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Michael Chiklis on The Shield

Published August 29, 2008 in Television
By Fred Topel | Image property of FX
The Shield The Shield
Vic Mackey has been one of television's most morally ambiguous characters. As The Shield wraps up its final season, it's time to decide how he will pay for all the things he has done, if he has to pay at all. Teasing the final season, Michael Chiklis wouldn't reveal whether Mackey gets what he deserves or not.

Michael Chiklis on The Shield


"That's in the eye of the beholder," he said. "I think that Shawn [Ryan] did a tremendous job in writing this finale. Whether or not you guys see it that way, that's entirely in your hands but I have to say just The Shield as a whole, I feel like it's the longest movie ever made. I look at it as one big movie with the beginning, a middle and an end. What's happened to Vic Mackey I think, the writers have continually been able to do something that I marvel at, which is to come up with twists and turns that happen and when you watch them, they're so surprising and stunning. But then when you look back at it, you go, 'Well, yeah, that makes perfect sense.' And what thrills me about the finale is you will not see this coming. You will not know what we do. That when you look back at you'll go, 'Holy cow, yeah, that's exactly right.'"

It's not just the finale that will surprise people. Chiklis assures fans that the final season starts off with a bang too. "In the first four episodes, they're incredibly dense. I don't think I've ever seen more packed into hour-long episodes than in those, particularly in those first four episodes. They're very, very intricate and very plot heavy. Then because it's the last season, I think that the writers were able to write with a certain almost reckless abandon where they knew that things were spiraling out of control and unwinding and one bomb after another drops that you can't take back. Let's put it that way. That makes for some really dynamic and exciting television that we're all just very proud to be a part of."



Playing Mackey over seven years has been an evolution for Chiklis. The Shield was not a procedural drama where the cop remained constant in every episode.

"Mackey has I think responded to everything that's come before and he's a man who is plagued by regret and the fallout of his actions starting from pretty much day one of the series. All of those actions have led to other actions and created a sort of course that leads him to where it ends up. I will say that the Vic Mackey in this season, at least in the beginning of the season, is certainly not the Vic Mackey in Season One who deals with things the way he did then or Season two or any of them. He's definitely become a guy that understands that there is tremendous consequence, not just for himself, but everyone around him for the decisions that he's made. He's definitely a changed man in a lot of ways but you can't change the spots on a leopard sometimes. He's in the vortex and he's swimming."

Also, this isn't just a bad guy who might worry he's been caught. His actions were always motivated by a belief that the end justified the means. "I also want to say he's also a guy who has his belief system. He's trapped between the conflict of his regrets of what he's done and having no regret for his actions because of his philosophical beliefs. So you can take that for what it is."

The Shield returns Tuesdays on FX, starting Sept. 2.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of FX
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