The crime drama has experienced many changes since the days of 'Dickson of Dock Green' in the UK and 'Dick Tracy' in the USA. The natural progression within the crime drama genre saw them showing police procedurals, the audience not only saw the crime and the capture of the criminal but for the first time, the whole crime solving system was opened up for the audience to see, forensics and legal bureaucracy where present within the dramas. This in turn evolved into crime dramas that focused solely on these other elements that were previously unseen. Shows such as ‘Quincy M.E', 'Law and Order' and 'CSI' showed audiences and T.V executives the potential scope of the crime dram genre. This new style become outdated and needed a new direction for a new audience. Mike Chopra-Grant discuss' this idea in his article 'The Law of the Father, the Law of the Land: Power, Gender and Race in The Shield' (2007)
John Sumser argues that by the mid-1990s a profound change had taken place within the genre. According to Sumser earlier shows had employed a version of the mythology of the frontier, with the cop positioned as the ‘‘moral boundary of society ’’ and the private detective as the person whose actions might extend ‘‘ past the moral boundaries in order to bring a bit of personal justice to the frontier. ’’
The Shields cinematography provides a drama-documentary feel to the show; this effect provides a sense of realism, when paired with the careful creation of realistic characters, the show becomes a platform for examining cultural anxieties. The show’s themes all become intertwined with Gang culture and drugs having an obvious link and racial stereotypes providing a link to both of these themes. The show also carefully examines police corruption and brutality. The show is loosely based upon the ‘Rampant’ police scandal. Rampant as it is more commonly known occurred in the late nineties, where a large number of the Los Angeles police department’s anti-gang unit where implicated for corruption and misconduct, around eighty officers were charged in relation with the scandal.
The American Journal of Public Health comment in their article (Television Advertising and Drug Use -1976) how in 1973 the Roper survey’s findings revealed that television is considered by Americans to be the most believable of all mass media. The shows detailed examination of cultural anxieties caused by drug culture provides a deep impact in the opening to the pilot episode. The opening scenes shows head of the task unit Vic Mackay (Michael Chilli) and his team, chasing a perpetrator, the chase is sets place in front of a very public arena, an offering to the public to show them that they will tackle the drug situation at all cost. Once Mackay has caught the perpetrator he publically humiliates him, another showing to the public that they are tackling the districts drug problem. The various ways of dealing with drug crime in an area such as Farmington, which is easily...