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More ''The Shield,'' But With a Farewell Timetable

By RD Heldenfels Published: June 5, 2006

Fans of ''The Shield,'' me among them, have feared that the 10 episodes planned for 2007 were going to be the last. But there will be more than that. Although those 10 have been thought of as a continuation of the current season, FX is now treating them as a separate, sixth season. (Forest Whitaker, so good on the show recently, will be back on a limited basis for that sixth season.) And there will be a seventh after that.

I don't really care what they call them -- although the separate-season labels could lead to an extra DVD set being squeezed out of the show -- just as long as the makers of the show are convinced they have more good stories to tell. Here's the official announcement from FX:

FX has set the timetable for the conclusion of its Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning drama The Shield, ordering a seventh season of 13 episodes that will bring the groundbreaking series to a close in late-2007 or early-2008, following the upcoming 10-episode sixth season which begins in early 2007, announced John Landgraf, President and General Manager of FX Networks.

Shawn Ryan, The Shield’s creator, executive producer and writer, will continue in those duties as day-to-day showrunner for the remaining 23 episodes. Production of the 10-episode sixth season began in April and will conclude in July, and production of the series final season will take place in mid-2007. The final two seasons will bring the overall total number of episodes for the series to 88.

"It has been the privilege of everyone at FX to work with Shawn Ryan, Michael Chiklis and their colleagues on The Shield," said Landgraf. "It has always been our intent to have the show exit television as it entered, as one of the best dramas series ever.  We’re thrilled Shawn has come up with a great way to end the series and that it will require one final season for his vision to reach completion.  We look forward, along with fans of the show, to following Vic Mackey on his final ride."

Shawn Ryan said, "The writers and I weren’t quite ready to step away from these characters just yet. We asked FX for an additional 13 episodes to conclude the show properly and, as always, the network graciously let us do what we thought was best for the show."

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