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Characters: The Shield
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     Strike Team 

Victor "Vic" Mackey

"Good cop and bad cop left for the day, I'm a different kinda cop."
Played By: Michael Chiklis

The main character and leader of the Strike Team. Certainly not your typical television protagonist, as the character shot and killed a fellow police detective in the pilot episode of the series, without any remorse or regret. Despite this (and more), Vic attempts to do right by his family, the officers under his command, and the people in the community he is sworn to protect.

  • The Ace: Especially in season 1 and 5 when the captains had a lot less power. Often gave speeches where people supported him, some refused to believe he was stealing drugs, Danny telling Julien he was mistaken in season 1, tough guy, friends with Gilroy, and often getting laid.
  • Anti-Hero: An unscrupulous example in the first 4 seasons given that he's a Dirty Cop who is nonetheless genuinely committed to ridding Farmington of bloodthirsty drug lords, pedophiles, and serial killers (albeit while lining his own pockets and regularly breaking the law himself). However, as the series progresses, he increasingly prioritizes his own livelihood and desires at the expense of those around him thereby becoming a nominal hero if not a full-blown Villain Protagonist.
  • Badass
  • Bald of Awesome
  • Berserk Button: Hurting children and those closest to him, let alone any form of betrayal (as Terry found out), will cause you to suffer the full force of Vic's wrath.
  • The Chessmaster
  • Control Freak
  • Cool Shades
  • The Corrupter: He's the one who draws the other Strike Team members into the cesspool of crime, and also the one who convinces Aceveda to take most of his really immoral actions during the course of the show.
  • Cowboy Cop: Deconstructed. He begins as a somewhat well-intentioned dirty cop taking something extra for going the extra mile in his job and is acknowledged as a necessary evil at the precinct. As the series progresses, he grows more and more corrupt and amoral, to the point that he becomes a liability for the police force and he starts making so many deals with crooks he can no longer do his job.
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Dirty Cop: "And how!" doesn't even begin to cover it.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Loves his kids, does all he can to get them the money they need for his two autistic ones.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: During seasons one and two, he demands a "no selling drugs to children" pledge from the drug dealers who he's in bed with.
    • Played straight with his attitude towards child molesters.
    • At the end of Season 1, he is absolutely aghast that Gilroy deliberately endangered innocent civilians to make a buck.
    • Subverted towards the end when he is completely willing to murder Shane's pregnant wife and shows no remorse upon hearing that Shane murdered his son as a result of Vic's sadistic threats.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He actually seems surprised that Olivia is no longer willing to work with him or let him operate on the street after he confesses his crimes to her.
  • Evil Is Petty: Theft, drug dealing, lying and murder are a day's work. Being a complete jerk to Dutch? That's just for his amusement.
  • A Father to His Men: Deconstructed. Vic is fiercely protective of his team, but at the cost of total subordination. Him playing leader also makes them desperately fight for his approval, which is essentially what kicks off much of the series' drama.
    • Subverted in the Grand Finale: Vic may like his men, but ultimately, if he has to sacrifice them to save himself, he will.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He often pretends to be likable and friendly in order to win over people, even those who already know he's dirty. The only one seemingly immune is Dutch.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Choleric
  • Friendly Rivalry: Zig-zagged with Dutch. They are outright hostile to each other at the beginning of the series, but they later develop into this after Dutch shows absurdly big balls while cracking a serial killer and even finds the guts to punch Vic. However, they return to hostilities after Dutch begins to snoop around his corruption case and begins a relationship with his ex-wife.
  • Genius Bruiser
  • Guns Akimbo: Once or twice he's gone in a bust carrying two guns.
  • Ironic Hell: His final fate.
  • It's All About Me: Initially had this a bit. By the end, it has mutated to the point he doesn't give a damn about anyone but himself. Even his family just seem to be a way of him keeping control over his life.
  • Jerkass: Aside from being a Dirty Cop, he also displays a highly pronounced sadistic streak and relentlessly bullies officers such as Dutch Wagenbach for his own amusement.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: During Kavanaugh's investigation and directly after it, due to Lem's death.
  • Karma Houdini: Played with, but ultimately subverted. He gets away with his crimes, but loses his family, his friends, and his reputation and — perhaps worst of all for a Control Freak and Attention Whore like him — gets exiled to a desk job with no action, authority, or fame.
  • Kavorka Man
  • Killer Cop
  • Manipulative Bastard
  • Meaningful Name: Mackey as in Machiavelli.
  • Moral Myopia: He can't stand his team or family being hurt, but is perfectly willing to manipulate, brutalize, or outright murder anyone if it suits his needs. He also can't stand any form of betrayal but is happy to betray anyone to suit his own needs.
  • Not Me This Time: He really didn't have anything to do with Armadillo's murder, but Danny blames him for it anyway.
  • Real-Life Relative: Cassidy, Vic's daughter, is played by Michael's real life daughter.
  • Really Gets Around
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: In Season 1, he uses the protection given to him by Gilroy to openly flout Acevada's authority.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: His standard M.O.
  • The Sociopath
  • Sociopathic Hero: Debatably.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: To his entire team, especially Shane.
  • Villain Protagonist: He often fluctuates or
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: At first. However, as the series progresses, he becomes increasingly self-serving and ultimately discards all pretence of morality altogether.
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: While Vic is normally willing to shoot people who get in his way, there are several times where he lets Shane walk away when the smart thing to do would be to just kill him.
  • Your Cheating Heart

Shane Vendrell

"So we close a triple murder before breakfast, start a race war before dinner. That's a pretty good day."
Played By: Walton Goggins

Vic's best friend and protégé. Impulsive, reckless, and at times racist, Shane drives much of the conflict in the series as his desire to move out of Vic's shadow causes much chaos and conflict.

Curtis "Lem" Lemansky

"I've always gone along with everything you ever wanted, and all it's done is get us deeper and deeper into shit."
Played By: Kenny Johnson

The muscle of the Strike Team, as well as its conscience. Will often remind Vic and the rest of the Strike Team that they are supposed to be cops and try and rein in Vic's more corrupt notions (with various degrees of success). Unfortunately for him, he ultimately becomes a liability for the team and is killed off by Shane, to keep IAD from sending him to jail, where he would inevitably break.

Ronald "Ronnie" Gardocki

"Oh, I want the rest of the day off!"
Played By: David Rees Snell

With his facial hair and tech skills, Ronnie is the resident nerd of the Strike Team.

  • Affably Evil
  • Ascended Extra
  • Badass
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Ronnie flew under the radar but his no-drama approach to his work eventually built him up a reputation as someone you did not want to mess with.
  • Character Development: Despite being in nearly every episode, his only role in the first few seasons was to get teased by the other Strike Team members. When he got promoted to regular cast member, the show revealed there was a reason he made so little impression: He was the only member of the team smart enough to keep his head down, and beneath his bland exterior he was ice cold — unemotional, ruthlessly efficient, and by far the team member least prone to mistakes.
  • A Day In The Lime Light: "Back to One."
  • Even Evil Has Standards: While he was quite vocal about wanting to kill Shane, Vic's proclamation that he was going to kill Shane and his pregnant wife Mara (in front of their two year old son, no less) freaked even Ronnie out.
  • Fake Guest Star: Appeared in almost every episode, but didn't get his Promotion to Opening Titles until Season 5.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic
  • It's Personal: He does not take Shane murdering Lem well at all.
  • Killer Cop: It takes nearly the entire run of the show, but he eventually pulls the trigger on a defenseless target in the Season 7 premiere.
  • Only Sane Employee: The only member of the Strike Team who never creates problems that the others have to solve.
  • Only Sane Man: The only member of the Strike Team who realizes that Shane is a threat that should be neutralized.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: "Back to One" shows that he could have been a great cop, if Vic and the Strike Team hadn't gotten their hooks into him.
  • Porn Stache: His mustache in Seasons 1 and 2.
  • Properly Paranoid
  • The Quiet One
  • Scars Are Forever: Gets burned by a grill by Armadillo to taunt Vic. He later covers this up by growing a full beard.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Vic betrays Ronnie in order to gain immunity for his wife, who Vic did not know (but the viewers did) had already gained immunity in order to help Claudette bring Vic to justice.
  • The Smart Guy: Works bugs, electronics, computers, and stuff.
  • Techno Wizard
  • Tempting Fate: He specifically tells Vic that he considers going to prison to be a Fate Worse than Death. He ends up being the only member of the Strike Team to be arrested for his crimes.
  • Two-Faced

Terry Crowley

Played By: Reed Diamond

"Driver" for the Strike Team, Terry Crowley was placed on the Strike Team by then-Captain Aceveda as a means to keep an eye out on the antics of Vic and his crew. Unfortunately for him, when Acaveda approached him about gathering evidence about Strike Team corruption, Terry agreed, only to get a bullet in the face for his trouble.

Tavon Garris

Played By: Brian White

A young black detective who is placed on the team due to orders from the brass, who want to include one Token Minority onto the all-white Strike Team. Unaware of Vic Mackey's corrupt nature, the skilled rookie detective made a big mistake when he went and told Shane that he was hoping that Vic would take him under his wing as a mentor. One massive brawl later and a car wreck, Tavon was written out of the series.

Armando "Army" Renta

Played By: Michael Pena

Army sniper who, after a tour of duty in Iraq, returned home and landed a job with the LAPD, where he was partnered with Shane Vendrell. The two got along well, but Shane's corrupt cop ways ended up getting the two in hot legal water. Rather than risk his luck, he ended up resigning from the LAPD and returning to the military.

Kevin Hiatt

Played By: Alex O'Loughlin

A capable officer introduced as the one who will succeed Vic in leading the Strike Team. His arrival is initially met with some tension but Vic and co eventually warm up to him.


Claudette Wyms

"It's good to shake things up once in a while."
Played By: CCH Pounder

Veteran detective partnered with Detective "Dutch" Wagenbach. Though positioned as the conscience of the Barn, she's more than willing to turn a blind eye to Vic's brutality and least, at first.

Holland "Dutch" Wagenbach

"If you're so special, how come a lowly civil servant like me just caught you?"
Played By: Jay Karnes

Detective and partner of Claudette. A brilliant, but socially inept detective who deals with unsavory bad guys. The Rival to Vic Mackey.

Steve Billings

Played By: David Marciano

A veteran cop who is five years away from retiring and dead set on doing as little as possible until then, in order to ensure he sees the day of his retirement.

     Captains and Administration 

David Aceveda

"Mackey's not a cop. He's Al Capone with a badge."
Played By: Benito Martinez

The politically ambitious police captain of the Barn and ultimately an influential member of the Los Angeles City Council. Despite being Vic Mackey's archnemesis and by extension the principal antagonist in Season 1, he and Mackey become begrudging allies in later seasons.

Monica Rawling

Played By: Glenn Close

Replacement captain for the Farmington District after Aceveda left following his election to city council.

  • Arch-Enemy: To Antwon Mitchell.
  • Badass: Doesn't take crap from Vic or the top brass of the LAPD.
  • Berserk Button: Negligent social workers.
  • Big Good: Of Season 4.
  • Cool Old Lady
  • Doomed Moral Victor: She doesn't die, but she does sacrifice her career to win.
  • Honor Before Reason: She probably could have kept her job if she had picked the Mitchell fight over the Social Services fight (or vice versa), but she just had to do both at the same time.
  • Knight Templar: A somewhat heroic version. Her pursuit of Carl and Scooby's killers leads her to take the leash off Vic, and even try a couple of extreme moves of her own.
  • Mama Bear: Protective of her fellow officers, especially after two of them are murdered on orders of Antwon Mitchell.
  • Never Mess with Granny
  • Small Role, Big Impact: She only appeared for one season, but the IAD investigation she initiates ultimately destroys the Strike Team.
  • Team Mom
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Her seizure program rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, but she was putting money into the community.

Lanie Kellis

Played By: Lucinda Jenney

A civilian auditor appointed by the City Council to supervise the Barn's activities following the events of Season 1. She and Armadillo Quintero serve as the principal antagonists in Season 2.

  • Ambition Is Evil: Implied. She commits some pretty heinous actions just for the sake of scoring points with her superiors in the City Council.
  • Big Bad: Of Season 2. The whole story arc revolves around the Barn trying to maneuver around her intrusive supervision and subsequently weathering the fallout from her overly damning report.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: When first introduced, she acts very polite and respectful towards the police officers of the Barn. However, she quickly turns nasty and overbearing when they are less than prompt in providing her with the information she requests.
  • Drunk with Power: Upon being appointed by the L.A. City Council to supervise the Barn's activities, she becomes a petty tyrant who routinely coerces law enforcement officers into giving her their unwavering attention and obedience even when they are engaged in vital police work and threatens to use her authority to ruin their livelihoods if they don't.
    Kellis::"When I ask for something I ask politely because that's my nature, but when you make me ask a second time I lose my patience....The people I work for want answers. They expect me to get them.I have the power to recommend changes, get people fired, even shut down this entire building if it's warranted! Do you understand what I'm saying detective!?"
  • Hero Antagonist: Subverted. While she is technically on the right side of the law, she callously impedes the police work of honest officers like Dutch Wagenbach and Danny Sofer before ultimately threatening their very livelihoods merely for the sake of smearing Aceveda's reputation.
  • Jerk Ass: When she drops the "polite civil servant" routine, she is insufferably arrogant and condescending towards those around her.
  • Karma Houdini: She never does personally atone for the harm she does to the Barn.
  • Lawful Stupid: Shows shades of this.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: She expects all officers to halt all their work until complying with her "requests" (even when citizens' lives are at stake) and inserts herself into EVERY aspect of Farmington's police business merely for the sake of digging up dirt on Aceveda.
  • Principles Zealot: As far as PR is concerned.

Jon Kavanaugh

Played By: Forest Whitaker

IAD officer who goes after Vic Mackey and the Strike Team.

Ben Gilroy

Played By: John Diehl

The Assistant Chief of Police, Vic's political muscle within the department, and the man who created the Barn and formed the Strike Team.


Danielle "Danny" Sofer

Played By: Catherine Dent

Julien Lowe

Played By: Michael Jace

Tina Hanlon

Played By: Paula Garces

A new recruit assigned to serve as Julien's partner. Her going from vain pretty girl to competent cop was a major storyline for the later seasons of the show.

Tommy Hisk

Played By: Matt Gerald

Julien's new partner following Danny's brief termination.

     The One-Niners 

Rondell Robinson

A low-level drug dealer selected by Vic to hold the monopoly on corners in Farmington (in exchange for some regular "rent" payments, of course).

Kern Little

Played By: Sticky Fingaz

A prominent L.A. gangsta rapper who happens to be, well, an actual gangsta. In between recording sessions, he calls the shots for the One-Niners. Until Antwon Mitchell gets out of prison, at any rate...

Theodore "Tio" Osmond

Played By: Cedric Pendleton

Rondell Robinson's right-hand man...and eventual replacement.

Antwon Mitchell

Played By: Anthony Anderson

A high-ranking member of the One-Niners street gang and an old enemy of Monica Rawling, recently released after serving a thirteen-year sentence on drug charges.


Played By: L. Michael Burt

The street boss of the One-Niners after Antwon Mitchell is sent back to prison.

     Mexican Cartel 

Armadillo Quintero

"I'm [here] looking for new opportunities....."
Played By: Danny Pino

A sociopathic underworld kingpin from Mexico who moves into Farmington with plans to dominate its underworld. He and Lanie Kellis serve as the principal antagonists in Season 2.

  • Big Bad: In Season 2. However, he is later revealed merely to be a Disc One Final Boss when he dies only 8 episodes into the season.
  • The Chessmaster
  • Child Prodigy: He reportedly scored "off the charts" on his IQ at the age of 11.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: He actively recruits minors as drug dealers in order to exploit laws preventing police from turning them into informants who could expose his operations. Similarly, he consciously goads Vic Mackey into maiming him so he can later use the event to blackmail the Strike Team.
  • Disc One Final Boss: (See Big Bad section above)
  • Enfant Terrible: He raped his teacher at the age of 11.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Subverted. Vic tries to use his brother as leverage against him, but Armadillo has him killed in prison both to protect himself and make a statement.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Of the evil variety.
  • Karmic Death: Gets shanked by one of the old-school Gang Bangers he screwed over during his takeover of Farmington's Mexican gangs.
  • Killed Off for Real
  • Macho Masochism: In addition to being a consummate sadist, he also appears fond of self-mutilation given the multitude of scars on his body as well as the manner in which he views them as testaments to his own masculinity.
    Armadillo:"Every scar is a victory. This is just my biggest."
  • Manipulative Bastard
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: He tatoos a dove on all his rape victims' faces so that they always remember they are "his."
  • Ruthless Foreign Gangsters: He manages to destroy the drug operation Vic is protecting and take over two of the most powerful gangs in Farmington in the space of a couple of episodes.
  • Scars Are Forever
  • The Sociopath: He seems to have no conscience whatsoever based on his willingness to target children in grade school as a potential narcotics "market" and brutally murder his own brother to protect his gains. He is also quite sadistic given that he is a serial rapist and pedophile who maliciously compounds his victims' psychological harm by leaving a tatoo of a dove on their faces.
  • The Stoic
  • Two-Faced: After Vic burns half his face.
  • Visionary Villain: Upon arriving in Farmington, he begins systematically eradicating all his competitors in the drug market in order to lay the foundation for a massive criminal empire that stretches from L.A. to Mexico City.
  • Would Hurt a Child: In fact, he would rape them.

Cruz Pezuela

Played By: F.J. Rio

A big-time property developer and one of Aceveda's key financial backers in his budding political career. Too bad he's also the front for The Cartel's plan to buy up Farmington and turn it into their new L.A. base of operations...

Guillermo Beltran

Played By: Francesco Quinn

Chief of security for The Cartel and Pezuela's boss.

     Armenian Mob 

Margos Dezerian

Played By: Kurt Sutter

A highly feared enforcer of the Armenian Mob who begins systematically hunting down and executing all those suspected of being involved in the Money Train Heist at the end of Season 2.

  • Ascended Extra: He goes from being a highly unsettling yet minor character who appears in only one episode of Season 1 to being the main antagonist of Season 3.
  • Badass: When a burly cellmate insults him at the Barn, he promptly kills him with his bare hands by snapping his neck. At the end of the same episode, he is ultimately revealed to have escaped from police custody by busting a window on a paddy wagon and leaping out at 40 miles per hour (while still cuffed) . Later, in Season 3, he and a handful of his thugs seem to have no trouble wreaking havoc among the Byz-Lats' hardened ranks.
  • Barbarian Longhair
  • Big Bad: In Season 3. His actions threaten to implicate the Strike Team in a double homicide before he ultimately begins targeting the Team himself.
  • Creator Cameo: Played by writer/producer Kurt Sutter.
  • Creepy Souvenir: He takes the feet from all of his victims.
  • The Dreaded: When he is first arrested by the Farmington Police Department, the Armenian mobsters with whom he is brought in are frightened into silence merely by his presence during interrogation.
  • Fake Nationality: Played by Kurt Sutter, who is American.
  • Foot Focus: He has a foot fetish, to the extent that Dutch almost catches him when he has a murder victim's feet chopped off, packed in dry ice, and mailed to his safe house in Athens.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: While he doesn't appear in many scenes, this is strongly implied. When first introduced in "Blowback", he shoots another Armenian mobster for "sampling" a line of cocaine he was preparing for himself during a drug deal. Similarly, while incarcerated, he promptly breaks the neck of one of his cellmates merely for calling him a "faggot."
  • Hidden Villain
  • Killed Off for Real
  • Man in White: In his first appearance.
  • Noodle Implements: The contents of his apartment (such as a case of microwave popcorn, but no microwave).
  • Professional Killer
  • Psycho for Hire: A unique example. In Season 1, he appears to be merely an Ax-Crazy hitman (albeit a highly feared one) in the Armenian Mob's employ. This is partially subverted in Season 3 when he is revealed to be a high-ranking member of the Armenian Mob who nonetheless personally offers his "services" in order to satisfy his bloodlust.
  • Psychotic Smirk: He gives a very creepy one while being handcuffed for murdering one of his cellmates in "Blowback."
  • The Quiet One
  • Shrouded in Myth
  • The Spook

Lyor Slavok

A hitman dispatched by Margos Dezerian to locate those responsible for the Money Train Heist.

  • The Apprentice: Implied to be this to Margos considering he adopts his modus operandi of cutting off his victims' feet.
  • Bad Liar: His reply when asked about the contents of a package to he sent Athens encased in dry ice: "Books."
  • Perpetual Frowner: Based on the few scenes in which he appears.
  • Professional Killer
  • Psycho for Hire
  • Small Role, Big Impact: His murder of two Armenian mobsters on Margos's orders threatens to implicate the Strike Team in two murders that occurred at the Money Train Heist.
  • Too Dumb to Live: He keeps the receipt for a package he sent to Margos containing the feet of those he killed.

Armin Chorekian

Played By: Herzl Tobey

A mid-level soldier in the Armenian mob responsible for overseeing the organization's Money Train.

  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: When he feels threaten by Margos Dezerian's men, he arrives at the Barn with his family in tow offering information in return for their safety.
  • Faux Affably Evil
  • Karma Houdini
  • Moral Dissonance: He has no problems contacting Armenian hitmen to murder two colleagues. However, he is highly offended by the reckless disregard exhibited by a negligent driver who backends him in a fender-bender.
  • Perma Stubble
  • Photographic Memory: He immediately recognizes Lem as one of the men he asked to serve as witnesses for a prospective insurance claim after being involved in a car accident in Season 2. He also remembers the alias given to him by Shane who was driving with Lem at the event in question.
  • The Rat
  • Small Role, Big Impact

Diro Kesakhian

Played By: Franka Potente

The daughter of an Armenian Mafia chieftain, who secretly runs his organization after he is left comatose by a heart attack.

Ellis Rezian

Played By: Ludwig Manukian

     Serial Killers 

Sean Taylor

Played By: Michael Kelly

A Serial Killer that murdered 23 people.

William Faulks

Played By: Clark Gregg

A serial rapist, and eventual Serial Killer, who targets elderly women and "cuddles" with them afterward.

Kleavon Gardner

Played By: Ray Campbell

An accused Serial Killer from Texas who relocates to Farmington, which soon sees a rash of murders matching his alleged M.O.

Lloyd Denton

Played By: Kyle Gallner

A teenage boy who claims to have shot a burglar in his home, but whom Dutch suspects of being a budding Serial Killer.


Corrine Mackey

Mara Vendrell

Played By: Michele Hicks

Connie Riesler

Played By: Jamie Brown

A hooker and crack addict who serves as Vic's unofficial informant.


Played By: Nichole Hiltz

A Con Artist who successfully manipulates Shane.

Rebecca Doyle

Played By: Laura Harring

A criminal defense attorney retained by Vic to represent the Strike Team in the face of Kavanaugh's investigation.

Olivia Murray

Played By: Laurie Holden

A special agent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement who helps Vic bust The Cartel...and becomes his last hope for a lifeline when his web of lies and crimes starts to unravel.

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