BY TOM GLIATTO
Season 6 of FX's hit police show—uncompromising in its depiction of L.A. cops so morally degraded you wouldn't be surprised if their badges corroded into rusty pins—is shaping up to be one of the year's best shows. We're dealing with the smeary, slippery mess left at the end of season 5, when Det. Shane Vendrell (Walton Goggins) dropped a live grenade in the lap of fellow squad member "Lem" Lemansky (Kenny Johnson). Shane feared Lem was ready to squeal to the feds about just how dirty these cops have been. So long, Lem; hello, fresh hell: Now team leader Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis), charging furiously through life with his bald, blunt head, is on the hunt for Lem's killer. The problem is he thinks the culprit is a Salvadoran criminal named Guardo Lima. I can't think of any other series that burrows so deep into the demons of obsession and corruption, or that pushes its characters so hard to face twisted truths about themselves. Chiklis is a great, believable brute, while Goggins staggers around like a zombie, half-dead under the burden of his guilt.