitious location in Los Angeles, it still had some grounded reality based on the South and East side of town. I know a lot of places that it was filmed at and I was on set when they filmed a lot of it. Considering the show was originally going to be named RAMPART, it does have those roots to that sort of urban community. It was later changed because of the LAPD wanting to not shine the light on the whole corruption thing, the fact that this show is real and gritty, unlike any other crime show before it means a lot.

So how true is it? Sure there was the Rampart corruption case. But considering that recently Los Angeles was ranked 158th in terms of crime maybe that means that the streets are cleaned up more with even corrupt cops out there. I'm one that always feels that the ends justify the means. So if you have to plant some evidence or take down a bust or two while also feeding the system. . So perhaps corrupt cops is what we need to keep the peace. Besides, not all the police officers are smart enough to pull huge amounts of crime while on the clock. Hell, some of them just end up shooting themselves.

In the end, The Shield was ahead of its time and was beyond gritty. Both in the look of the show using grainier cameras as well as highlighting the urban decay as a supporting character. It taught me a lot about the industry and helped me move up in it as well. You've made my Tuesday's entertaining for the last 7 years.

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