For the uninitiated, phrases like The Strike Team, Biz-Lats, One-Niners and the Armenian Money Train will mean absolutely nothing — and that’s probably because you’ve wasted the last six years not obsessing over FX’s gritty police drama The Shield! Luckily for you neophytes, we’ve got you covered: In preparation for the show’s seventh and final season that begins Sept. 2, FX has pulled together the mother of all highlight reels that should tell you everything you need to know about how Det. Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis) and his dirty band of brothers at the Farmington Precinct (Walt Goggins, you untamed devil, we adore you!) became the kind of crazy anti-heroes only a hardcore Shield devotee could love. And for those of you who already love The Shield, once you’ve watched this fast and furious recap, post your own favorite scenes from the show in the comments section below!
Bonus: After the jump, get reaction on the initial episodes of The Shield‘s upcoming season from EW critics Ken Tucker and Gillian Flynn; their freewheeling conversation is part of EW’s extensive coverage of the 2008 fall TV season. Enjoy!