Fans of The Shield were outraged when, at the end of the series' second season, it looked as if popular supporting character Officer Danielle "Danny" Sofer (Catherine Dent
) had been fired from the Farmington District Strike Force. But when season three rolled around, it was revealed that Danny's termination was merely a publicity stunt to hype interest in the series during its summer hiatus. That said, there is definitely quite a change in the Strike Force as season three gets under way. Led by head honcho Detective Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis
), the force seems determined to forsake its flouting of the law, as well as its major and minor digressions from honesty and ethics, and to play things strictly "by the book." This resolve, however, lasts only as long as the first episode: Upon discovering that two vicious rival street gangs have purchased powerful assault weapons, Mackey realizes that his old ways are the best ways, and before long he is back to breaking every rule in the book - and not a few skulls in the process. Among the developments occurring during this season is the simmering feud between the Strike Force and the newly formed Decoy Squad, who squabble over every procedural matter and who have a habit of causing more trouble for themselves than for the "perps." Also, Vic is steamed that his former subordinate, Claudette Wyms (CCH Pounder
), has been made supervisor of the Strike Force. And along the way, one-time force member Julian Lowe (Michael Jace
) makes a return appearance to clear a former partner of a murder charge. In the two-part season finale, the force is stalked by a relentless Armenian hit man; Vic Mackey's longtime nemesis, Captain Aceveda (Benito Martinez
), once again thinks he has enough evidence to bring Mackey down for good; and Claudette is ensnared in a crisis of conscience - a real rarity for this series!