• Network: FX
  • Series Premiere Date: Mar 12, 2002
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7
Metascore
92

Universal acclaim - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Jun 28, 2013
    100
    Astonishing. ... The Shield did what network cop shows have lately abandoned: it created a richly imagined world with continuing story lines, driven by L.A.'s roiling racial politics--achieving a payoff far bigger than solving the murder of the week.
  2. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Mar 19, 2013
    100
    A stunning piece of television about a rogue cop and that dangerous line between effective police work and ethical transgressions. This series is brutal and frank, with little wasted energy or misdirection.
  3. For five decades, the cop drama -- the good guys vs. the bad guys on the streets of our cities -- has been one of the cornerstones of network television, from the days of "Dragnet" to newer shows such as "Hill Street Blues" and "NYPD Blue" that altered TV. But never, ever has there been a cop drama quite like The Shield, and it could have an impact on pop culture that rivals the best of the police shows that came before it. [12 Mar 2002, p.AE 1]
  4. Reviewed by: Jonathan Storm
    Mar 19, 2013
    100
    Foul-mouthed, violent and potentially depressing with its unvarnished characters, The Shield also shocks your heart with pounding action and tickles your brain by presenting a cops-and-robbers world where almost everyone is at least morally ambiguous, at worst corrupt. [12 Mar 2002]
  5. Reviewed by: Hal Boedeker
    Mar 19, 2013
    100
    A master showman, Ryan hooks the audience with an opener that makes seeing the second episode mandatory... The early episodes hint at the great potential of the supporting cast. Catherine Dent is touching as a policewoman who rues her past with the married Mackey. Michael Jace exudes a fine air of mystery as a rookie officer. And Walton Goggins fidgets compellingly as Mackey's uneasy conspirator. [12 Mar 2002, p.E1]
  6. Reviewed by: Diane Werts
    Mar 19, 2013
    100
    Wallops don't get more walloping than the one that arrives at the end of the premiere of FX's adult cop show The Shield. Won't tell you what it is, and don't you dare read other reviews in case they blab it. This is one of those punch-in-the-stomach moments of TV you'll want to remember being stunned by. Although The Shield looks pretty dang good to that point - or pretty %@$#! good, as its characters would swear - the show suddenly becomes flat-out brilliant. [12 Mar 2002, p.B27]
  7. Reviewed by: Mike Duffy
    Mar 19, 2013
    100
    Just imagine if Tony Soprano had decided to be a cop instead of a gangster. Yes, scary. Scary and compelling. And that's what you get with Detective Vic Mackey, the brutal, anything-goes Johnny Law at the dark heart of The Shield, an explosively well-done new crime drama. [12 Mar 2002]
  8. Reviewed by: Aaron Barnhart
    Mar 19, 2013
    100
    The Shield" also features heart-stopping action scenes, the steady backbeat of its addictive soundtrack and highly entertaining chatter. The combined effect will kick down your door. [12 Mar 2002, p.E1]
  9. Reviewed by: Joanne Ostrow
    Mar 19, 2013
    100
    Gritty and grim, The Shield takes the familiar genre to a new level of intensity, graphic violence, nudity and, not least, profanity. The vocabulary may shock some viewers; the casting will surprise others: Michael Chiklis plays the heavy, the corrupt cop at the center of The Shield. It's a riveting star turn. [12 Mar 2002, p.F05]
  10. Reviewed by: Michael Speier
    Mar 19, 2013
    100
    Everything goes (nudity, language, violence), but that's just the beginning; one-upping any overhyped "NYPD Blue"-like controversy over whether or not it's kosher to show someone's backside on TV, it's also a tour de force of assorted emotions, layered relationships and raw dialogue. [12 Mar 2002, p.4]
  11. Reviewed by: Allan Johnson
    Mar 19, 2013
    100
    As compelling a show as you will see this season. [12 Mar 2002, p.C3]
  12. Reviewed by: David Zurawik
    Mar 19, 2013
    100
    I love The Shield so much, I spent the two weeks since I saw it wondering if I could bring myself to actually say in print what I thought after screening the first three episodes: This is better than "Homicide: Life on the Street." If you've been reading The Sun for any length of time, you know I face East, bow my head and light incense in an act of worship at the mere mention of that late, great, ratings-challenged NBC drama. [12 Mar 2002, p.1E]
  13. 100
    Chiklis is chillingly effective as the brutal, sinister Mackey, a vigilante cop with a lot more than attitude. As the star of The Shield, the first original drama series from cable channel FX, he's prime time's most magnetic, complex and troubling cop since Dennis Franz introduced Andy Sipowicz on "NYPD Blue" back in 1993. [11 Mar 2002, p.D-6]
  14. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Mar 19, 2013
    100
    With smart dialogue, intriguing plots, an explosive cast and an inclination to peer into life's dark corners, it is the most captivating new program in years. The Shield slams home like a bullet; wear your body armor. [11 Mar 2002, p.E2]
  15. Reviewed by: Gail Pennington
    Mar 19, 2013
    100
    The best cop show of any recent season...It's not for everyone, but it is for anyone who still misses "Homicide" and thinks "NYPD Blue" long ago devolved into soap opera. [10 Mar 2002, p.F2]
  16. Reviewed by: Mike McDaniel
    Mar 19, 2013
    100
    The Shield is the kind of cop show you might find on HBO, a superbly written, inventively directed, sharply acted drama that screams authenticity and excellence, and -- like The Sopranos, Six Feet Under and Sex and the City -- makes matter-of-fact use of adult language and nudity. But The Shield is not on HBO. [10 Mar 2002, p.2]
  17. Reviewed by: Caryn James
    Mar 19, 2013
    90
    The Shield does not quite have the depth to make Mackey's actions more than a shock tactic. It doesn't have the moral or artistic complexity of "The Sopranos," the obvious model for a series whose hero does indefensible things. But it echoes reality closely enough to create a chilling resonance and an often gripping show. The Shield is a mix of daring accomplishment, obvious cop-show strategies and orchestrated envelope-pushing, down to its cable-ready reliance on rough language and nudity. But the smooth mix makes the series intriguing, and its energy is relentless even when its freshness lags.
  18. Reviewed by: Scott D. Pierce
    Mar 19, 2013
    90
    However, I can't give The Shield an unqualified recommendation given its placement on a basic cable network. There are scenes that make "NYPD Blue" look tame, including nudity, sex scenes, horrific violence and everything short of the f-word in terms of language. It looks like something you'd expect from HBO or a pay-cable channel that you specifically pay for and expect to include adult content. Not a basic cable channel that's next to Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel. [12 Mar 2002, p.C08]
  19. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Mar 19, 2013
    90
    Gritty, tough, no-holds barred television that feels more real than any other police drama on the air. It makes "NYPD Blue" look like a children's show. [10 Mar 2002, p.TV-5]
  20. Reviewed by: Linda Stasi
    Mar 19, 2013
    88
    Although it's been described by other critics as a cop version of "The Sopranos," I don't see it. The only similarities are the fact that the lead characters are unlikely sex symbols, and on both shows you've got a bad guy with a heart somewhere in there...So why is this still any good? Because Chiklis is so good, because the writing is very good, and the cast has actors other than great-looking Gen Xers who look like they fell out of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.
  21. Reviewed by: Phil Rosenthal
    Mar 19, 2013
    88
    This is a darker "NYPD Blue," "The Job" without the jokes, the LAPD Rampart scandal without, so far, the indictments. Does The Shield need the R-rated language, violence and nudity that FX has allowed it? Probably not. But don't let that scare you off, either. [12 Mar 2002, p.39]
  22. Reviewed by: Terry Kelleher
    Jun 27, 2013
    83
    Scratch the gritty surface of this new police drama and you'll find it's not a totally revolutionary contribution to the genre.
  23. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Mar 19, 2013
    83
    Be forewarned that The Shield easily is the most graphic police series in TV history. That said, it's potentially one of the very best, too. [11 Mar 2002, p.12C]
  24. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Mar 19, 2013
    80
    If you look past the sometimes strained pushing of the basic cable envelope (including a completely gratuitous breast shot), The Shield offers an interesting take on a familiar subject, one that boasts a great supporting turn from CCH Pounder as a smart cop who has seen it all.[12 Mar 2002, p.10D]
  25. Reviewed by: Mark Dawidziak
    Mar 19, 2013
    80
    With a cast led by Michael Chiklis and CCH Pounder, The Shield isn't just pushing boundaries. It's bashing through them like police officers wielding those door-destroying battering rams. The results are often quite arresting... Chiklis and Pounder are terrific. Their co-stars aren't even close to being in their league. [12 Mar 2002, p.e5]
  26. Reviewed by: John Levesque
    Mar 19, 2013
    70
    Choosing to build a series around an antihero is one thing. But making it impossible to root for him doesn't bode well for repeat business. [12 Mar 2012, p.E1]
  27. Reviewed by: David Bianculli
    Mar 19, 2013
    60
    So while the scripts and characters rival those of any network series (and beat most), and directors such as Clark Johnson (who played Lewis on "Homicide: Life on the Street") do them justice, the players surrounding Chiklis and Pounder are a notch or two less intense and effective. [12 Mar 2002, p.83]
  28. Mar 19, 2013
    50
    The Shield gives viewers so much Chiklis, it should be called "The Commish 2." The pilot opens with the unlikely scenario of the portly Chiklis chasing down a teenage drug dealer. It only gets worse...There may be rogue cops out there, but do they really announce to their precinct captains that they can't be controlled? It's hard to watch a show that stars such an unlikable character. [12 Mar 2002, p.41]
User Score
9.3

Universal acclaim- based on 88 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 17
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 17
  3. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Jul 16, 2012
    10
    this is an amazing show...it was my favorite show until breaking bad came out.....for all of the people who love this show, i highly recommend breaking bad. Full Review »
  2. Feb 18, 2012
    9
    The Shield is kinda like 'The Wire' but drunk and carrying a knife or something. It doesn't have anywhere near the depth of the aforementioned, but it fills that lacking with, well..... Vic Mackey. Full Review »
  3. Feb 5, 2012
    10
    Season 1 starts off with a bang and finishes extremely strong in the season finale. The acting is great and the storylines are very interesting. Its definently becoming my favorite show to watch. Full Review »