Shield Guns Down The Wire

In crime drama face-off, Mackey has the edge on sheer depravity
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2008 2:47 PM CST
In this image released by FX channel, Michael Chiklis stars as Det. Vic Mackey in a scene from, "The Shield," returning for a new season, Tuesday, Sept. 2, at 10:00 p.m. on FX channel.   (AP Photo/FX, Prashant Gupta)
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(Newser) – When it comes to gritty portrayals of life on the unforgiving streets of an American city, no show is better than The Wire—except The Shield, Chris Petit declares in the Guardian. The crime dramas, with their shaky lens style and foul-mouth approach, shuck romance and expose the oft-forgotten American underclass. The Wire “was Dickens," Petit writes. "It was a Russian novel.”

But The Wire’s heroic treatment of cops undermines its anti-sentimentalist mission, while “The Shield is reprobate, Shakespearean in its epic corruption and Jacobean in plotting and the darkness of its soul." On The Shield, “everyone hates and mistrusts each other, most of them are slime balls, with little bonding beyond sadomasochistic dependency. It goes beyond dysfunction. It throws wild curves.”