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Published: Thursday, 7/17/2008

Shield finale to stay true to its spirit

BY ROB OWEN
BLOCK NEWS ALLIANCE
Michael Chiklis, left, who plays Vic Mackey on The Shield, says the writers have put some twists and turns into the final season, but it makes perfect sense.
Michael Chiklis, left, who plays Vic Mackey on The Shield, says the writers have put some twists and turns into the final season, but it makes perfect sense.
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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - FX president John Landgraf reminded TV critics that it was seven years ago this month that the network ordered the first season of The Shield.

Now the series is preparing to bow out as its final season premieres Sept. 2.

Series creator Shawn Ryan said he s paid attention to how other series have ended in recent years and promises a conclusion that s true to the spirit of The Shield.

CCH Pounder, who plays Claudette Wyms, was more effusive: I think it s the greatest finale you will see anywhere, hands down. It will knock your socks off. I m not a fan of watching The Shield ; I m a cringy person and a bit of a chicken even though my role is so huge and un-chicken-like. This finale is what Vic Mackey deserves.

Hmmm, was that a spoiler?

Star Michael Chiklis said whether Mackey gets his comeuppance is in the eye of the beholder.

The writers have been able to continually do something I marvel at, Chiklis said. They come up with twists and turns that, when they happen are so surprising and stunning, and when you look back at it, you go, that makes perfect sense. [With the finale], you will not see this coming, yet when you look back at it, you ll go, Holy cow.

That s exactly right.

But it s not just The Shield that has made FX the most critically acclaimed basic cable network. Damages will return for its second season in January, continuing the story of corporate lawyer Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) and her protege, Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne).

In season two, Ellen cooperates with federal agents investigating Patty while getting counseling for what she experienced in the first season. In group therapy she meets a new character played by Timothy Olyphant ( Deadwood ).

Also new to the show is actor William Hurt, whose character has a past with Patty and needs her help again. Marcia Gay Harden joins the cast as another corporate attorney. Ted Danson will return as Arthur Frobisher.

He s not terribly healthy at the moment, but he did survive, Landgraf said.

Close said Patty is more tentative as season two begins.

What she went through was highly traumatic and made her lose control to the extent that she put out a hit on Ellen, she said. She still has a lot of very unresolved issues going on that I think take more energy to cover up than before.

Byrne said Rose is extremely broken but more of a warrior than she was in season one.

She has no vulnerability because that vulnerability got her in trouble, Byrne said. She s made of steel a little more.

Landgraf said a decision about renewing The Riches has not been made.

It s always a question of, do you hold onto the past or spring toward the future? he said. We just haven t made a decision yet on the future.

He announced that Nip/Tuck, which begins a new season in January, will come to an end in 2011. Denis Leary s Rescue Me will return for a new season next spring with Michael J. Fox guest-starring in four episodes as a wheelchair-bound boyfriend for Tommy s ex, Janet (Andrea Roth). Sons of Anarchy, a promising drama about a motorcycle gang from one of the producers of The Shield, debuts Sept. 3.

It s Always Sunny in Philadelphia will continue to roll out new episodes through at least 2011, with a new season premiering Sept. 18. Testees, a new comedy about two thirtysomething guys who earn a living as medical test subjects, premieres Oct. 9.

Entertainment Weekly reports that CSI: Crime Scene Investigation star William Petersen, who stars as lead investigator Gus Grissom, will bow out of the series midway through the upcoming season. But Petersen will return for occasional episodes and will retain his executive producer credit on the show.

The EW report also revealed that Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox) will be back for multiple episodes this fall to help ease Grissom out the door. To take Grissom s place, the show is looking to add a high-profile older star to play a professor with a background in pathology who will first turn up in a two-part episode, assisting Grissom on a case.

Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly was asked oh-so-delicately if he is satisfied with the content of The Moment of Truth, the slimy lie detector game show that has a tendency to destroy the relationships of some of the not-smart-enough-to-avoid-it participants.

I ll just say this about The Moment of Truth : This is Fox. I think one of the things I love about Fox is we never give up our DNA.

Reilly said he intends to continue to make quality scripted shows, but the network is also free to attempt, uh, less ambitious programming.

Fox is free to do those kind of things, and we re going to do them, he said. So no excuses for it.

Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, said there are no immediate plans for a second Simpsons movie, but, he added, We ll get to it, I m sure, eventually. The premiere of CBS s Flashpoint was No. 1 in its time slot Friday, drawing more than 8 million viewers.

The Block News Alliance consists of The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rob Owen, the TV editor for the Post-Gazette, is attending the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Los Angeles.

Contact him at: rowen@post-gazette.com



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