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|The Shield character|
Shane Vendrell, portrayed by Walton Goggins
|First appearance||"Pilot" (episode 1.01)|
|Last appearance||"Family Meeting" (episode 7.13)|
|Created by||Shawn Ryan|
|Portrayed by||Walton Goggins|
|Aliases||Cletus Van Damme, Trap (undercover name)|
|Occupation||Los Angeles Police Department detective|
|Spouse(s)||Mara Sewell-Vendrell (wife)|
|Children||Jackson Vendrell (son), Frances Abigail Vendrell (unborn daughter)|
Shane is a police detective who has been heavily involved in the dealings of Vic Mackey's Strike Team, since its formation. He starts out as Vic's best friend, but suffers more than one falling out during the course of the series. In the third season, he marries Mara and has a son, Jackson. Shane reveals in Season 1 that he originally comes from Atlanta, Georgia.
Terry Crowley's murder
When Terry Crowley—an undercover informant sent out from the Justice Department to expose corruption in the Strike Team—was murdered by Vic, Shane was the only witness. The other 2 members of the Strike Team were oblivious of the fact that it was Vic who murdered Terry until Season 6, when Shane had compiled a list of all their crimes to use as blackmail against Vic. Ronnie Gardocki angrily confronted Shane about the list, as his name was implicated, and it was at that time that Shane told him about Vic murdering Terry. Curtis Lemansky had suspicions of Vic murdering Terry, which Vic denied, till his struggle with Vic in Season 5 where Lem was wired by Kavanaugh where Lem disconnected the wire and learned the truth from Vic. Early in Season 1, Shane was clearly distressed about what he and Vic had done. This was most evident at Terry's funeral, where Shane was visibly shaken by seeing Terry's mother. As time passed, he was seemingly able to move past it, and accepted the murder in his mind as being something that was necessary. When Vic expressed regret about the murder in Season 5, it was Shane who reassured him that he had done it to protect the team.
Prior to Season 3, Shane tried to portray himself as macho and promiscuous. In one instance he shamelessly tried to have sex with a murder victim's widow, who was seeking an emotional release for her grief. However, in Season 3, he began living with a woman named Mara, who quickly became pregnant with his child after they started seeing each other, and they were quickly married.
In one episode, Shane said to Vic,
"She's the only girl I've met who's better than me, you know."
The couple currently had a young son, Jackson, with another child on the way (mentioned in "Post Partum"). Despite Shane's marriage and children, he still found other women, most recently a teenage prostitute (18 years of age) who was also romantically involved with a high-ranking member of the One-Niners gang.
Shane was open with Mara about the ethical conundrums he faced in his police work. Mara had also directly participated in several of these situations. For example, she discovered the storage locker location and found a key to take some of the Money Train money which she gave to her mother. Unknown to her, that money contained marked bills that the FBI had placed to break up the Armenian Mafia. In another event, Detective Tavon Garris visited Shane's house to reduce tensions but ended up getting into a fight. Mara hit Tavon in the head with an iron, leaving him with impaired judgment and blood loss, which caused him to crash his van and sustain serious injuries. Shane and Mara reached out to Vic who worked with Lem to convince Tavon it was his fault and thus be silent about the affair.
Shane's break with Vic
After the Strike Team robbed millions from the Armenian mob, authorities began an investigation that continued to build up until Lemansky, unable to handle the tension, burned all the cash in a furnace. Lem agreed to transfer off the team once the Armenian situation had been resolved. However, when Aceveda told Vic that the Strike Team would be disbanded with only three members left, they asked Lem to stay. When an argument between the team breaks out, Shane tells Lem that the only reason they want him to stay is so the team isn't shut down and Lem takes off in a huff. Ronnie goes after Lem to try to calm him down leaving Vic and Shane, the two best friends, to air their grievances with each other; Vic's jealousy over Shane spending so much time with Mara and Shane's issues with Vic taking the side of other people, despite them being best friends. When Shane calls Vic a bad father, he pushes Vic past the point of no return and Vic tells him to leave right now, while he restrains himself due to their years of friendship. Shane takes off and the Strike Team is disbanded.
Following the breakup of the Strike Team, Shane was reassigned out of "The Barn" and was assigned a new partner, Armando "Army" Renta. Shane operates in a similar manner to his role model, Vic, only with less success, and he trains Army to engage in his corrupt practices. Shane offered his services to rising drug lord Antwon Mitchell, who accepted in order to protect his shipments.
The arrival of new Farmington Captain Monica Rawling and the revival of the Strike Team caused plans to go awry. Shane attempted to protect his interest in Mitchell's business and rejoined the Team to allow him to stay informed about the seizures. However, Shane's growing arrogance and his failure to report an upcoming raid led to a large loss of drugs, money, and One-Niner gang members. An enraged Mitchell decided to scrap his deal. Shane and Army were lured to a meeting, severely beaten by Antwon's men, and then were forced to watch as an informant, a 14-year-old named Angie, was murdered in front of them using their own weapons. With Angie's body now as a trump card, Shane and Army were released, now with their careers and their freedom at the mercy of Antwon.
Shane worked out of fear for several weeks, but was given an opportunity to save himself when Antwon ordered him to murder Vic Mackey, offering him Angie's body in exchange. Fortunately, the conversation was recorded by Ronnie and Lem. Vic angrily confronted Shane in an alley, threatening to kill him. After Shane explained the situation, Vic lowered his weapon and offered his life up to Shane, who refused to take it, saying
"No... No. I would never choose him over you. You're my friend."
Shane pleaded for Vic's help, which he then received. Vic, Ronnie, and a reluctant Lem decided to conduct a search to retrieve Angie's body and destroy Mitchell's leverage. However, as two missing cops from the Barn were found tortured and stabbed to death, Mitchell was immediately suspected. Vic and Shane arrested Mitchell, but struck a deal to watch out for one another and Vic offered to provide Mitchell with another drug supply in a drug crew called the Splash Posse. Capt. Rawlings, however, pushed Mitchell much harder than Vic would have expected and soon Antwon leaked orders through his lawyer to let Angie's body surface. In a final effort to seal Army and the Strike Team off from scrutiny, Shane decided to murder Antwon and avenge Angie, thus proving himself to Lem once more; the two reconciled before Shane prepared to confront Antwon. As he left the other Strike Team members, Shane repeated Vic's words after single-handedly murdering Armenian Mafia boss Margos Dezerian,
"This one's on me."
Shane calmly walked into the interrogation room with Antwon, lewdly taunting the drug lord about his son, an imprisoned homosexual, saying,
Antwon, although enraged, quickly surmised what Shane was planning and calmly refused to take the bait, forcing a shocked Shane to decide whether or not to kill him anyway. However, seconds before Shane could pull the trigger, Vic interrupted him with a better plan.
Vic revealed the assassination plot to Captain Rawling, along with video footage of Antwon's offer to Shane of "a body for a body." Captain Rawling, however, was suspicious and ordered Shane to take a polygraph. Although he managed to fake his way through, he remained under scrutiny for the duration of her time as Captain, which was not helped by Army refusing to take a polygraph test and transferring out of the squad. Mitchell was immediately imprisoned for the murder of Angie and later charged with murdering the two police officers. As a result, Shane was off the hook. He would mend the bridges he burned during the Money Train affair and all seemed well once again.
As the department began its investigation of the Strike Team, Shane's past was investigated by Lt. Jon Kavanaugh. It was revealed that while Shane and Mara were making their payments on their home legitimately, they were essentially living off of Shane's share of the Money Train. Also Antwon Mitchell disclosed his dealings with Shane to Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh's case against the Strike Team was almost destroyed when Lem agreed to a plea deal. However, Kavanaugh's investigation into Lompoc Prison resulted in an assurance that Lem would be killed in prison. Afraid for his life, Vic convinced Lem to go on the run.
Tensions began to rise among the Strike Team the longer Lem remained on the run. As details of their past began to come to light, namely the Money Train heist, it began to seem that Lem had made a deal to give up the team in order to ensure his freedom. Nonetheless, Shane still believed Lem was loyal, even taking some money out of his house payments in order to provide him with a stipend while he was in hiding.
However, when it came time to meet with Lem, the team discovered that they were being trailed in an attempt to arrest them for harboring a fugitive. Shane, the only member of the Strike Team not being trailed, was able to meet with Lem. After some discussion, it was revealed that Lem had no intention of running to Mexico and planned to turn himself in. Fearing that Lem would testify against the team, Shane used a grenade—taken from an earlier raid on the Salvadorans—to murder his team member and friend. Despite the belief that he was acting for the good of the team, Shane was grief-stricken and apologized profusely to Lem as he died. He later met the rest of the team, using the excuse that he too had been tailed.
After seeing Lem's corpse in the final moments of Season 5, Vic quietly snarled,
"We're gonna find out who did this, and we're gonna kill 'em."
The vicious bite in Vic's words was enough to make Shane pause momentarily.
The remaining Strike Team members attend Lem's funeral where they discuss current leads about Guardo. Shane later meets Ronnie and Vic at Lem's grave site, where they give Lem an improvised "three-volley salute," though there are actually seven volleys as there are only three of them. The next day, however, Shane discovers, along with Vic and Ronnie, that Lem had no intention of "ratting out" the Strike Team. As a result, Shane's justification for Lem's murder was suddenly stripped away.
Shane spends a moment, crying to himself over the fact that he murdered Lem with no justification and appears to be on the verge of committing suicide when he is interrupted by Danny, who has arrived at the Barn to take care of some paperwork and to show off her son. Shane briefly holds the child before reuniting with the team. Shane is completely out of it during a hostage situation and singlehandedly destroys the strategy for dealing with the situation when he abruptly offers himself as a hostage. Vic later chides him after dealing with a gunshot sustained in the botched rescue, telling Shane to be more careful, as he does not want to lose another friend. Stressed out and racked by guilt, Shane went to have sex with the teenaged black hooker he had met earlier in the day.
When a warrant was issued for Vic's arrest, Shane and Ronnie returned to the Barn on Vic's recommendation in order to not only keep themselves clear of suspicion, but also to gather information on the investigation into the charges. Shane was interviewed by Kavanaugh and Dutch and argued that it was too convenient for Kavanaugh to have discovered the amount of evidence on Vic in a few days considering that his previous investigation of six months had failed to materialize anything. Though the argument was lost on Kavanaugh, it prompted Dutch to begin questioning the validity of Kavanaugh's investigation and corroborating evidence.
Shane briefly thought of possibly creating a story of a grenade being held by Lem accidentally exploding, but it was quickly shot down by Ronnie as being "some bullshit story." Fortunately, the charges were dropped, and Shane, wishing the affair be put behind them, pleaded for Vic to stop his pursuit of Guardo Lima, the Salvadoran drug lord believed to be responsible for Lem's murder. His pleas were ignored and Vic kidnapped, tortured, and brutally murdered Guardo.
Shane became emotionally unstable, especially when children were involved, but children seemed to be his attempt at redemption. Whether putting off his suicide when being shown Danny's baby, or allowing himself to be doused with gasoline to rescue a child in danger from a junkie, or even begging for Guardo's life based on the knowledge that Guardo and his girlfriend would be having a child soon, Shane's guilt and shame showed through most sharply in these circumstances.
After learning that Guardo could not have had any involvement in Lem's murder, and clearing Antwon of the same charge, Vic read a dossier on Lem's murder put together by Kavanaugh, revealing that, contrary to his earlier claims, Shane was not followed the night Lem died—giving Vic ample evidence, motive, and a time frame to accuse Shane of the killing. Vic called Shane out at the same location where Lem had been blown apart with the grenade. Shane confessed to his crime, attempting to rationalize it while also speaking of his shame and remorse.
Vic was outraged and screamed,
"I had the chance to pull the trigger on you once before; I didn't do it, and Lem lost his life because of it!"
He warned Shane that if he ever saw him again, he would kill him. Shane drove off, calling Vic a hypocrite.
In The Wind
Believing that Vic might be out to murder him, Shane takes several measures to ensure his survival, beginning with a detailed description of the past crimes of the Strike Team, including names and photos, and threatened to make it public if Vic acted against him.
In addition, Shane also informed Ronnie Gardocki about Vic's murder of Terry Crowley, attempting to drive a wedge between the two and possibly hoping to gain an ally. The news instead has the opposite effect, as Ronnie approached Vic, reproached him for not trusting his loyalty, and even tells Vic that he would have done a better job of keeping the murder secret than Shane ever could have. He then asked Vic how they will be able to put their problems with Shane behind them forever. During their interactions together, Ronnie makes no attempt to hide his disgust and hatred of Shane for what he did to Lem. In one episode, where Shane and Ronnie are on stakeout together, when Shane attempts to make idle conversation, Ronnie bluntly cuts him off, telling Shane "You want to chat up a buddy? Go find one."
Attempting to find a new source of income, Shane quickly took to moonlighting as an enforcer for Diro Kesakhian (Franka Potente), the young acting-boss for the Armenian mob. After he revealed the names of a three black Americans who had been robbing her stable of Russian hookers, Diro arranged for the trio to be castrated.
Vic tried to sabotage Shane and Diro's partnership by informing her about Shane's history with Mitchell. When Diro attempted to end their arrangement, Shane disclosed Vic's role in the Money Train heist—conveniently concealing his own involvement. Diro took Shane back into the fold, but put out contracts on Vic, Ronnie, and their families. Shane had neither wanted nor expected this outcome.
Shane switched his loyalty to Diro's rival, Ellis Rezian, but not before Diro's hitman threatened Corrine Mackey and her children. Shane kidnapped Vic's family and locked them in a cargo container in East Los Angeles, California, then ambushed and shot the hitman during a struggle at Corrine's house.
Rezian vowed to hold the Money Train heist over Shane's head, threatening to reinstate Diro's contracts on Vic and Ronnie—as well as Shane's own family—if his orders were disobeyed. Meanwhile, Shane convinced Diro to flee to Germany, but not before euthanizing her dying father. As she left her father's bedside, Diro told Shane,
"Your sentiment will destroy you."
Racism and recklessness
Shane has behaved in a racist manner throughout the show as he has used derogatory comments like "nigger," "darkie," "wetback," and "beaner" multiple times. Shane also drove away a potential protégé of Vic named Tavon Garris due to their personal differences. Shane has, however, had very friendly relationships with several minority officers, as well as a sexual relationship with a black teenage girl. Walton Goggins said in an interview that he didn't agree with or enjoy saying Shane's bigoted views; coincidentally or not, Shane was less vocal in his prejudices in the latter years of the series.
In Season 4, Shane was partnered with "Army", a Mexican-American detective and veteran of the Iraq War. The two became close friends, with Army notably referring to their pairing as "the hick and the spic". Shane was also the main officer looking to seek a partnership with Antwon Mitchell, an black American heroin czar. Overall, Shane is less hostile to black women than to black men. This is revealed by his friendship with female Detective Trish George, as well as his shock and outrage over the murder of a 14-year-old black girl at the hands of Antwon Mitchell.
Shane committed several acts of reckless behavior while part of the Strike Team, as well almost getting their operations blown on several occasions. He once threw down a suspect and urinated on him. He also accidentally had a truck full of cocaine stolen while he visited a nearby woman for sex, etc. He once threatened a woman by locking her in the room with him and suggesting that he would rape her unless she told him where her boyfriend was. Her boyfriend was the man who shot Vic, and if he wasn't found he would have been killed by Joe Clark, Vic's training officer - it was, however, an empty threat. Despite the fact that he is somewhat of a loose cannon, he is very intelligent and bailed Vic out of several tough situations throughout the Team's history. Shane is also a very loving, gentle man where children are involved. A little girl who saw her father rape and murder her mother would only talk to Shane, and years later when her father came back it was Shane who she and her family tracked down for protection. Until it was revealed that he had murdered Lem, Shane was Vic's best friend and had proven to be willing to put himself on the line for the Strike Team.
Upon learning of Rezian's threats, Vic grudgingly allied himself with Shane in order to protect his family from both the Armenians and a Mexican drug cartel. As time passed, however, Vic and Ronnie decided to kill Shane, arranged for him to be assassinated by the cartel's enforcers. Vic had a change of heart at the last minute, but was unable to warn Shane of the plot. The assassination attempt ended in the deaths of Rezian's crew, but Shane managed to escape.
Upon realizing the Strike Team's betrayal, Shane blackmailed a pimp into murdering Ronnie while he intended to kill Vic personally. The plan went awry and the pimp was soon identified as the prime suspect in the attempted shooting of Ronnie. When Shane realised the pimp was about to reveal his involvement to Dutch, he fled the Barn and went on the run with Mara and Jackson. He blackmailed Vic into helping them by threatening to testify against him. Vic resigned from the police force and set out to insulate himself from prosecution by killing Shane and Mara.
Shane and Mara's attempted flight soon fell apart. Two gang members robbed them of the $100,000 Shane had stolen from Rezian. Vic discovered their new names and also noticed that they forgot Jackson's whooping cough medicine, meaning they had to risk taking their son to a hospital. Then, while Shane was fighting with a couple of drug dealers he was trying to rob, Mara accidentially shot and killed a woman. Mara was also injured in the process. Vic cornered them, but a police car drove past at the crucial moment, allowing Shane and his family to escape.
Shane was crushed to learn of Vic's immunity deal with ICE during a cell phone conversation, realizing that his last hope of saving himself and his family had disappeared with it. Holding the upper hand at last, Vic sadistically taunted Shane, saying,
"The trouble with you, you're always trying to be as smart as me, but now I'm walking away clean and you're the pathetic asshole headed for Antwon Mitchell-ville."
He further threatened that, after Shane and Mara were sent to prison, he would visit their children in foster care and fill their heads with stories about what their parents were really like. A devastated Shane screamed, "You don't even get to look at my kids, EVER!" Vic grinned and retorted, "I'll send you a postcard from Space Mountain."
To spare them that fate, Shane tricked his wife and son into drinking a liquid laced with an overdose of painkiller (likely secobarbital). He sat in the bathroom writing out a suicide confession note. As his former colleagues from the Barn kicked down the doors, Shane shot himself.
In his confession he said,
"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're 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's 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 confession is unfinished, due to Shane being interrupted by the police raid. The police found Shane dead with a self-inflicted gun shot wound to his head. They also found Mara and Jackson lifeless on the bed. Although no one in The Barn was fond of Shane anymore, this incident still devastated the whole Barn.
Claudette read this letter out to Vic, who was silent but clearly distraught at the way things turned out between him and his one-time best friend. She then went to watch Vic's breakdown over the cameras but, realizing what she was up to, Vic calmed himself and ripped the camera out of the wall.
In the final moments of the series, Vic is seen placing a photo of the Strike Team on his desk at ICE. However, Shane and Ronnie have been cut from the picture.
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- Goodman, Tim (2008-11-24). "The Shield' goes out with a bang". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
- "Shawn ryan talks the shield: season three". UGO.com. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
- "THE SHIELD Season 3 Premiere". Pop Matters. Retrieved 2010-09-30.
- "The Shield Now Close To Perfect". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-10-01.