12/27/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

"The Shield" Finishes Up

During the past year two of the greatest crime dramas ever on television have come to an end: "The Wire" left us in March, and "The Shield" on Tuesday in a cut deep enough to leave us bleeding for quite a while, no matter how tight the tourniquet.

In its seven seasons on FX, "The Shield" has shown what child's play all those other vigilante narratives have been. Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis), who leads the police strike team in the grisliest sectors of East Los Angeles, jury-rigged the rules so aggressively, and so often based on nothing more than his own self-interest, that he left the Jack Bauers and Dirty Harrys to seem like hospital gift shop volunteers.

Mackey has always been sketched many shades darker than his analogues in lone justice, but earlier on that seemed easier to dismiss.

Read more on New York Times