Got a minute? The Shield creator Shawn Ryan opens up about the final season of the gritty cop drama (out on DVD this Tuesday, June 9), working with the original bunny-boiler, and why he'll never call a family meeting again.
Q: You made The Shield's central character, Vic Mackey, a sympathetic monster. Kind of Sopranos-esque, no?
A: It's something that we worked our way into and really discovered with the casting of Michael Chiklis in the role. One difference between Vic Mackey and Tony Soprano is that Tony Soprano was a mobster, a bad guy. Our guy was a cop, and so the expectation is a police officer is going to do the right thing. So I think one of the fun things for us to play was the gray area with a character that's supposed to be good, whereas I think The Sopranos played the gray area with a character who's supposed to be bad.
Q: Speaking of Michael Chiklis, what's it like to work with The Commish?
A: I have to admit that I never watched much of The Commish, and Michael's probably lucky that I didn't, because if I had I may have had a harder time viewing him as Michael Chiklis. Instead, when he came in I just viewed the guy on his audition and didn't carry a lot of baggage.
Q: When you started working on the show did you envision Glenn Close having a role?
A: No. When I started the show I didn't envision anything beyond that first season. It's not something I would have done in the first couple seasons because it was important to set up the world of the show, but once that was set it allowed me to bring in the Anthony Andersons, the Glenn Closes, the Forest Whitakers in a way I felt integrated them well.
Q: After naming the series finale "Family Meeting," in reference to a murder-suicide, do you think you will call a family meeting again?
A: Not using those terms probably—family gathering might be the phrase I'd use for that. I've been able to take a lot of the dark twisted stuff that we've chosen to write for the show and keep it very far away from my personal life. The show is much darker than I am as a person. I can separate it.
The Shield, Season 7