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The Shield Death of a hooker

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[Morethings index for The Shield] Season 2, Episode 6 “Homewreckers”
Air date: 2-11-03

One particularly dramatically satisfying aspect of the whole series comes from how continuing secondary characters are deployed. The series has already killed several recurring characters. The cool thing is how many characters have been built up and explored over multiple episodes before being killed.

It means a lot more that way. We get to consider the history of the character leading up to their death. We get more emotional investment- which comes as a direct result of the thought and effort the writers put into developing the intricacies of a rounded human personality. Did they die as they had lived? Did they deserve what they got?

The necklacing torture deaths of a couple of bangers in “The Quick Fix” was kind of nasty, but not that meaningful to us. The first we saw of them was standing there with tires around their necks. They were more plot markers demonstrating what this Armadillo guy is about rather than any kind of characters.

It meant a lot more when Tio got the same treatment at the climax of “Dead Soldiers.” I, for one, had built a particularly strong attachment to this highly likable character since back in the spring. The image of his burnt corpse jarred me more than about anything else in the show’s history. Knowing now what they meant, the cries of “Mackey!” coming over Vic’s cell phone are incredibly terrifying on repeated viewings.

The hooker Connie had been in probably a majority of the shows since the pilot. She had a history and some reservoir of emotional investment built up for this character among regular fans of the show. Then tonight some psycho jackass casually kills her just to make a point to Vic. Damn. It means something. Her ghost will haunt the air of the show.

She died good, though- at least in a literary sense. That is, she exited in an interesting and ambiguous dramatic moment- yet without any indulgent trumped up death speech, or contrived last words. Jerk shot her, she fell down dead.

Importantly, she didn’t go out as a doped up hooker killed by a john or beat to death by a pimp. No, she was not hooking, and she was off the dope. She was actually clean, and working a more or less legitimate useful job as a CI.

Yet she wasn’t quite martyred for her great altruism. She got herself killed because she got greedy reaching for a $5K bonus for capturing this mass murderer of women. Still, she got killed helping Vic take down a mass murderer.

I kind of hate to say it, but she seemed somehow more empathetic as a strung out hooker than as the responsible citizen she had become in her final appearances. Perhaps the desperation of her depths made it easier to forgive her character flaws, such as the grasping for cash that got her killed.

Was this a “good death”? Did she redeem herself before she died?

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