In my continuing effort to create a "disconnect" between myself and I Love Television™ readers, let me just say this: I LOVE COPS. Overall, I think they're great. I know a lot of my readers pooh-pooh cops (especially after receiving a ticket), but when a cranky One Tree Hill fan on meth comes charging into my office swinging a machete? I welcome an appearance from the boys in blue.

On the other hand, cops can also have annoying qualities. For example, they can never seem to understand why people dislike them. Well, let me help clear up that confusion for the cops in our audience: YOU'RE WEARING A GUN, DUMBASS! Why in the world should I feel good about being approached by some touchy power freak with an itchy trigger finger? You know in England, the cops don't carry guns--and people seem to get by okay. However, the cops are also called "bobbies" and wear faggy hats. So I can see why a meth-addicted, machete-swinging One Tree Hill fan may have a problem taking someone like that seriously.

BUT I DIGRESS! Besides hating me for loving cops, my readers really hate me for loving BAD cops. True, I am repulsed when a cop pepper-sprays a hippie in the face--but C'MON. You have to admit it's also pretty funny! (And besides, pepper spray is the closest thing to a bath these hippies have seen in years.)

But more specifically, it's the constant battle between good and evil inside the souls of cops that gives me such a boner. They are given guns to protect society--but they're rarely allowed to shoot anybody, and where's the fun in that? They're hired to squash crime and arrest criminals--but they're under strict orders not to beat the holy crap out of pushers and rapists. Again, where's the fun in that? It's this delicate balance between the urge to "protect and serve" and acting like Harvey Keitel in Bad Lieutenant that makes cops of both varieties endlessly fascinating.

That's why I'm lovin' life to the hilt now that my fave cop show of all time, The Shield (FX, Tues March 15, 10 pm), is returning this week. Starring bald-headed bulldog Michael Chiklis, The Shield is a thinly veiled indictment/love letter to the problem-riddled L.A. police bureau. Chiklis stars as Vic Mackey, the leader of a largely unsupervised "strike team" that uses unconventional methods to bust the baddies. While successful, these same methods cause a moral strain that lures Mackey and his team to the dark side of drugs, money, and even murder. However, all the while, Mackey's gang is able to rationalize away their actions: lying, cheating and killing all in the name of "protecting the public good." Better still, even the supposedly "good" cops are complicated characters with dark streaks a mile wide. It's a lot like Hill Street Blues--if it starred Charles Manson.

Grab the first three seasons of The Shield on DVD if you've got some catching up to do, or join me this Tuesday for the fourth season premiere! I'll be the one squirting pepper spray in my eyes and hitting myself in the Scrabble bag with a nightstick.