The Shield takes an honest look in to the lives of law enforcement officers who have to face some of the most violent and disgusting criminals in a highly populated city. While the majorty of the cops have a strong moral compas and intend to do what is best for their community, their tactics are often rough and they become as violent as the criminals they are catching. Furthermore, their are main characters who don't necessarily do the right things for the right reason. Four of the lead characters steal money from a money laundering scheme to retire comfortably, and try to hide their tracks all the way till the series finale - turning in on one another. There are issues of graphic rape, drug use, and murders, as well as issues with infidelity, divorce, homophobia, and parents who are not as invested in their kids lives. Sexual content is graphic enough to justify the show being on cable, and partial nudity is common. There is a lot of sensitive language as well.
On a more pleasing note, the show has some of the best acting and story telling on television. Chiklis, Goggins, Martinez, and Pounder deliver some their best acting till date, and the show has cattapulted writers like Sons of Anarchy creater Kirk Sutter, and actors like Justlifed star Walt Goggins in to successful and entertaining televison. It is a much watch for adults who like hard hitting tv, but only for older teens who can handle the sensitive content.