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  • Vic Mackey: Conflicted cop and the undisputed champion of average CMoA's per episode. Some highlights include:
    • The pilot episode, when Detective "Dutch" Wagenbach is confronted with a suspected pedophile who won't admit to any wrongdoing. Ten minutes with Vic and a few shots with a book to the face later..."Good cop and bad cop left for the day; I'm a different kind of cop." In the deleted scenes on the DVD set, Dutch walks in and finds the pedophile sobbing in a corner with a pool of urine at his feet.
      • A Chekhov's Gun too. He pulls out a bag containing various objects including a bottle of whisky, a knife, and the aforementioned phone book. Considering he started with his fists and moved on to the book, one has to wonder what the intended use of those other items is...
    • One of the first times the audience sees just how dedicated Vic is to his friends is when he finds a prostitute, Connie, lying half-naked in a room after shooting a john in Season One. After she cries to Vic that she got scared that the man might have hurt her (and shot him for no reason), Connie begs to Vic that she needs to be found innocent because of her son. Vic protests, citing that he can't help her out of the mess. Connie then convinces Vic to beat the crap out of her so the shooting looked like an accident, letting her keep custody of her son.
    • Vic and the Strike Team dressing up like Mexican gangbangers in order to rob a police evidence van and steal back a piece of evidence in Season One.
    • The episode "Two Days of Blood" sees Vic smash right through a heavy wooden door at full speed to catch a teenage suspect fleeing the scene of a crime.
    • When the drug lord Armadillo Quintero rapes a 12-year-old girl and tattoos the image of a dove onto her cheek, Vic really loses his cool. He walks right into Armadillo's house, spends a few seconds asking him why he committed the crime, and then decides to beat the living hell out of him with a law and ethics book, knocking half of Quintero's teeth out in the process. He follows this up by dragging Armadillo by his feet into the kitchen and grilling his face on a stove, to the point that Vic's teammates have to pull him away.
    • When Vic is shot by a suspect selling illegal arms in the third episode of Season Two, he gets to the hospital and promptly asks to see his kids, then hugs them. While he's gutshot and in serious pain. And to boot, he hides the injury from the kids so they won't be scared.
    • In the season three episode "Bottom Bitch", Vic is forced to work with a prostitute who not only gets on his nerves, but was indirectly responsible for his friend Connie being killed. After she refuses to work undercover and give money to a pimp named Smooth, Vic grabs her, forces a gun into her mouth (as she's crying) and says, "You're Smooth's bitch. Well, Smooth is my bitch, and that makes you my bottom bitch."
    • To a criminal he has pushed against an open fifth floor window with a pen and paper: "First word! L-I-F-E! Second word! S-U-X! Looks like you're going to die a bad speller."
    • Telling Lt. Jon Kavanaugh about how he had sex with Sadie (Jon's ex-wife): "Your wife's pussy tastes like sweet butter."

 Kavanaugh speaking with Sadie:

Sadie: (opens her door) What do you want?

Kavanaugh: Just needed to know if you've seen this guy. (shows a picture of Mackey)

Sadie: (innocently) Yeah, he came through.

Kavanaugh:Can you...(chuckles)...tell me what happened? What did he do?

Sadie: (pretending to think) What did he do...he made me come. That's what happened. (Kavanaugh laughs like it's a joke) Twice. (Kavanaugh looks horrified)

Also qualifies as a Crowning Moment of Funny.

      • Seducing a broken and mentally unstable woman just to spite someone who's trying to arrest him for murder? Dude, Moral Event Horizon.
    • In Season Seven, Vic drives an SUV into a gun-running shop to break up a huge shootout that's erupted.
    • During his immunity confession in "Possible Kill Screen", Vic confesses to the murder of Terry Crowley, and the ICE agent, Olivia, asks him if he has anything else to add. Vic's response: "How much memory do you have on that thing?"
    • In season six, Vic heads into a drug gang's pad where he has to empty his gun's clip outside. But they forget to check the gun's chamber, and with that single bullet he easily takes complete control of the situation, walking back out with everything he came for.
  • Detective "Dutch" Wagenbach: often imitated, never duplicated.
    • After tracking a serial killer for multiple episodes in Season One, Dutch finally catches a suspect who matches the M.O. of the killer. He attempts to interrogate the suspect, and listens contently as the man verbally berates him, calls him a "lowly civil servant" and analyzes him to the letter. Dutch lets this go on for some time, and eventually, cops from The Barn start crowding around the camera feed for the interrogation room to mock the detective. Dutch reveals to the killer that he stalled long enough for the police to obtain a search warrant for the suspect's aunt house, and they've found many bodies underneath a crawlspace there. At this point, the killer breaks, implicating himself and praising Dutch for making him become "special":

 Suspect: I killed 27 people...well, 28 if you count the hunting accident. I'm special, alright.

Dutch: If you're so special, how come a lowly civil servant like me just caught you?

      • What makes this even more impressive is that, after everyone there congratulates Dutch on his performance, he goes out to his car and sobs uncontrollably, because the suspect's Hannibal Lecture really did get to him. It hurt him that badly, and he still kept enough control over himself to get the confession. That is dedication.
    • Proving that he's truly incorruptible, Dutch plants a bra clasp at the scene of a crime in Season Two to implicate a large suspect who murdered his blind date. Dutch surreptitiously plants the evidence and gets in his car, then slowly drives away...until he brakes, runs back into the crime scene, retrieves the falsified evidence and finds a clue that would eventually lead to him breaking the suspected killer. By verbally abusing him:

 Dutch: You know what word you never use, Stu? Fat. I bet people don't call you that to your face either, do they? They're too polite. They should, though, because you are fat. You were a fat baby, you were a fat little kid, and now you're just a god damn whale. I've busted black killers, white killers, smart killers, dumb killers, never anyone as fat as you. When was the last time you saw your dick without using a mirror?

Stu: Shut up.

(later on) Dutch: You had to settle for big fat Lea. I mean, you deserve better, right?

Stu: I get better.

Dutch: No, you don't. WOMEN WON'T SLEEP WITH YOU.

    • In Season 3, Dutch shows pictures of suspected rapists' penises to a 73-year old woman. He ends up proving to Claudette that the victim picked the wrong photo: she picked the picture that showed Dutch's privates, a photo he included in the lineup.
    • Let's not forget that Dutch is probably the only member of The Barn to ever dare take a swing at Vic.
    • And he gets one more in the series finale:

 Dutch: You're under arrest.

Ronnie: For what?

Dutch: The past three years.

    • And Dutch turning down the offered promotion at the end of Season Four because he knew that they only wanted a "corporate yes-man," and then joking with Claudette about their tendency to take the moral high ground. Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Funny.
  • Can't leave out Claudette Wyms:
    • After suckering a rape suspect into incriminating statements by flirting with him, the frustrated perp lunges at her. Cut to Dutch and several uniforms rushing the interrogation room... to find the perp on the floor, clutching his crotch.

  Claudette: [Unhurt, but upset] The bigger they are... (the perp had spent most the episode bragging about the size of his testicles)

    • And of course, she started off Vic's series-ending Humiliation Conga by reading him Shane's suicide letter, then making sure Vic saw Ronnie getting perp walked away after learning he's taking all the weight for the Strike Team's crimes.
    • The entirety of "Dead Soldiers", as she stymies Mackey's attempts to cover his illegal dealings at every turn, and when Aceveda finally has to step in and bury the case while she's out of the office due to his own deal he's got going with Vic, Claudette marches into his office and tells both of them that come hell or high water she will find out what this was all about.
    • No list of Claudette's finest moments would be complete without her performance in "Man Inside", in which she perp-sweats a serial killer into confessing to his murders by convincing him that his beloved sister is dead - while she's practically dying of lupus at the interrogation table. At one point she gets a nosebleed and Dutch insists that she leaves, but she simply says "No", slams the door in his face, and with her face covered in blood, goes back to work. The fact that she collapses at the end of the episode makes her quiet determination so touching and tragic that it's tantamount to a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • After unsuccessfully pursuing leads on Armadillo Quintero, the team raids an auto body shop where his accomplice is working. When Vic and Curtis Lemansky can't grill the suspects for info, Shane Vendrell proclaims, "Aw, I've had enough of this shit", grabs a crowbar and breaks the man's ankle.
  • Short-lived Strike Team member Tavon didn't have many chances to prove himself, but for one brief moment in the season two finale, he even put Mackey to shame. When a gang kingpin stalls for information regarding shooters sent out into Farmington on an initiation killing, Tavon decides to bluff the dealer. He pulls out a gun and pretends to play Russian Roulette with the suspect. Mackey watches in subdued awe as Tavon covertly palms the bullet left in the gun while chambering it, and aims the gun at the dealer's head while trying to sweat information out of him. Two clicks later, the suspect sings like a canary.
  • When Lt. Kavanaugh rails against Vic's activities: "VIC MACKEY KILLS COPS! HE DEALS DRUGS! HE BEATS SUSPECTS!...he screwed my ex-wife. He's just pissing all over this department, and we're just supposed to lick it up! Do you like the way that tastes? (Lifts his hand up to his mouth) Because it tastes like piss to me!"
  • David Aceveda in Season Three. He's caught the man who sexually assaulted him and videotaped the act, placed him in the interrogation room, locked the door, and switched off the video camera. The audience expects Aceveda to beat the holy hell out of the guy. Instead, Aceveda calmly tells the man that he is going to jail, then informs him of all the shit that Aceveda could legally rain down on him (including deporting his grandmother, stopping his cousin's college plans, and placing the guy in a cell with his arch-enemy) if he ever reveals the cellphone video.
    • In Season Seven, Aceveda mercilessly beats down a man named Pezuela in front of his boss, then pulls a gun on Mackey when he tries to intervene. When Aceveda finishes talking down to Pezuela for thinking of him as his "errand boy", he rubs in Mackey's face the fact that, by doing this, he has screwed up the last chance Mackey had for working in law enforcement ever again, with a smile on his face.
  • Michael Chiklis gives a tour-de-force performance during the first season finale when Vic learns his wife and kids have left because he's never home. The broadcast version truncates Vic's breakdown, but the audience realizes Vic is in serious emotional pain. On the DVD extras for Season One, however, there's an unedited take of Chiklis, completely in character, breaking down for ten minutes straight. Not only does he yell and scream, but he cries out of the blue and acts as if he's having heart palpatations. After this, Vic calmly stands up and exits his home, finishing off the last shot of Season One. This remarkable performance is easily Chiklis' personal Crowning Moment as an actor.
  • Antwon Mitchell crossing over from Magnificent Bastard to extra!Complete Monster and totally owning Shane in the process counts as an Awesome Moment for him.
    • "From now on, when I say 'Suck my dick', you say, 'You want me to lick your balls, Daddy?'"
  • Trish from the Decoy Squad, deep undercover as a gang leader's girlfriend, has coke-fueled sex to maintain her cover. She later stops the guy from carrying out a hit and bites a chunk out of his arm before he gets away; other cops soon arrive and arrest him on her information. Back at the station, Trish goes through debriefing, during which she completely deadpans that she needs to be checked for STDs.
  • During an interrogation of archenemy Antwon Mitchell, Monica Rawlings keeps her cool as Antwon tries to unnerve her with knowledge of her affair with her married partner. Monica strikes back by telling Antwon his son is a willing sex slave in prison and relaying the horrific events of a childhood which caused Antwon to become such a sociopath. The latter moment is the one time during the whole series Mitchell's confidence slips, as Rawlings gets him to cry.
    • In a later episode, Mitchell is in custody and handcuffed to an interrogation room table. Shane knows Antwon's death would solve a number of the Strike Team's problems, so he walks into the room with the intent of provoking Antwon into attacking him and giving him justification for killing Antwon. Shane uncuffs Antwon and, as Rawlings did before him, throws Antwon's son's sexuality and imprisonment into his face. Mitchell realizes what Shane's up to; after recuffing himself to the table, he stares Shane dead in the eye before asking him one question: "So what was it you were saying about my nigger faggot son?"
  • Steve Billings was portrayed as a comically ineffective cop for most of the show, but he got his own special moment when faced with a man who raped his daughter, who then ran away and got murdered. He's now in full denial about it, so Billings screams at him "Your daughter's dead! You made her run away, and she got killed!"
  • "Small, but genuine."
  • Julian was an underused character for much of the series, but he gets an awesome moment in the Season Three opener, "Playing Tight", by breaking the arm of a fellow officer who beat him up for his sexuality in the Season Two finale.
  • "Family Meeting" (the series finale) qualifies as one for the show's cast and crew, as it's one of the best episodes in television history, one of the greatest series finales in television history, and a pitch-perfect sendoff to the show.
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