The Shield/Playing Tight

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Playing Tight
Season 3, Episode 1
Airdate March 9, 2004
Production Number 5012-03-301
Written by Shawn Ryan &
Kurt Sutter
Directed by Clark Johnson
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The ShieldSeason Three
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Playing Tight is the first episode of the third season of The Shield, and the twenty-seventh episode overall.

Starring: Michael Chiklis (Detective Vic Mackey), Catherine Dent (Officer Danielle "Danny" Sofer), Walton Goggins (Detective Shane Vendrell), Michael Jace (Officer Julien Lowe), Kenneth Johnson (Detective Curtis "Lemonhead" Lemansky), Jay Karnes (Detective Holland "Dutch" Wagenbach), Benito Martinez (Captain David Aceveda)

and CCH Pounder (Detective Claudette Wyms)

Guest Starring: Sticky Fingaz (Kern Little), Brian White (Detective Tavon Garris), Cathy Cahlin Ryan (Corrine Mackey), David Rees Snell (Detective Ronnie Gardocki), Chris Williams (Agent Quigley), David Raibon (Van Bro), Vincent Angell (Owen Thigpen)

and Michele Hicks (Mara Sewell)

Co-Starring: Matt Corboy (Ray Carlson), Matt Gerald (Tommy Hisk), Cal Gibson (Albert), Frankie Rodriguez (Diagur), Nigel Gibbs (Asst. Chief Phillips), Herzl Tobey (Armin Chorekian), Melanie Myers (Paula), Hunter Bodine (Henry), Aris Alvarado (Noa), Wiley Pickett (Lex), Rico Bueno (Jesse), Vick Sabitjian (Petrus)

Featuring: Autumn Chiklis (Cassidy Mackey), Joel Rosenthal (Matthew Mackey), Jay Brown (Biff), Juan Carlos (Spotter), Edward Rodrigo Diaz (Arno), Sheila-Sheila (Arno's wife), Sean Jeffrey Jones (Guy), Caroline Macey (Doctor's daughter)

Uncredited: Robert Alonzo (Drug Dealer), Michael Dotson (Slap)


Plot Overview

The Strike Team plays it safe while trying to stop rivals gangs as they beginning arming themselves for a war. However, in the aftermath of the money train they soon learn the Armenian mob is looking for their money, leaving dead bodies for Dutch and Claudette to investigate.



  • Kings of Leon - "Holy Roller Novocaine"
  • Rupert Holmes - "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)"

Arc Advancement


  • The U.S. Treasury had several bills marked and gives Aceveda their serial numbers.
  • The Armenian mob begins looking for their missing money.


  • Shane has a new girlfriend.
  • Julien confronts Carlson and breaks his arm.
  • Claudette learns that Aceveda is not immediately stepping down as Captain.
  • Aceveda approaches Danny about getting her job back on the condition of keeping him aware of things.


  • Dutch suspects the one behind cutting off the feet of the Armenians is Margos Dezerian, the man they arrested and killed a man in the cage in "Blowback".


The Show

Behind the Scenes

Allusions and References

Memorable Moments