Best Series Finale? The Shield. And It’s Not Even Close


In television, there are fewer things more difficult than closing out a series, especially a good one. Making matters worse is sometimes the series goes on for too long. As a result, the show is already bad and now you’re just holding on to get it over with.

Dexter is a perfect example of that. The show’s first four seasons were some of the best television around with shocking twists, amazing characters and a terrific story line. However it started to go downhill and by the final season had become laughably bad with the absurd plot contrivances. The finale was a complete joke.

Seinfeld, one of the greatest comedies of all time faltered in their final season, and while the finale was ambitious, it totally when against the culture of it being a “show about nothing.” The finale tried to be something and it just didn’t work.

Then there is the series that’s great for the most part, having some ups and downs along the way. The Sopranos was that series. If you know me, you know the rage that I feel when I think about that cop-out horseshit ending David Chase served upon fans. It was lazy and tedious. He couldn’t figure out how to wrap things up and decided to go for something “mysterious” and instead wound up with lame.

Breaking Bad stands out as one of the better ones. While the ending was satisfying (and BB is one of my top 5 series of all time), audiences kind of new what was coming. Walt was dying. It was merely a matter of how he died that was the mystery. Would it be the cancer or would it be him dying as a result of being a drug dealer? Still, the writers gave fans a satisfying ending to an excellent series and was one of the few shows to go out on top in that it didn’t overstay its welcome.

There are plenty of other shows that can be listed. Many shows don’t even get a chance to make it to a series finale, being cancelled before that even has a chance to happen. Sometimes that is probably for the best.

In my view, there is one series that stands above all others (that I have seen) when it comes to wrapping up a series and that is ‘The Shield.’ Michael Chiklis was known to people from the show ‘The Commish’ where he played a mild mannered police commissioner in a small upstate New York town. In ‘The Shield’, Chiklis plays Vic Mackey, a hard nose detective with the ‘Strike Team’ who often breaks the law to his own benefit, including the murder of a fellow police officer.

Mackey is one of the best characters from television. As a viewer, you’d find yourself cheering on one moment and shaking your head at what a dirtbag he could be in the next. By the time the series was winding down, there were only three options that were available:

1. He was going to die. 

2. He was going to get busted. 

3. He was going to get away with it. 

Options 1 and 2 were obvious ways out. Option 3 seemed too far fetched. Considering everything Vic had done and knowing two members of his original team were dead and he turned on the last one, it would just be too much for him to get away again.

So while the choices were simple, it wasn’t easy to be able to make it compelling.

Creator and head writer Shawn Ryan did just that and more. The ending was freaking brilliant. Mackey didn’t die which would have been the easiest way to end things.

So, did he get busted? Sort of. Did he get away with it? Sort of.

For a person like Mackey, the punishment he received was far worse than anything he could have imagined despite the fact that he did get away with it. 

Confused? I’m trying not to spell out the ending. Those of you who have seen it, know what I am talking about. If you’re still intrigued enough to watch and you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber, all seven seasons are available to binge watch right now.

You won’t be disappointed.