CliqueClack TV

Breaking Bad reminds me of The Shield

Breaking Bad cellphone picture

When I knew Breaking Bad was returning this week, I was psyched. It’s actually pretty odd to say you’re “excited” about this show returning, because it can be uncomfortable to watch at times. The premise itself is somewhat disturbing, as are the situations that Walter White is in, even though one is more-or-less by his own doing.

There’s something about Breaking Bad that reminds me of the early days of The Shield. They share some similarities, other than the now-bald Walter to The Shield‘s Vic Mackey. Both lead characters, Walter and Vic, have their families as a top priority in their lives. And both characters will do anything to make sure their families are provided for, even if it means breaking the law to the highest degree.

Vic Mackey and Walter White have similar family structures as well. Walter has a son with special needs, with Walter Jr. having Cerebral Palsy. Vic also has special needs kids, two out of his three diagnosed with autism. In the early seasons of The Shield, Vic’s wife Corinne was oblivious to how he was able to provide for their family so well on a cop’s paycheck. Up until now, Walter’s wife Skyler has no idea what he’s up to, though I can’t imagine that’s going to last very long.

Then, of course, there’s the heavy drug element in both The Shield and Breaking Bad. It’s dealt with differently on both shows, but Breaking Bad‘s Tuco is like a character right out of The Shield. Vic may not have been as hands-on as Walter is in the drug trade, but he’s gotten enough of it under his fingernails through the years.

Breaking Bad is also not without its share of a look at the inside of law enforcement, with Walters brother-in-law Hank Schrader a DEA agent. Hank has a rather no-nonsense “this is the way it is” look at his job and the things he has to deal with, much like Vic’s had to deal with in the many years we saw him on The Shield. Hank, however, doesn’t yet seem to share the same criminal element that Vic had.

Breaking Bad is incredibly well acted and well shot, making it a pleasure to watch in that respect, as was The Shield. The characters are well fleshed-out and the story is sound, with comedic elements thrown into situations that are believable and just work, while not taking away from the dire circumstances Walter and Jesse find themselves in. The second season premiere just proved that once again, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all plays out.

Lastly, Breaking Bad shares an element with The Shield that’s both realistic and sad: there’s got to be an end. We all knew Vic couldn’t carry on forever with what he was doing, and this isn’t a life Walter can hang onto forever either. God willing, we’ll get enough seasons out of Breaking Bad to bring us to a worthwhile conclusion, and not one that comes too soon.

Photo Credit: AMC

4 Responses to “Breaking Bad reminds me of The Shield”

March 9, 2009 at 4:50 PM

Well written! I never made that parallel, but it’s so true. Although, even as a meth dealer Walter still has more morality than Vic ever did.

March 9, 2009 at 8:50 PM

If you consider what happened at the end of “The Shield” really an ending. With that in mind you could say that “Breaking Bad” won’t have to end either.

The question is how long can you survive with lung cancer…

March 9, 2009 at 9:51 PM

Vic is in his own personal purgatory, Ronnie is in jail for life, Shane and Lem are dead, that’s ending enough for me! There’s no doubt Walts gonna die, and since season 1 was only scheduled for 10 episodes he could die in season 5 and it could only represent a couple of years in the show’s universe.

March 10, 2009 at 6:27 AM

The 5 year survival rate of lung cancer patients is a mere 15 percent.

And you basically agreed since you say Walt will die. That would be a more definitive ending than Vic’s.

Powered By OneLink