The Shield (2002–2008)
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While Dutch believes it is Vic, and at first we are meant to think so as well, it was actually Claudette!
The exchange between Claudette and Aceveda reveals this. Aceveda suspects it was Claudette, and she tries to brush it off as not really knowing what he was talking about. But as she turns you can see the look on her face trying not to laugh. At the end montage of the episode, we see Claudette arrive at home and she is greeted by a golden retriever. Edit
The Shield can be extremely violent at times. It goes beyond the limits that most TV shows respect. Most of the violence depicted is filmed to look realistic. The Shield pretty much shows everything: murder, rape, torture, police brutallity, in-depth gang and drug related violence and more. The Shield is far worse than shows like CSI for violence, mostly because it shows people (including cops) brutally beating and at times killing people. It also shows the aftermath of rapes, murders and beatings sometimes involving children and the elderly, however most of the time the initial attacks are not shown.
As for language, The Shield contains language that is pretty adult, including many S-words, A-words and others like Damn, Hell and Bitch. The show never says the C-word It also contains many foul sexual terms like cum, fag, jerkoff and several racist slangs.
The Shield can contain graphic sex scenes, but only the rear is shown. It comes VERY close to showing frontal nudity but genitalia is always blocked by an object or obstructed to the viewers eye.
Overall, The Shield isn`t worse than what you'd see on The Sopranos or Dexter but is still fairly graphic.
The show ran from 2002-2008, but the show takes place over a span of three years or so, (as said by Dutch in the final episode.) This is likely because seasons 4, 5, 6 and 7 take place all within a fairly close time slot. (About a year.) Season 5 starts off 6 months after season 4 ends. Season 6 picks up a week or so after Season 5 ended and Season 7 picks up immediately after Season 6 ends.
According to information given in the show the timeline goes something like this:
Co-Pilot >4 months pass >Season 1 > 5 Weeks Pass >Season 2 >1-2 Weeks Pass >Season 3 >6 Months Pass >Season 4 >6 months Pass >Season 5 >1 Week Passes >Season 6/7
There is no actual district anywhere in Los Angeles called Farmington, however many people believe that it is based on South Central which is the gang capital of the world. The Strike-Team is based on Rampart Division's CRASH unit, a corrupt anti-gang unit which, when it existed, had 18 different teams, one for each district.
There are a few different theories as to what district Farmington is based on. It could be South Central, Rampart or it could just be made up as an additional district to avoid further controversy, as the writters knew the show would get if it actually used Rampart. Edit
There has been talk of a spin-off for Dutch and possibly a movie, however given the series ending it would be hard to make a spin-off about Vic without drifting too far from The Shield`s main idea considering Vic technically isn`t a cop anymore. Though it would be interesting to see where he went after the final scene. Edit
That would depend on your point of view. The most frequent antagonists are the criminals and gang members that appear on the show. However the show is very clever on how it perceives each of it's characters on which of them are actually bad. The strike team members, do an excessive amount of heinous acts, although most people are rooting for them. Other police officers, including Aceveda, Claudette, Dutch and Kavenaugh all try and catch the Strike Team members in criminal acts, portraying them as the antagonists. Although for the most part, when not interacting with the Strike Team, these characters are shown to be protagonists.
Even the Strike Team members are shown to be antagonists from time to time. Vic and Shane are both shown to be very dark characters at different points in the show. Especially in season 7. Edit
There are said to be over 50 street gangs in the Farmington district. The main gangs include: The One-Niners, Spookstreet, The Toros, Torukos, Byz-Lats, Los Profetas, K-Town Killers, Los Mags and other street gangs mentioned but not shown. Also there is the Armenian Mafia which plays a big role in the show at times. Except for seasons 4 and 5. Edit
In season 7 it was said that he was being forced out at the end of his 15th year on the force. Nobody really knows whether or not he stuck around to serve his time at ICE so if he did you can say his law enforcement days lasted 18 years, if not, however long he stayed at ICE plus his police days. Edit
Throughout the series Dutch is shown to have a dark side, some things he has done may suggest a mental issue. Here is a list of weird or suspicious things Dutch has done and possible reasons for these actions.
ACTION: He was caught with a computer full of child porn that he claimed was research for a personal investigation on his free time to see if people were luring kids. REASON: Dutch may have been a pedophile but that is unlikely considering he showed a sheer disgust for the rapists and pedophiles that he interrogated. However Dutch always seemed fascinated by the serial killers and rapists that he interrogated, suggesting he may have wanted to experience that thrill himself. But it was actually that Dutch wanted to become famous for bringing down serial killers, therefore he had to learn everything about them including how they choose their victims.
ACTION: After petting a stray cat for a few minutes in his backyard, Dutch began to strangle it after it scratched him. He ended up killing it and throwing it on the ground. (it is obvious that he regretted doing it, the look on his face was filled with remorse. Not to mention he winds up taking a stray kitten home as a way to make up for killing a helpless animal) REASON: He could have just been angry that the cat hurt him so he strangled it out of rage. However earlier that day he interrogated a serial killer that described in eerie detail how he felt while killing his victims and then told a story about choking a puppy when he was a child. Also the killer kept mentioning a "thing" that he felt as he saw their eyes go lifeless. Dutch couldn`t pinpoint what this "thing" was so he killed the cat to find out first hand what it felt like to take a life.
ACTION: After catching a serial killer he`d been chasing for months, Dutch goes into the Barn`s parking lot and sits in his car and cries while listening to a song called "I`m a liar." REASON: During the interrogation, the killer began to psychoanalyze Dutch. In the process he called Dutch a "lowly civil servant" among other hurtful things that could have set him off. Dutch may have been inflicted by the killer`s words because he knew that he was right about Dutch and that he let the killer get the better of him. Also, it was the relief of catching the person he had been after. This case had been Dutch's obsession, it became very personal to him. So when the case was finally solved, he was crying because he was relieved.
NOTE: In the Sons Of Anarchy season 1 dvd commentary, creator Kurt Sutter (Who was a writer on the Shield and who also played Margos Dezerian) stated that his original pitch for Dutch in the final episode of The Shield series would have Dutch come home after long day's work, go down into his basement to reveal a bunch of dead bodies or a torture room or something along those lines. Showing Dutch to be a serial killer. While this idea was quickly scrapped by Shawn Ryan, therefore is not canon; it shows that there was something odd about Dutch that even some of the writers on the show wanted to elaborate on. Edit
This has become a hot debate topic, as Shane clearly is shown to be a racist from time to time. Walton Goggins who plays Shane has stated that's one of the things he hated about his character is that he's racist. There are only three or four occasions where Shane clearly earns the title of being a racist. Being from the south also makes him a bit stereotyped. Some will say the situations call for him to be an "opportunity racist" meaning he is not at heart a racist, but he takes certain situations to either act racist or feel justified in being racist. Such as in season 1, when they detain Derek Tripp, the basketball star, this is a man who got out of the hood, became rich and famous and is considered a role model to kids just like him but was still acting like a wannabe ganster, doing drugs and carrying an unlicensed firearm, not to mention being extremely arrogant. So Shane calls him the "N word" hoping to get a rise out of him and Shane even winds up pulling his gun on him when Tripp keeps mouthing off. (Keep in mind this is also directly after Vic and Shane killed Terry. So Shane was looking for any excuse to wash himself out)
The most evidence points to how Shane treated Tavon when he joins the strike team. Some say Shane treated Tavon like dirt because he was black. Others say it is because Tavon is the new go-to guy because he can bring more to the strike team than Shane as he is black and that can open up more doors for them. Therefore Shane was simply threatened by him and also resented him because every member of the team got the strike-team job because of hard work, whereas Tavon got the job simply because he was black. Then Tavon goes to bury the hatchet with Shane; Some viewers say both of them were at fault for the fight they have, others say Shane was solely at fault. The situation has Shane coming home after a day's work to find Tavon alone in the living room with Mara and Tavon having his hand on Mara's stomach (feeling the baby kicking). To which Tavon goes on to bury the hatchet, Shane agrees, apologizes for his behaviour and they even shake hands. Shane then says "As long as you remember your place, we'll be okay." Some viewers took that to mean that as long as Tavon remembers that Shane is second in command, where as some viewers took that to mean what Tavon thought it to mean as a "back of the bus" reference. So Tavon, now frustrated starts to patronize Shane. Shane then takes the opportunity to insult Tavon by calling him a "darkie". Which provoked Tavon into punching Shane and shoving him against the wall, and a brutal fist fight ensued.
Next, when Shane is confronting Antwon Mitchell in the interrogation cell. Shane says to Antwon "You know, even with all that money, all that respect; at the end of the day? You're still just a ni**er! with a faggot ni**er son! And where's the respect in that?!". Obviously some took this as Shane giving one last insult to Antwon, though most viewers and even the writers have stated that Shane was planning to kill Antwon, so as to seal off the rest of the team from any backlash. But Shane didn't want to simply murder Antwon in cold blood, so he insulted him in the hopes that Antwon would attack him therefore making the shooting self-defense.
On the flip-side of the coin, Shane is shown to be working with Latino or black police officers or citizens through the whole series and never shows any malice towards them, at least relating to the colour of their skin. When Shane transfers to vice he even takes on a Latino partner, whom he gets along great with, and even wants to bring him on to the strike team. Also he even has an affair with a young black girl in season 6, though she was the girlfriend of the street boss for the One-Niners, and Shane was suicidal at this point, so it's likely he was trying to get himself killed by the gang by having sex with her.
Bottom line is; Shane has been shown to be racist, yet there are many things that show the opposite. It's likely he is an opportunity racist or one of these people who has worked in an area where the majority of crimes are committed by black and Latinos so he has become jaded and assumes this is what they're all like. But it is up to the individual viewer to decide. Edit
It's implied that after Shane helped Vic kill Terry Crowley he felt so guilty that he started on a spiral of self-destruction. Shane gets careless with many dangerous things (such as going to visit his girlfriend while their SUV had drugs in it in: Season 1). When Shane meets Mara, things really get out of hand. Shane falls in love with her, and she accepts him for who he is and doesn't care about the criminal acts he commits. However, she causes a few problems for the team, which ultimately leads to Shane choosing her over the team, so it disbands and Shane goes over to Vice. Shane then tries to be like Vic, but isn't smart enough to pull it off. Therefore things spiral out of control and he needs Vic's help to get him out. As Vic describes it, 'Shane was sucked in to a black hole' that Vic felt partially responsible for. Edit
It is almost impossible to tell the exact number of illegal activities Vic and the Strike Team committed because of the number of crimes not shown. Most of the Strike Team activities that take place prior to the beginning of season one are only vaguely alluded to.
Of all the crimes shown on screen, Vic and his team have committed:
Murder and accessory:
- Vic killed Terry Crowley with Shane present.
- Vic beat Guardo Lima severely with a large anchor chain, then shot him in the head.
- Shane and Lem slipped a knife to a man in the Barn`s holding cell to kill another criminal.
- Vic covered up two murders committed by Asst. Chief Gilroy.
- Shane killed Lem with a grenade.
- Vic shot and killed Armenian hitman Margos Dezerian. Staging it to look like self-defense even though Margos had surrendered.
- The team dropped a criminal off in a rival gang neighborhood. (It is implied that he is beaten and killed.)
- Vic and the team tied a mobster to a chair wired with explosives to scare him, however the bomb actually went off when he tipped the chair.
-The team locked two rival gang members in a shipping container and told them to settle their diffferences. Although intending to force them to talk the two men fought and on killed the other.
- Ronnie shot and killed an Armenian hitman that tried to kill Vic's family in cold blood. As the man was wounded and bedridden.
Torture and assault:
- Vic beat a suspect with a phonebook.
- Vic tortured a gang leader by burning his face on a stove.
- Vic allowed a police dog to continue attacking a rapist even after the man was subdued.
- Vic almost drowned a man in oil.
- Vic stabbed a suspect with the pin from a police badge.
- Vic has grabbed and threatened suspects several times that haven`t lead to serious repercussions.
Theft and Robbery:
- Vic and the team robbed the Armenian mafia of $3 million.
- They disguised themselves as gang members and robbed an evidence van to retrieve a hot gun.
- Vic and the team robbed an evidence warehouse.
- Vic and the team have stolen countless items of evidence for their own personal gain.
- Vic and the team confiscated drug money from gangs and kept it for themselves.
- They broke into Aceveda's safe to retrieve the list of serial numbers for the marked money train cash.
- Vic and the team have covered up the worst of crimes which has ultimately led to more corruption and cover ups to protect the original cover up.
- Vic has done favours for gang members, killers, politicians and even police officials in order to get the job done.
- When they learned some of their money train cash had marked bills in it, they took all the marked money and left it for a bottom feeding hustler to come across and take in order for him to get arrested while trying to spend the cash. Unfortunately the Armenian mob also targeted this man and killed him and one other person. The strike team then proceeded to cover the incident up by cremating the hustler's body. So he would remain missing.
- Vic has bribed many gang members and other cops to get ahead in his career or to catch more dangerous criminals.
- Vic made a deal with Rondell Robinson for Robinson to pay Vic and his team a flat rate in order to stay away from his business and to help Rondell keep a monopoly.
- Countless times Vic and the team (Mainly Shane) have gained leverage over people in order to get them to bend to their will.
In season seven Claudette reveals that she was dying from her lupus. She said she would continue coming to work every day until the day she couldn't anymore and just needed Dutch to keep being a good friend. Dutch`s fate is left open, though it is strongly implied that he did catch the young serial killer as Claudette got involved in the investigation knowing that Dutch could not have done this crime, during the last shown conversation Dutch asks the kid why he thinks such a large percentage of serial killers had spent some time in L.A., to which the kid smirks and replies "Well, everybody comes here to get famous.". Which was an obvious sign he was letting his guard down, making it easier for Dutch to get him to confess. In the commentary on the final episode, the creator of the series, Shawn Ryan stated "People complained that you never find out what happens to Dutch. I said 'Do we *really* need to see it? I mean, it's Dutch. You know he's gonna win!'". Edit
Victor 'Vic' Samuel Mackey resigned from the LAPD, made a major bust for I.C.E., he made a deal with them for a three year contract and immunity for confessing to any crimes he committed. But he is stuck behind a desk until his contract is up due to the severity of the crimes he committed and confessed to. (see 'What happens to Vic in the last scene of the series?' for further details.)
Shane Vendrell went on the run with his pregnant wife Mara and their young son Jackson after it was discovered he tried to have Ronnie killed. In the end, he was out of options, and knowing that Mara would be convicted of helping Shane evade the authorities and first degree murder (Mara had shot a bystander by accident when Shane was being attacked), also knowing their children would be put in foster care, Shane poisoned Mara and Jackson and put his revolver in his mouth and shot himself to avoid going to prison and have his family torn apart.
Curtis 'Lem/Lemonhead' Lemanski was caught with heroin that he stole from a drug dealer and was going to be charged with possession and intent to distribute (Although he only took the heroin as leverage over the dealer in case he was lying about the information he gave.). Kavanaugh and Aceveda tricked the team into thinking that Lem was cutting a deal and selling them out. Shane sneaked away from the team, met with Lem and dropped a grenade in Lem's car while he was sitting in it, killing him.
Ronald 'Ronnie' Everett Gardocki stuck with Vic until the bitter end, but because Vic made a deal with I.C.E. and confessed to all their crimes, it directly implicated the only remaining member, Ronnie, and he was arrested.
Tavon Garris got into a brutal fist-fight with Shane at Shane's house. Mara hit Tavon over the head with an iron, causing Tavon to become very disoriented. Tavon leaves the scene and gets in his van and drives away, eventually losing consciousness and going through the windshield of his car, putting him in intensive care with broken bones and severe head trauma. Eventually, he heals up and goes back on the job but was transferred to a different department.
Terry Crowley was originally added onto the Strike Team as the replacement team leader by Aceveda in case Vic didn't work out, but was instead relegated to driving duty by Vic. Terry realized the Strike Team was dirty and agreed to be the informant in a federal case against them. Assistant Chief Gilroy learned that Terry had cut a deal with the feds and told Vic. During a routine raid on a local dealer named two Time, Vic shot Terry once in the face. He had planned it out with Shane to take Terry out during the raid, and shoot him with the dealer's gun to divert suspicion.
Kevin Hiatt was a former INS agent appointed to the team by Claudette as Vic's replacement for when Vic is forced to retire. Eventually Claudette fires Hiatt, she does this under the guise that he failed to disclose a sexual relationship with a co-worker. Though the real reason was because he was too inefficient for the strike team. He proved he wasn't a leader and was too soft on crime.
Julien Lowe was suggested and appointed to the Strike Team after Lem's death when Hiatt arrives. While he got the promotion to Strike Team, he still hadn't made detective. Thus, when the Strike Team finally dissolved as Shane went on the run and Vic resigned, Julien returned to uniformed duty for the Vendrell manhunt, but was promised by Claudette to be bumped back to detective as he had passed the exam.
Armando 'Army' Renta originally partnered up with Shane in vice after the strike team disbanded. Army gets caught in Shane's web of corruption, including being put under Antwon Mitchell's boot. After Vic, Lem and Ronnie help Shane and Army out of their situation, Army unofficially joins the Strike team, but Lem gives him some advice that he should cut bait and transfer out. When it came time to step up and take a lie detector test to show that Shane and Army had nothing to hide about Angie's death and being controlled by Antwon Mitchell. He refused to take the lie detector which angered Captain Rawling and the rest of the strike team saw as a betrayal, they tried to convince him to take the test but Army refused and even revealed he wouldn't dare take a bullet for any of them, so Vic showed him the door. Edit
This was Vic's first chance to come 100% clean about every horrible act he had committed as a Police Officer. Also, he was completely safe from doing so because he was getting immunity for confessing. The baggage one must carry while trying to be both righteous and ruthless would weigh heavy on anyone who deep down, is trying to do good. Vic had to tell the truth for his conscience and his freedom. Had he lied about certain things to exclude Ronnie, so Ronnie could get the same deal a week later; When Ronnie testified and his statements were different from Vic's, ICE would know one or both of them were lying and therefore revoke their immunity. Vic couldn't leave anything to chance and felt he once again had to sacrifice a friend and team mate in order to save himself. Vic always tried to justify it by saying everything he did, he did for his family, even though it became abundantly clear he was doing it for himself. The only thing he probably could have lied about was Terry Crowley's murder, as there was never sufficient evidence to prove that Vic had anything to do with it. The main reason Vic told the 100% truth however, is at that point, Shane was still at large and if captured would give testimony incriminating Vic and Ronnie, therefore even if both Vic and Ronnie got their immunities by lying, Shane's testimony would reveal they were lying. So Vic insulated himself by telling the truth. In addition, Vic did say "Ronnie can wait till next week." he may have held on to a lingering hope that they would stay true to their word and give Ronnie his deal, however unlikely it would have been. Which explains when they told Vic that if he tried to warn Ronnie...Vic's response was less than surprised. Edit
Vic was always about protecting the team and stated that either they all go down or none of them go down. But with Shane on the run, and the increasing pressure that Shane would get caught and implicate Vic and Ronnie in all their crimes Vic tried to put the screws to Olivia to get her to secure immunity for both Ronnie and himself. However, ICE would only give Vic his deal and promised Ronnie would get his in a week. Vic refused this saying that it was immunity for Ronnie and him or they wouldn't bust Beltran. Vic truly meant this statement until he witnessed Corrine being arrested by police for aiding and abetting known fugitives (Shane and Mara). Unknown to Vic, Corrine was working with the police to help bring Shane and Mara into custody and help the police arrest Vic on aiding and abetting. So, Vic panicked and went immediately to Olivia to get his immunity deal and strike a deal to get immunity for Corrine as well. But the catch was he had to confess to everything he and the strike team had ever done. But after confessing to everything, it so enraged Olivia and her boss, they revoked Ronnie's deal and told Vic that if he warned Ronnie or helped him flee, they would revoke Vic's deal as well.
In a sad twist of irony, after Vic sacrificed Ronnie in order to save Corrine and himself; Shane and Mara had died, therefore they wouldn't be implicating Ronnie or Vic in anything, and Corrine took the children into witness protection so Vic lost his family. So he did it for nothing. Edit
Surprisingly, the answer is probably not. First of all, for their own safety former police officers imprisoned are placed in protective custody or a special unit in the prison. In season 5 they stated that "protective custody is a joke" when they feared Lem would be going to Lompoc. However, Ronnie would not likely go to Lompoc as Kavenaugh only arranged for Lem to go there in order to scare him in to confessing. Also, Ronnie being one of the smartest members of the team would instruct his lawyer to try and get either a prison with no one-niner power base or simply not Lompoc.
The other reasons are that Antwone Mitchell wouldn't murder Ronnie is the fact that Antwone only wanted to hurt Vic and Shane by killing Lem. Lem was killed anyways so while Antwone didn't have a hand in it, he still got his satisfaction as was seen when Vic confronted Antwone in prison accusing him of killing Lem. Antwone says "..and that ladies and gentlemen is my encore." meaning that he was through dealing with Vic and putting it behind him as Lem was killed and Vic was obviously hurting. Also, Antwone would have gotten satisfaction when he learned that Shane had killed himself. Last but not least, it isn't really made clear that Antwone even knew Ronnie as a member if Vic's team. Even if Antwone did know who he was and was sent to a prison with one-niners, Vic is the one who got Ronnie sent to jail. So Antwone would probably figure that there would be no gain from killing Ronnie as he clearly isn't a friend of Vic's anymore. Edit
Unlikely. Most of what they had on Ronnie was Vic's confession. Without other evidence, they would have a hard time sending him to jail for anything other than aiding Shane by delivering the money for Vic. The authorities would also likely reach some sort of agreement with Ronnie, to keep a lot of the corruption out of the press, because they wouldn't want the Barn's convictions to be overturned. Edit
Dutch is obsessed with capturing serial killers. When Dutch captures the "Cuddler Rapist", the killer asks for Dutch's help to figure out why he does the things he does. The Cuddler then goes on to explain when he was a child, he found a puppy and his father made him go drown it. But he didn't feel he had to, so he was petting it, then found himself strangling it. When he described the feeling he got from strangling the puppy, and the victims he killed, Dutch couldn't understand what it was that the killer felt. Dutch, frustrated by his need to understand serial killers, found a stray cat outside his house and strangled it to death while looking in its eyes hoping to gain some insight in to what the killers feel.
The look on Dutch's face shows that he clearly felt remorse for doing it and a few episodes later even adopts a kitten as a way to make up for it. In season 4, while talking to a suspected serial killer, describes in eerie detail what it is like to strangle someone. This is likely the knowledge he gained. Edit
Early in season 3, Aceveda was held at gunpoint and forced to give oral sex to one male gang member. Any sort of rape victim is usually psychologically damaged in some way, but Aceveda, being a trained police Captain who is used to being in a position of power, felt devastatingly emasculated. As the season progresses, he starts to lose control of his temper, his marriage, and The Barn. When he tells his wife, she didn't act very supportive, emasculating him even more. Eventually, he takes back control of his life by dealing with the gang members who assaulted him. As he starts to piece together his life, a young attractive ADA hits on him. Thus helping to rebuild his masculinity.
The writers have been recorded as saying (in the Breaking Episode 315 featurette) that when Claudette mouths off to Aceveda in front of the ADA, she gives him a look like "Oh, guess you're not so powerful." once again shattering his ego and causing him to regress. At the end of the season, Aceveda picks up a hooker. Then changes his mind about doing anything and flashes his badge and tells her to get lost.
In season 4, he meets a high-class escort, who allows him to act out his aggressions and impulses to help him regain some form of self-confidence. Which is why his behaviour seems so disturbing. He pretends to treat her the way he was treated. Edit
Three episodes, two of the second season (2.02 & 2.03) and one of the third season (3.05), had to be censored in order to receive a BBFC 15 rating even though the first episode of season one was rated BBFC 18. Also cut episode 5.11 and release of 7.14 Family Meeting Part II that was for UK region release. Edit
Vic Mackey is now free and clear of everything. But he has been stuck behind a desk and has lost all his friends and his family. He is sitting at his desk, on the verge of tears until he hears police sirens outside. He then takes his handgun out of the lock box, looks at it for a few seconds then smirks. He stands up, placing the gun in the back of his pants, puts his jacket on and leaves the office. Then the show ends.
Theory One given Vic's nature, knowing he has a penchant for disobeying orders, he probably decided he wasn't going to be bound to the desk and he would go out and catch criminals on his own time. As he was still an ICE officer, he would have the authority to do so. Making himself invaluable to ICE, they would have no choice but to renew his contract after three years.
Theory Two he felt such immense guilt for what he did to Ronnie, in the end after he sacrificed Ronnie to the police to save himself, he was ultimately left with nothing. Therefore he decided to break Ronnie out of jail and help Ronnie flee into Mexico and perhaps join him, as this would void his contract with ICE and his immunity would have been revoked. Another tie-in theory to this is that Vic may have gone out and busted some big-time gang members/drug dealers under the guise of his I.C.E. authority. Then made a deal with them to break Ronnie out of prison for Vic. That way should they succeed or fail, there would be nothing to tie Vic to the crime as he would likely establish an alibi for himself. Thus keeping Vic's immunity intact.
Theory Three while looking at his gun, he was contemplating suicide. Then decided to leave the building and kill himself. This is unlikely, as Vic is a very strong-willed person and never gives up fighting. He isn't the sort to kill himself under any circumstances. Also he probably wouldn't bother to leave the building to do this, he would have just sat back in his chair and blown his head off. Not to mention he didn't leave a note.
Theory Four Vic could have decided to go vigilante and execute criminals in a "Punisher Style". This is unlikely because Vic is a very intelligent man and would know that eventually he would be caught or killed if he took that road. Considering his whole motivation was to stay out of jail, making this even less likely. Not to mention, Vic only killed as a last resort, never simply because they deserved it.
Theory Five After looking at the picture of him and Lem, Vic may have realized that he was all alone so he decided to go find his family at any cost. The finale shows some major similarities to the end of the first season. He sits in his kitchen after learning his family has left him, he breaks down and after several minutes, collects himself. Then he grabs his gun, puts on his jacket and leaves. We are left wondering where he is going. The next season, we assume he went immediately to try and find his family.
Theory Six Vic simply went home, finally defeated.
Note: In a post-finale interview with Alan Sepinwall, series creator Shawn Ryan revealed his own thoughts on what becomes of Vic Mackey:
Do you view what happens to Vic as a fate worse than death?
As a shark and a survivor, no, I think as long as a shark's alive it can find some place to swim to, I think this is a bad situation for him, and I don't think he's gonna enjoy those three years. The tank's very tiny at the moment.
The series ends with Vic alive and relatively free, and while you strongly hint at what's to come for Claudette and Dutch and some of the others, could you ever see yourself revisiting this world in some form a few years down the road?
Possibly. I might be interested in where Vic Mackey is when that three years with ICE is up. Edit
Vic was responsible for the majority of their crimes, as he was the team leader and the rest followed his plans. For the most part, Vic tried to be righteous in his actions, but also acted selfish too. He felt that his arrest record deserved more than a pat on the back and a measly Government paycheck, therefore he took what he felt was owed to him and his team however much of what he did for himself spiraled out of control leading to many people getting hurt. As he never knew when to say no to an opportunity to make money and would always bring his team in on it.
Shane was probably the most corrupt from a moral standpoint. He tried to be like Vic but he wasn't smart enough, which usually led to Vic and the rest of the team having to clean up the mess. Also, after the Strike Team broke apart in season 3, Shane was usually for sale to gangsters and criminals. For example, in season 4 Shane started extorting a ruthless gang leader named Antwone Mitchell. But Shane offended Antwone so much that Antwone decided to subdue Shane and his partner Army, and kill a 14 year old girl with their police issue sidearms. Therefore making it look like they had killed the girl, thus gaining leverage over Shane and forcing Shane and Army to be his errand boys including Shane being told to murder Vic to slow down the investigation into the gang. In season 6, Shane had gone to the Armenian mob for help after killing Lem. Shane eventually gave up the Strike Team's involvment in the Money Train robbery and the Armenian's forced him to repay the debt owed by the team by taking down the mob faction's rivals.
Curtis Lemansky was the conscience of the team and without a doubt the least corrupt. While he certainly was no saint, he would always try and reason with the other team members and convince them not to do something illegal. Usually the team would not be convinced and Lem would go along with them for the sake of being part of the team. Although Lem would be for doing something illegal if it was for the greater good.
Ronnie Gardocki was a background character for the first two seasons of the show, but as the series progressed he became a more significant role. He was very loyal to Vic and in most respects very similar to him. At first Vic lead, and Ronnie followed. But after the strike team disbanded Ronnie and Vic remained partners and instead of leading/following Vic considered him more of an equal. Ronnie would still follow Vic's lead many times but at times Ronnie would offer advice that Vic would follow.
Terry Crowley portrayed as an honest cop. However, when watching the show it becomes obvious that he was only going to testify against Vic and the Strike Team because he wanted to be relocated to Washington for a higher paying job. So whether he saw the strike team as an opportunity to advance his career or simply felt he deserved fair compensation for jeopardizing his safety and betraying fellow officers is left to the viewer to decide.
Kevin Hiatt replacement team-leader for Vic. He was willing to cut corners, but was basically an honest cop who also allowed himself to be led around by Vic proving himself in-efficient for the job.
Tavon it was implied that he was of the same frame-of-mind as the rest of the team, as in not always strictly by the book, however the team couldn't trust him with certain deeds they had done, so they kept him out of the loop and he wasn't on the team long enough to be shown to do anything too immoral.
Julian a truly honest, by-the-book cop who strayed once or twice but never went down the path that the other team members had. He was appointed to the strike team by Claudette for the simple reason of making it more difficult for Vic, Shane and Ronnie to do their dirty deeds. Because Claudette knew that Julian wouldn't go along with them and would report anything they did.
Army shown to be somewhat of a rookie cop, he followed Shane's lead no matter how deep it took them. The deeper they got, Army would begin to question Shane but Army would immediately bow to Shane's first response. Over-all he isn't shown to be doing anything too immoral, but his blindly following Shane makes him no better if not worse for supporting Shane's reckless behavior. Edit