The Strike Team used a variety of illegal and unethical methods to maintain peace on the streets, while making a profit through illegal drug protection schemes and robbery.
Originally, the team consisted of four members. Despite a bad reputation, Detective Vic Mackey was chosen as the team leader by Gilroy, who had to pull some favors with the Chief of Police to have Mackey approved. Other than Mackey, the three original members of the team were:
Due to Mackey's reputation, the Chief of Police demanded immediate results from the Strike Team. Gilroy made Mackey aware of the situation, which eventually prompted the team to take illegal actions as the means to make important arrests and warrant the existence of the team. During their first case, they went after a rising drug lord called Lionel Phipps. After being unable to capture him, and under the expectation of results, they all agreed to plant evidence on Lionel's house to capture him. They then used prostitute Connie Riesler to plant a brick of crack cocaine in Lionel's house, while small-time drug dealer Rondell Robinson testified against Lionel, his boss, so they could arrest him.
Captain David Aceveda was not pleased with Gilroy's choice of Mackey as leader of the Strike Team, and approached Detective Terry Crowley (who worked at the Robbery Division) to be part of the team, and eventually replace Mackey. As he joined the team, the Strike Team made an allegiance with Rondell positioning him as their preferred drug dealer in Farmington, while they eliminated his rivals. This allowed them to keep control of drug trafficking on the streets while keeping crime rates low.
Four months after the establishment of the Strike Team, As Terry Crowley gained the confidence of his teammates, Aceveda approached him again, this time to serve as a witness to Mackey's illegal procedures. Still, Gilroy found about this through some contacts in the Department of Justice and notified Vic. Meanwhile, a rival drug dealer, Two-Time, presented a threat to Rondell's business. To stop this, he convinced Mackey and the Strike Team to get rid of him.
The team arranged a raid on Two-Time's house, which would be Terry Crowley's first major bust with the team. Until that moment, Crowley had been used mostly as a driver during the team's missions. As the team raided Two-Time's apartment, Vic and Shane found Two-Time and shot him in the bathroom. As Crowley walked in, Vic shot him in the face using Two-Time's gun. Crowley died several hours later.
Crowley's death spawned an Internal Affairs investigation on Vic Mackey and the Strike Team. After taking their testimonies, they were cleared of any wrongdoing. Still Captain Aceveda was sure that Mackey had murdered Crowley and started his own investigation, but couldn't come up with charges.
Some time later, the team set up a raid on the house of an Armenian gang. Their ulterior motive was to steal some of the cocaine appropriated in the raid and give it to Rondell Robinson. However, Officer Julien Lowe witnessed the theft and reported it to Aceveda. When he couldn't press charges due to lack of evidence, Julien contacted Internal Affairs, which ignited another investigation on the team. The investigation fell through after Vic blackmailed Julien into recanting his testimony.
Some time later, Rondell Robinson got in some troubles that forced Mackey and the Strike Team to switch their allegiance towards fellow dealer T.O. Osmond. Rondell was murdered later by other fellow dealers.
About a month after Ben Gilroy's arrest, the Strike Team discovered a money-laundering scheme ran by the Armenian Mafia called the Money Train. After seeing all the money they moved, they started scheming a plan to rob the Money Train for themselves. At the same time, the Team had to deal with a rising drug dealer called Armadillo Quintero that was unifying the Latino gangs of Farmington to gain control of the area. To achieve this, Armadillo killed Mackey's dealer, T.O. Osmond, by firenecklacing him.
During the team's investigation on Armadillo, he raped a little girl that testified against him. However, Armadillo was smart enough and knew the law, so he managed to avoid being caught. In an attack of rage, Mackey went to his house and attacked him burning his face in the stove, ordering him to return to Mexico. Although Armadillo disappeared, he later returned and "greenlit" the members of the team. As they tried to capture him, he manages to attack Ronnie Gardocki and burn him with a stove as well. When Armadillo realized that the team would have him killed, he turned himself in and threatened Vic with revealing that he had disfigured him. To avoid this, Shane and Lem convinced an underling of Armadillo to stab him to death inside the cage.
With Gardocki out, the team also had to deal with a new member being brought in. Civilian auditor Lanie Kellis suggested a minority member and Tavon Garris, a black detective, was brought in. Although the team was reluctant to accept a new member, Lem and Vic ended up accepting him. Shane, however, developed a rivalry with him based on his jealousy and racism. When Gardocki returned, he offered to take a more active role with the team, even coming up with an idea to successfully rob the Armenian Money Train. As they worked with the plan, tension continued to worsen with Tavon as he perceived how the team was keeping him out of something.
Eventually, the team managed to carry out the Money Train heist, despite a few setbacks at the moment.
After the Money Train heist, the Strike Team started trying to keep a low profile with small arrests, thus diverting attention away from them. As Captain Aceveda prepared for the City Council elections, he had Claudette Wyms supervising the Strike Team, to prepare her to take up as captain. As part of her initiatives, she brought the Decoy Squad, a team of undercover cops, to help the Strike Team. This caused some tension between both groups, but the Squad eventually asked for a transfer after some negligence from Wyms.
Meanwhile, the Strike Team had to deal with the Armenian Mafia looking for whoever stole the Money Train. They also had to deal with the discovery that some of the money was already marked for a federal sting operation, thus preventing them from using it. To make matters worse, Vic lost some of the money in a botched transaction, while Shane's girlfriend, Mara, stole some of his money to send to her mother.
Also, as the tension between Tavon and Shane worsened, Vic convinced Tavon to try and make amends with him. When Tavon visited Shane, they ended up in a fight which ended with Mara hitting Tavon in the back of the head with an iron. As Tavon drove away, he crashed his van and ended up in a coma. As he slipped out of the coma, the team convinced Lem to lie to Tavon and tell him that he had hit Mara, to avoid an investigation on Shane.
As the team was trying to keep the Armenians off their backs, Vic pursued one of their leaders, Margos Dezerian, and killed him in cold blood. Still, as Lem got more worried about them being captured, he ended up burning most of the money from the heist. As the team tried to stop him, Shane pulled a gun on him, which led to Lem asking for a transfer. When Captain Aceveda heard about this, he threatened to shut down the Strike Team if Lem went out. To avoid this, the team tried to convince Lem to stay with them, but he ended up leaving when Shane angrily told him the truth about everything.
After the Team's break-up, Lem transferred to the Juvenile Division in another precinct, while Shane went on to work with Vice also in another precinct. Meanwhile, Ronnie and Vic stayed at the Barn handling the AGC money-laundering operation.
When new captain Monica Rawling arrived at the Barn, she thought of putting the Strike Team back in the streets. However, due to their bad reputation, she authorized an Internal Affairs officer to check on them. Still, Rawling started empowering Vic Mackey to lead the fight against the gangs in Farmington as she established controversial asset forfeiture laws. Although the team was unofficially disbanded, Lem helped them in several cases involving youths that he had worked with in the Juvenile Division.
As the team worked to bring down drug lord Antwon Mitchell, the team also started working unofficially with Shane, and his new partner Army Renta. However, Shane and Army had been working angles with Antwon to protect him. When it started to get out of control, Antwon kidnapped Angie, a teenager informant that had snitched on him, and killed her using Shane and Army's guns. He then hid the body and used this as leverage to have Shane and Army do things for him. Antwon even convinced Shane into trying to kill Vic, but he confessed it, and they started working to prevent it.
Lem found out that Shane was responsible for Angie's death, which only worsened their relationship. Rawling, suspecting that Shane and Army had something to hide convinced them to take a polygraph, which Shane did. However, Army refused to. This prompted Shane to return to the Barn and with the Strike Team. Eventually, he and Lem mended their differences and the team got together again.
After Monica Rawling was fired, she found out that the IAD investigation she had started, had found out that Lem had stolen a brick of tar heroin from a drug dealer and hadn't logged it as evidence and they were planning to move on the team with this.
Six months after the Team got together again, an Internal Affairs lieutenant called Jon Kavanaugh started an aggressive investigation against the Strike Team. To achieve this, he blackmailed Lem into giving up Vic Mackey using the brick of tar heroin he had stolen as leverage. Still, Lem didn't betray the team and told then what was happening. At first the investigation was clandestine, but when Kavanaugh realized the team knew about it, he established himself at the Barn and continued harassing them.
Like Aceveda, Kavanaugh was sure that Vic was responsible for Terry Crowley's death, as well as many other crimes. Through his investigation, Dutch also told him of his suspicions about the Team stealing the Armenian Money Train.
To protect themselves, Vic hired attorney Rebecca Doyle to represent the team. Eventually, the team managed to get some breathing room, but when Kavanaugh caught Vic and Lem spying on a personal moment with his ex-wife, he got so angry that he had Lem arrested at the moment. Sent to county, Lem spent only a day or two in jail, when the Strike Team managed to pull the bail money together.
Still, Lem was tired of running and hiding, and agreed with Rebecca to give himself up without snitching on the team. However, Vic and the team made arrangements for Lem to be taken into Mexico to live in a ranch. However, through an elaborate deceiving ruse, Aceveda got Vic and the team into thinking that Lem planned to snitch them as well, which prompted Shane to kill Lem with a hand grenade. When Vic found about it, he swore to find and kill whoever was responsible.
The members of the Strike Team were some of the few people present at Lem's funeral. Due to the corruption charges on him, he was denied a formal officer funeral. One night, Vic, Shane, and Ronnie met at the cemetery and used their guns to give Lem a modified three-volley salute, using three sidearms to fire seven volleys, instead of seven rifles to fire three.
One or two weeks his death, Captain Wyms notified Vic about the Chief's intentions of forcing him to retire during the next month. Claudette also brought in Kevin Hiatt, not only to be Lem's replacement but also to take Vic's lead spot once he was out. She also asked Julien to be part of the team.
While looking for ways to keep his job, Vic and the team continued investigating Lem's murder. Thinking that it had something to do with Guardo Lima, Vic kidnapped him and tortured him trying to make him confess. When he didn't, Vic shot him in cold blood. Eventually, Vic found out that Shane was responsible for Lem's murder.
After several weeks working with them, Claudette dismissed Hiatt from the Strike Team because she couldn't trust him. She then told Vic that Ronnie would be in charge of the team.
When Shane found out that Vic and Ronnie had tried to kill him, he sought to do the same. When this failed, and the hitman he hired confessed, Shane ran away with his wife and son. Authorities then started a search for him that ended up a week after when Shane committed suicide after poisoning his family.
Meanwhile, Vic kept on trying to save his position, but saw an opportunity of another job with ICE when Olivia Murray started investigating recent gang events in Farmington. Knowing that his time at the Barn was short, he started angling with Murray to open a position for him, using Cruz Pezuela's criminal activities with the Mexican drug cartel as a hook. Eventually, he surrendered his badge and gun to Captain Wyms leaving only Ronnie and Julien. This effectively marked the official disbanding of the team.
After the disbanding of the team, Julien returned to working as a patrolling officer with Tina Hanlon. Claudette, however, recommended him to take the detective exam when his time came. Ronnie also returned to work as a detective partnered with Steve Billings, until his arrest several days after. Vic, on the other hand, started working a desk job for ICE as part of the deal he had signed for his immunity.
Throughout its history, the Strike Team had eight official members. These were:
- Detective Victor Mackey (leader of the team)
- Detective Shane Vendrell (deceased)
- Detective Curtis "Lem" Lemansky (deceased)
- Detective Ronald Gardocki
- Detective Terry Crowley (deceased)
- Detective Tavon Garris
- Detective Kevin Hiatt
- Detective Julien Lowe
Detective Armando "Army" Renta was Shane's partner when he worked at the Vice Division. Although he was never officially a member of the Strike Team, he worked closely with them after Shane transferred out of Vice and back onto the team. Officially, Army worked for Vic's Anti Gang Task Force. He left the Barn after refusing to take a polygraph test asked by Captain Monica Rawling.
The Strike Team was housed in a private room of the Barn that Vic and his team referred to as the "clubhouse". The room was located in the side of the Barn, next to the detective bullpen, and had two doors leading to it. One of the doors had a message written on it reading "STRIKE TEAM ONLY! (That means you, Asshole!)" Inside there's a table, a couch, several lockers, a dartboard, a softball trophy, and a shooting target board, among other things.
When Shane Vendrell and Curtis Lemansky left the team, the clubhouse was used to store all the videocassettes taken from a money-laundering sting operation that Vic and Ronnie Gardocki were monitoring. After the operation was closed, all the video shelves were removed. Some time later, when Jon Kavanaugh started his Internal Affairs investigation on the team, he had the doors removed. Also, as part of Kavanaugh's investigation, he had a bug planted on the clubhouse inside their softball trophy. However, Vic had Ronnie sweeping the room every day for bugs which led them to find it. After Kavanaugh's investigation was closed, the doors were restored.
- The Strike Team is based on the LAPD's real-life Rampart Division CRASH unit (Rampart was seriously considered as the series name and was even used in some early promotional ads for the series).
- The Strike Team is usually seen driving a brown van: Chevrolet Express with a 2PCE303 license plate, or a Ford Econoline.