Vic Mackey killing Terri Crowley in the pilot of The Shield    dead snitch Terry Crowley on The Shield  Benito Martinez as David Aceveda on The Shield    Kenny Johnson as Curtis Lemansky Jay Karnes as Detective Dutch Wagenbach  man rape with Benito Martinez as Capt David Aceveda on The Shield  CCH Pounder as Claudette Wyms on The Shield  Michael Jace as Julien Lowe on The Shield      Ronnie Gardocki on The Shield   Vic Mackey killing brother officer Terry Crowley  Walt Goggins as Shane Vendrell on The Shield Catherine Dent as Danielle Sofer on The Shield


Season 7, Episode 13 "Family Meeting"  

Air date:  11-25-2008

Here's some post-game closing analysis from Shawn Ryan himself.


Holy crap.  They paid off with this series finale in so many different directions that I'll be awhile before my head quits swimming.  One interesting place to look for a central philosophical point is that the only person left holding the bag and heading to prison was precisely the only one who in fact remained faithful to the team.  Discuss amongst yourselves.

Selling out Ronnie in this finale is arguably, at least by Vic's codes, the worst thing he ever did.  He totally and consciously sold out the one person who had been true and faithful down the line.  That's a profound betrayal - far worse than killing the snitch Crowley in the pilot.  After hearing that Corrine was in witness protection - to be protected from him - Vic had the clear opportunity to tip Ronnie and run together, as promised.  But instead Vic very consciously and deliberately traded his one true partner's freedom for his own. 

Once the credits role and you start unspooling it backwards, they didn't even address it, but Vic's probable worst punishment was to come.  Three carefully specified years of mandatory desk duty per his plea agreement - which they made maximum hell of - is a pretty minor time out for all Vic's sins.  Unpleasant, but he's smart enough to discipline himself to sit in his cubicle hell - though who knows what kind of shenanigans he'll be into on the side.  But he's also going to have to show up probably repeatedly to answer questions for some days testifying in open court against Ronnie.  That's not just betraying his one true partner, but having to do so publicly at great length to his face.

Then also though, think past where things were left with Ronnie - but where also they might go.  What exactly do they have on Ronnie?  Nothing but Vic's word - and what's that worth?  Seems like the only specific thing they have him doing was dropping off a bag of money once on Vic's behalf to the ex-wife.  Not sure if Ryan and the writers intended us to understand that Ronnie was going up for life, or what.  But it seems to me as likely as not that Ronnie would get off, or maybe a short sentence over some minimal charge, since there's so little proof.  Also consider the idea of him submitting Shane's suicide note in his defense, where he explains that he and Vic were the criminals. 

There are a lot of interesting choices about exactly where to leave things.  They properly didn't want to overdo the finality of everything.  Basically they resolved the Strike Team story, and accounts are basically shown to be considered closed.  Claudette's story has finality to it.  But other characters just keep on keeping on - and maybe got left with modest signs of progress in life.

With beautiful irony, Dutch gets his best payoff through Billings.  His "bitch dyke" lawyer came to Dutch begging for a little help to avoid Billings absolutely being ruined by the city's countersuit.  Turns out that she was classified a "bitch dyke" on the grounds that she had turned Billings down for a date.  But she insists on giving Dutch her card.  In short, the last note left there was that Dutch's confidence and luck with the ladies was improving.  And Danni was there to see it, and brag him up a bit.

Billings got his carefully wrought Dante justice.  He didn't end up making money on his suit, and barely escaped ruination.  So he gets to finish up his mediocre career for the next fivish years and get his regular pension.  Plus, his last moments were shameful humiliation, going through the Barn pretending that he'd gotten something from the city.  That really does seem just right.

And they left the life goes on theme in a really interesting way professionally for Dutch and Claudette.  The Dressler boy whom Dutch had pegged for a budding serial killer went for victim #2 - his own mother.  Dutch was upset and felt responsible, as the boy had killed her in some kind of possessive jealousy against her briefly expressed (and carefully rejected) advances on Dutch.  That was an interesting escalatin in that storyline, and gave a pretty good payoff with his careful setup to frame Wagenbach.  By the end of episode and series, he hadn't actually confessed or prosecuted.  They didn't have him yet - but Claudette knows good and well that she will.  It leaves just the right amount of continuing life, not summing things up too tidily all around.  This kid was definitely done with his killing spree, but it might take a few days to get the kid talking.  They've got time.

I'll be back with much more extensive commentary after Thanksgiving. I promise.  HINT: The more Shield stuff you buy from Barger's Boutique, the more motivated I'm going to be to dedicate attention to these commentaries.

Season Seven Episode Notes




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