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'"The Shield,'' Other Viewing

By RD Heldenfels Published: March 21, 2006

I've had the viewing blahs the last couple of days. I'm ahead of the game with ''The Sopranos,'' so I had already had the pleasure of seeing Sunday's episode. (And if you haven't seen it yet, please do so.) And I've already complained here about ''The West Wing'' and ''Prison Break.''

''Grey's Anatomy'' was only all right. OK, so I choked up when the Chief's AA sponsor made it through surgery. But I don't know that I would put it among my favorite episodes; O'Malley should have gotten on with his new possible romance before this, and if they're sending Alex out the door -- which felt even more likely based on this episode and the trailer for next week -- then let's just get on with it. Last night, neither ''How I Met Your Mother'' nor ''Two and a Half Men'' was especially good, either.

So why do I feel good about TV tonight? Well, there is the season finale of ''The Shield.''

As I said in a previous post, I was somewhat disappointed by tonight's show because it did not seem to be on as high a level as recent episodes. Forest Whitaker has been a stunning addition to the show, and his relentlessness has created a more electric atmosphere for everyone else. Still, tonight takes us to a point that has seemed ever more inevitable as the show has gone along. With the noose closing around Vic and his guys, they have gotten back to a place like the one where the show started, one that asks them if their real goal is doing good or simply surviving.

In answering that question, the show plays absolutely fair with the story it has told. The result may sadden and disappoint some viewers. Still, it is the only place the show could go -- unless it wanted to end tonight.

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