Police Drama vividly portrays a lower circle of hell for a guilty conscience.
Warning: spoiler alert. If you have not seen the final episode of The Shield , do not read further. The episode contains a major plot twist which is discussed in this Op- Ed
"Corruptio optimi pessima,”
Latin proverb for “corruption of the best is the worst of all.”
It is fiendishly appropriate that the television police drama, The Shield, ended its series in 2008, exactly 700 years since Dante began writing the Inferno. The Shield, possibly more than any other series, demonstrates the most intense hell on earth, forcing its worst characters to kill the people and things they love best.
Exquisitely appropriate punishments are meted out to the guilty, with twisted, but appropriate, justice. There is no escape for the damned, spiraling into lower and deeper cycles of pain.
For seven years The Shield, like the Sopranos, and HBO's “The Wire”, shows evil in all its seductive guises. Of the three series, the Shield was most shocking, even moving its audience to cheer for the central character, Vick Mackey, the macho corrupt police detective at his most murderous and torturing self. Even Mackey's murder of a fellow policeman evoked a morbid fascination. How much could one man get away with?