The police technical consultant to the show told Michael Chiklis that all police officers would love the show, even those above the rank of captain who would denounce it in public.
The Strike Team was based on the LAPD Rampart Division's corrupt anti-gang unit.
Detective Shane Vendrell's badge number is 714, the same as Detective Joe Friday's on Dragnet (1951).
Creator Shawn Ryan's original title of the show was "The Barn". The FX network feared that potential audiences might be turned away by that, because they might think it was a gardening show or something similar. "Rampart" was also considered, after the controversial corruption charges against the Rampart division of the Los Angeles Police Department. This title was used in early promotional materials, including several TV spots. Upon opposition from the LAPD, as well as the fact that people not familiar with the Rampart scandal might not understand the name, the title was changed at the last minute to "The Shield".
FX originally balked at the hiring of Walton Goggins as a regular cast member. In order to convince the network executives to hire him, the episodes "Our Gang" and "The Spread" were specifically rewritten in order to showcase Walt's acting abilities in hopes of him being hired as a full-time cast member. These episodes convinced FX to give the go-ahead to hire him as a full-time cast member though because of the delays in finalizing his contract, the Shane character was written out of three episodes with the Vic Mackey character partnered up with fellow cast member Kenny Johnson ("Dawg Days" and "Throwaway") or assisting Detectives Wyms and Wagenbach on case ("Cherrypoppers").
In the original pitch of the series to FX, the members of the Strike Team were supposed to be background characters and that the character of Vic Mackey would mainly interact with the other characters. However, after casting David Rees Snell and Kenny Johnson as members of the Strike Team, it was decided to make the Strike Team members a regular part of the series.
The uniformed officers originally wore realistic LAPD-style badges over their left breast, which is standard in the real Los Angeles Police Department, as it is symbolically over the heart. After criticism from the real LAPD over the show's depiction of corrupt cops, the badges were replaced with less realistic badges which were worn over the right breast, starting midway through the first season.
Shawn Ryan originally wrote Claudette's character as a man. It took a call from CCH Pounder's agent to make him appreciate a woman detective would offer a whole new slant to proceedings. One thing that Ryan didn't change though was the dialog, meaning that Claudette pulls no punches with her fellow detectives and the criminals she encounters. This was at Pounder's request.
Because of the series' graphic content, advertisers were initially reluctant to pay to be in its schedules. The high ratings soon convinced them otherwise.
Farmington is a fictional district in Los Angeles.
The Barn is a deconsecrated church.
The average episode is filmed in seven days.
Cathy Cahlin Ryan who plays Vic Mackie's wife is show's creator Shawn Ryan's real-life wife. She was pregnant throughout the filming of the first season.
The cast had to undergo police weapons and tactics training for the series.
To prepare for his role as Vic Mackey, not only did Michael Chiklis had to get in shape and special training, but he learned to speak Spanish.
There are police technical advisers on the set of every episode.
On the back of Vic's car you can sometimes see a ManCow sticker, this is in reference to a Chicago radio show host who is good friends with Michael Chiklis. ManCow has also appeared as stand-ins for police line-ups on the show.
Vic Mackey carries a Smith and Wesson Model 4506-1 .45 ACP caliber semi-automatic pistol with adjustable 3-dot sights. The firearm can carry eight rounds in a magazine.
Vic Mackey's TV daughter Cassidy is played by Michael Chiklis's real-life daughter Autumn.
Prior to the start of the series, star Michael Chiklis had been known mostly for playing the chubby, good natured title character on _"The Commish" (1991)_. Because of the contrast between that characters laid back, affable style, and Vic Mackey's violent and brutal style, Mackey was often referred to in the descriptions of the first season as "The anti-Commish."
According to Michael Chiklis , Jay Karnes had difficulty believing Dutch would be afraid of fighting Vic due to his size advantage. Karnes is 6'2" while Chiklis is 5'8". They debated for a while until Chiklis convinced Karnes that Dutch was afraid of Vic's violent temper.
In season 4 Danny (Catherine Dent) was for the asset seizures, whereas Julien (Michael Jace) was against it. In real life Catherine Dent is opposed to asset seizures and Michael Jace supports it.
According to Glenn Close, she based a lot of her performance as Monica Rawling on a real police captain from New York named Theresa J. Shortell and actually spoke to Shortell during the broadcasting for feedback.
SPOILER: The decision to kill off Reed Diamond's character Detective Crowley was done specifically to shock viewers and make them hate the Vic Mackey character. To keep the surprise twist a secret, Reed Diamond's name is in the opening credits and clips of him where heavily featured in commercials for the series in order to create the illusion that Diamond would be a major character in the series.
This episode had 4.8 million viewers in the USA.
The final musical clip features all the characters except Julien. Footage was shot for this character, involving him having oral sex performed on him by a man, but it was decided prior to transmission that this was a slow-build storyline and they didn't want to reveal it at this early stage.
To help preserve the intensity, the first commercial break didn't occur until 30 minutes into the show.
When Corrine comes out as Vic is grilling and is talking to Terry, Michael Chiklis' real life wife Michelle is the lady with blonde hair who has her back to the camera who hands Corrine (Cathy Ryan) her real life daughter, Hailey, who plays Vic and Corrine's daughter Megan on the show.
During the final montage, the little girl that David Aceveda is holding is Benito Martinez's real life daughter.