|The Shield episode|
|Episode no.||Season 7
|Directed by||Clark Johnson|
|Written by||Shawn Ryan|
|Original air date||November 25, 2008|
"Family Meeting" is the 13th and final episode of the seventh season and the series finale of The Shield. The episode aired on FX on November 25, 2008, and was written by Shawn Ryan and directed by Clark Johnson. The title comes from a line Shane Vendrell (Walton Goggins) calls to his family during the episode.
The episode starts with Vic Mackey meeting Ronnie Gardocki and telling him that Shane didn't show up to the drop off and that his wife Corinne was arrested. He also tells him (falsely) that ICE Agent Olivia Murray agreed to clear himself, Ronnie and Corinne once they arrest Beltran. They meet with Beltran and he agrees to meet with the black board of directors at the exchange. Meanwhile, Dutch Wagenbach tells Corinne about the deal Vic made for full immunity which causes her to panic. He assures her that they have an idea to keep her safe from Vic if he finds out what she did to him. Shane takes Mara and their son back to their house and they plan to leave the next day when the police are busy guarding the president.
Back at the barn, Claudette Wyms convinces Olivia to put Vic's family in federal protection to keep him away from them. Olivia is reluctant to do so, but is persuaded when Claudette tells her it would be a good way to get back at Vic. Vic goes to his house to tell Corinne that she is safe. Corinne and the kids start to leave immediately after Vic leaves. Shane shows up to surprise Steve Billings and asks him to deliver a message: Mara shot the woman in self-defense. He also tells him that he is willing to turn himself in and testify against Vic and Ronnie if they can guarantee immunity for Mara. He gives him an attorney's card and tells him to contact him. At the exchange, Beltran doesn't show up and sends his men instead. This angers the black board of directors. The deal is about to go sour, so ICE moves in and arrests everyone. Olivia tells Vic that he is no longer involved and should back off the Beltran case. He decides to go after him, nonetheless, to honor his deal and Ronnie backs him up.
Lloyd Dressler shows up at the barn to report his mother Rita missing and Dutch believes he killed her. Lloyd says the last time he saw her was the night before and that she was upset about a fight she had with Dutch. He claims she left at 3 a.m. to go see Dutch at his house. Dutch tells Claudette about the mysterious hang up calls he got from Rita that made him go to her house the morning before. They believe Lloyd killed his mother and made those calls to implicate Dutch. Julien and Tina respond to a noise complaint which is a rally for Robert Huggins, a local man running for mayor who they end up arresting. Shane calls the attorney and finds out that Claudette is only willing to offer reduced charges for Mara. He then calls Vic for help. Vic refuses and tells him about the deal he cut with ICE. Shane responds by telling him that Corinne was working with the police against him because she didn't want him near their children. A skeptical Vic tells him that he'll check up on his children when he and Mara are in prison to tell them stories about what their parents did. A furious Shane hangs up. Olivia informs Vic that Corinne requested protection from him and that he would no longer be able to see his children.
Back at the barn, Claudette pulls Dutch off of the case after unis found burnt women's clothing in a trash container at his house. Robert Huggins makes bail and requests police protection since threats were made against him, but the request is ignored. Billing's attorney meets with Dutch and asks him to change his statement because it's not helpful to his case against the department. Shane buys flowers and a toy for Mara and Jackson. Vic and Ronnie get Santiago to give up the location of Beltran. Vic suspected he would know where it is since he and his gang the Biz Lats probably delivered the drugs instead of Beltran. He then calls Olivia to tell her the location but she refuses to help him. Huggins interrupts a rally for Aceveda and questions him as a mayoral candidate. Back at the barn, Billings is unable to get Lloyd to say anything and all the evidence points to Dutch. Dutch feels guilty for what he believes happened to Rita and asks for another shot at Lloyd. Claudette refuses and decides to interrogate him herself. She tells him she's convinced that Dutch may have had something to do with his mother's disappearance. Back at the rally, Huggins continues to insult Aceveda until he is escorted out of the building. Billing's attorney convinces Dutch to change his statement to keep Billings safe from the department's counter suit.
Shane goes back home and runs into a neighbor. He gives the presents he bought to his family. The neighbor calls the police and they go to his house. As soon as they enter, Shane kills himself with a revolver. They also find Mara and Jackson dead lying on the bed. There is a note next to Shane's body. Vic calls Aceveda and asks him for help in arresting Beltran. He agrees after realizing it would be a good PR move for him that could get him more voters. Vic and Ronnie head to Beltran's hideout and wait for ICE thinking that Aceveda would convince them to show up. However, they feel that Beltran is about to leave so they have to move in alone. They secure Beltran and his men and the ICE agents arrive. The drugs are found and Beltran is arrested. Back at the barn, Billings thanks Dutch for changing his statement and informs him that he got a good settlement. Dutch later learns from his attorney that all he got was back pay for 2 days of missed work. She also gives him her card and tells him to call her some time. At the warehouse, Aceveda arrives to talk with the press about the drug bust. Olivia tells Ronnie to get back to the barn where Vic knows he will be arrested. Claudette tells Lloyd that she knows he's a murderer and that he's now a suspect in his mother's disappearance. She also reveals to Dutch that she's dying. Tina and Julien respond to a call and find that Huggins has been shot. He dies in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
Vic shows up at the barn and gets dirty looks from everyone there. He finds Ronnie crying, who informs him about Shane killing himself and his family. Claudette asks to speak with Vic in the interrogation room (before Vic can inform Ronnie he's to be arrested) and makes him sit on the suspect's side of the table. She tells Vic about the note Shane wrote and reads it to him: "I guess enough painkillers can make even the worst kind of hurt go away. The thing you need to know is that Mara was innocent and Jackson was innocent; they didn't know what they were drinking and their last moments together were happy ones. They left the way I first found them, perfect and innocent. They were innocent and they are in heaven now and we'll always be a family. The guilty ones are me and Vic. Vic led but I kept following. I don't think one's worse than the other, but we made each other into something worse than our individual selves. I wish I'd never met him. I see it all now. There are no apologies I can make, no explanations I can give. I was who I was and I can't be that person any more. I can't let myself...". The note is incomplete because he shot himself before he could finish it. Claudette tells Vic that she hopes he's proud of himself and shows him pictures of Shane and his family. Vic's face twitches and there is a long silence. He realizes that Claudette is watching him from the monitoring room so he rips out the surveillance camera and tells her to bill him for it on his way out. Claudette signals to Dutch and he proceeds to arrest Ronnie. Ronnie becomes furious when he learns of Vic's betrayal, and as he is being processed yells at Vic about the two of them running together and "protecting the team".
The next morning, Vic goes to ICE to start his new job. He asks Olivia about where his family is but she refuses to tell him. She then breaks the news that he won't be working on the streets for ICE. His job is to produce daily reports about gang related activity, and will involve no active investigation on his part - crime data will be provided to him, and he will be required to analyze it and reach an opinion as to what the crimes reveal about gangland politics. Vic refuses this desk job, but Olivia tells him that if he doesn't take the job for the next 3 years he will be prosecuted for all his confessed crimes. Likewise, he'll be prosecuted if he breaks any of the terms of his employment, which are extremely restrictive: notably, Vic is not authorized to carry a weapon on the job, and is not to have any direct role in police work. Olivia makes it clear that she will be monitoring him closely for any breach of the rules which will allow her to prosecute him.
At the barn, Aceveda tells Claudette that there is no truth to rumors that he was involved with Huggins' death. He asks her how she's holding up and tells her that they both spent a lot of time trying to put Vic away. She congratulates him on becoming mayor, as in the background footage of the president's visit is played on the television. Vic returns to ICE in a suit and tie and is given a tour of his new work environment. He is visibly angry and upset. A federal agent shows Corinne and her children their new home and describes the neighborhood (it can be deduced that the location is Rockford, Illinois, since they have the skeleton of Jane at Burpee Museum of Natural History). He tells them that the home is pretty basic, but Corinne thinks it's fine. Back at the barn, the Unis have a small celebration for Tina's one year anniversary, which is soon interrupted by a robbery call. Back at ICE, Vic, still visibly angry, places pictures of his children on his desk and a picture of the entire strike team, folded to only show himself and Lem. He smiles when he looks at the picture of Lem. He hears sirens and looks outside the window and sees some patrol cars. He returns to his desk and sits quietly for a while looking more and more emotional. He seems to be about to cry upon seeing the pictures of his children and thinking about everything that has happened to him. Finally, the lights go out, he takes his gun out of a lock box and smiles. He then puts on his jacket and leaves; his destination unknown.
The episode ends with a montage of significant characters and events from the show.
- This is the only episode for which Shawn Ryan was not present during filming. The 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike had just begun and as a Guild member, Ryan was obliged to take part in the strike.
- Shane Vendrell's murder-suicide was not in the first draft script, but after Ryan had heard news of the similar murder-suicide of wrestler Chris Benoit and his family, he wrote it in.
- Episode director Clark Johnson appears briefly as the federal agent who introduces Corinne and family to their new home.
- Due to the episode running approximately 80 minutes in length, it was split to 2 parts for reruns, counting the 2nd part as the 14th episode of season 7.
Thanks to its insanely talented cast and a terrific script by creator Shawn Ryan, longtime “Shield” fans may find themselves fighting back tears more than once; and finally, this is the most brilliant series finale I’ve ever seen. I will miss this show.
The song played during the montage at the end of the episode is "Long Time Ago" by Concrete Blonde.
- Sepinwall, Alan (2008-11-25). "The Shield: Shawn Ryan post-finale Q&A". What's Alan Watching?. Retrieved 2012-03-08.
- Poniewozik, James (2008-11-13). "Fitting End for The Shield". Time. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
- "The Shield: "Family Meeting" Review". IGN. Retrieved 2010-03-16.
- "'The Shield' comes to a stunning conclusion". Chicago Tribune. November 22, 2008.
- TV's Most Unforgettable Finales - Aired May 22, 2011 on TV Guide Network