Today’s cuppa: waiting on the new shipment of Mystic Monk Coffee, so rockin’ in the meantime with Newhall Coffee Patriot Blend

A few days ago, I went to the 20th Century Fox lot to join a handful of TV writers and FX executives, along with series creator Shawn Ryan, to see the last two episodes of "The Shield." The extended finale airs Tuesday, Nov. 25.

With luck, it won’t be too long until we get the last-season DVD (so I can pack it off to my distant cousin, an independent contractor in Afghanistan, who got the first five seasons on DVD, along with lots of Halloween candy to share with his compatriots. Enjoy, guys and girls! "The Shield" and sugar shock for all!).

We also had a chance to chat with Ryan and FX chief John Landgraf, and that conversation will appear after the finale airs.

I am sworn to the most excellent and ultimate secrecy as to the fate of rogue LAPD Detective Vic Mackey and the rest of the characters. Just watch me dodge my own hard-hitting questions.

Does Vic Mackey die at the end?


Does he live?


OK, let me put it this way, does he get what he deserves?

Depends on your definition of hell. There could be mixed reactions to the ending. I thought it was pretty sweet.

How about the rest of the crew at the Barn? Like Dutch Wagenbach?

Dutch gets what he wants and more than he bargained for, and he comes through.

Claudette Wyms?

Here, I refer to a pet theory I brought up with Landgraf and Ryan …that  sometimes a series winds up being as much about a minor character as a major one. On "Homicide: Life on the Street," you had the more volatile, high-profile characters of Lt. Frank Pembleton and Capt. Al Giardello, but in a way, it was also the story of Detective Tim Bayliss.

The show pretty much started when he arrived, a fresh-faced newcomer, and ended when he left, a deeply changed, much sadder and much wiser man.

In that same way, "The Shield" is Claudette’s story. She is and has been its moral center, its voice of outrage and honesty, its most deeply human character.

In her quiet way, Claudette is one of the greatest female characters ever in TV drama and certainly one of the greatest cop characters. She’s also one-half of one of TV’s greatest love stories — and fans know what I’m talking about.

Vic’s family?


The uniformed officers?

One celebrates; one feels the tug of the past; one steps up when needed.

The Strike Team? Ronnie Gardocki?


Shane Vendrell?

Ah, Shane. After Claudette, the most human character.

David Aceveda?

Irritating how pesky little things like elections can get in the way Sh_g_0229
of overweening ambition. If the city of Los Angeles would just appoint Aceveda mayor, how much pain could be spared, how many tiresome stump speeches and handshakes avoided? Who might have lived instead of dying? Darn that democracy.

Any last thoughts?

Glad you asked. If someone can be dehumanized, turned into an object for revenge or abuse, turned into a means to an end, turned into an inconvenient obstacle, how easily then can that person be destroyed?

If Vic had truly thought of Terry Crowley as a human being, could50 3 'The Shield': Man's Inhumanity to Man

he have shot him in the face to save his own skin? If Shane had truly thought of Lemansky as human, could he have fragged him to save his own skin?

How easily then could Vic shed his own humanity when it suited his needs to do so? Could Shane ever truly do the same?

Perhaps therein lies the difference between the two men, because to the extent that a person dehumanizes others, he does the same to himself. Do it enough, and Sh_707_0999_2

there’s nothing left. By killing Terry Crowley, Vic set himself on a path that could only lead to him losing his soul.

And once you’ve lost that, can you even feel the loss of anything else?

Which takes me back to my question — does Vic get what he deserves?