"Playing Tight"

March 9, 2004
Actual length
Production Code
Written by
Directed by
Special guest star(s)

Guest starring

"Playing Tight" is the Season 3 premiere of The Shield and the 27th episode of the series as a whole. It was originally broadcast on March 9, 2004.

The Armenian Mafia starts seeking retribution for whoever robbed their Money Train, while Vic and the Strike Team try to sort out a brewing war between the Byz Lats and the One-Niners. Meanwhile, David Aceveda decides not to step down so soon, much to the chagrin of Claudette. Finally, as Julien struggles to work with his new partner, Aceveda tries to recruit Danny once again.



Armin Chorekian asks Dutch for protection for his family.


Dutch Wagenbach opens the package with the chopped feet as Claudette looks away.


Julien Lowe breaks Ray Carlson's arm.


Kern Little and his men drive by after shooting a group of Byz Lats.



Guest starringEdit




Featured MusicEdit

  • "Holly Roller Novocaine" by Kings of Leon
    • Heard during the final scene montage.

Episode TitleEdit

The title might refer to the Strike Team's intentions of "playing tight" (or keeping a low profile) after the Armenian Money Train heist. When Vic Mackey lets go off Kern Little, even after knowing that he was planning to start a war against the Byz Lats, Shane Vendrell tells Vic: "I thought we were playin' it tight".


  • International airdates:
    • Germany: October 21, 2006
    • France: September 20, 2007
  • Dr. Mark Lindman owns a Mercedes Benz ML-430 with a "4UOP211" license plate. The drug dealer steals an 80s Monte Carlo, according to Vic Mackey's description.
  • This episode marks the first appearance of Michele Hicks as Mara Sewell and Nigel Gibbs as Assistant Chief Roy Phillips.
  • Detective Tavon Garris asks Lem if he's riding with "The A-Team" that day, in reference to the popular 80's TV show.
  • Albert Krieg introduces himself as "Albert; like the prince", possibly in reference to Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria from the United Kingdom. After he leaves, Vic calls him "Prince Curious".
  • This is the second episode where Shane Vendrell's alias of "Cletus Van Damme" is mentioned.
  • Vic Mackey uses the alias of "Mr. London" to rent the new storage facility.
  • One of Kern Little albums is seen, with the title Too Big to be Little.
  • Mara tells Shane that no one would buy a "half a million dollar home from somebody driving a '97 Neon?". She was planning to buy a used Lexus with the help of Shane.
  • Owen Thigpen tells Vic that he's using the "Tomatis Method" to help Matthew. This is a real hearing therapy for developmental and learning disabilities that involves listening to classical music.
  • When Shane sees Tavon and Ronnie dressed as construction workers, he refers to them as "The Village People", in reference to the popular music group.


  • Curtis Lemansky: I don't know, but he recognized me; and he remembered your name, "Cletus."
  • Vic Mackey: Cletus Van Damme? You gave this guy the same alias you used to rent the storage unit where we hid the money?
  • Shane Vendrell: Well, it makes Lem laugh.

  • Vic Mackey: I find out you're arming yourselves with anything more serious than this, I will turn the Byz Lats into my personal piñata.
  • Shane Vendrell: Which means we shove candy up your ass and beat you with a bat.
  • Vic Mackey: You pass it up the daisy chain.

  • Vic Mackey: New stuff?
  • Van Bro: Religious erotica.
  • Shane Vendrell: Where in the Bible does St. Schlong visit Our Lady of the D-cup?

  • Tavon Garris: Why is it that every time I enter the room, y'all stop talking?
  • Shane Vendrell: Maybe it's because we're captivated by your winning smile.
  • Tavon Garris: Or blinded by yours.

  • Lex: What are you doing?
  • Vic Mackey: Instant court-martial. A trained soldier grabbed my spare gun and tried to run for it.

  • Dutch Wagenbach: If my tone sounds superior, it's because I'm American and you're Greek!

External LinksEdit

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