The Shield: Season 6, Episode 2

Baptism by Fire (10 Apr. 2007)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Thriller
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 553 users  
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Detectives discover the evidence Kavanaugh planted to make Vic look guilty for Lem's death, but Dutch begins to suspect that everything is too convenient. Meanwhile, Vic tries to find the Salvadoran leader Guardo, who escaped to Mexico.

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Title: Baptism by Fire (10 Apr 2007)

Baptism by Fire (10 Apr 2007) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Officer Tina Hanlon (as Paula Garces)
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Nydia Hernandez
Al Israel ...
Jupo Nunez
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Detectives discover the evidence Kavanaugh planted to make Vic look guilty for Lem's death, but Dutch begins to suspect that everything is too convenient. Meanwhile, Vic tries to find the Salvadoran leader Guardo, who escaped to Mexico.

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Crime | Drama | Thriller

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10 April 2007 (USA)  »

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Written and Performed by Vivian Romero, Ness Bautista, and Rodney Alejandro
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User Reviews

Season 5: (minor spoilers): Very enjoyable thanks to a strong main thread featuring a tremendous performance from Whitaker
25 October 2006 | by See all my reviews

With Rawling's regime brought to an abrupt end things have gone backwards at the barn. Funding has been cut back and weak-willed, yes-man Billings has been installed as the new Captain. Morale is low and crime is still at typically high levels. The strike team are still together and enjoying a comparatively free-arm thanks to Billings letting them do whatever they need to do to get results. However, while they get back to doing their thing in their own way, a new threat emerges in the form of IAD Kavanaugh, who has Lemansky on a major drugs felony and is determined to use him and any other methods necessary to take down Vic and the rest of his team.

Although I enjoyed seasons 3 and 4, I must admit that the whole money train thing was a narrative stretch that took the series away from the grit and tough edge that had originally attracted me to it. So season 5 saw us move back to the territory that the stronger seasons have occupied by having the day-to-day business of cracking street crime framed by a drive to take down Vic on corruption charges. In this regard the season is very strong and perhaps the best for several years as it produced genuine tension, drama and competition. Sadly this is not consistently the case and areas outside of the main story tended to be a little lacking as they were overpowered. The Billings thread was enjoyable but the stuff with Tina isn't that well done and seems to just be filler. Likewise, although Wyms and Dutch produce engaging threads each episode, they are overshadowed by the main thread.

The credit for all of this belongs with the writers of course but their words would not have been so impacting if it weren't for a tremendous performance from Whitaker. Chiklis has spent four seasons dominating the cast and it is fun to watch him being stood up to with such force. Whitaker is wonderfully smooth, creepy, manipulative and he times his performance brilliantly, slipping gradually into anger and desperation. I may seem like I am overdoing it but he was spot-on and the only downside is that anything that isn't directly involving him doesn't reach the same heights. If there is one major weakness of the season then it is the continuing problem of the series losing the moral complexity that it first had and becoming more of a story. It was a strength of the first series that we were challenged to decide whether Mackey was a hero or a villain and it did this well. By season 5 I think I had just accepted that he was a tough cop and the writers seemed to have done the same and I didn't find the challenges that would have strengthened the material.

That said, the central thread is easily strong enough to carry the season by itself and fans will yet again be gripped by Vic up against a very strong adversary. Chiklis is as strong as we have come to expect and he is enjoyable and reacts well to the presence of Whitaker. Goggins provides good support and Johnson steps up giving an impressive return for the material. Snell is still the weakest of the group but then that is only because of the material given him. Martinez is sidelined but still performs well, Karnes does his thing well but hopefully season 6 will give him more to do. Pounder and Jace continue to be interesting but Garcés isn't helped to be more than just pretty. The rest of the cast are solid enough but the whole show is Whitaker and he dominates it from his first appearance right down to the bullfight in the final episode.

Overall a very strong season in a good series. There are weaknesses of course but when the main story is on screen then it is hard not to be gripped by it. Whitaker dominates the acting stakes and works really well with Chiklis but the downside is that it is never as good as that when others threads are brought in. Fans will love it and it is better than the last few seasons.


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