The Groundbreaker: TV Showrunner Shawn Ryan Searches for the Truth

Who would have guessed the man who created Vic Mackey began his career on My Two Dads? Shawn Ryan went on to create CBS' The Unit, and is now the executive producer of Fox'sLie to Me. But his biggest gift to television has been The Shield, which set the standard for basic cable drama and proved cable dramas could be not just as good as network shows, but better.

The Shield paved the way for Mad Men, Damages, and Battlestar Galactica's basic cable-success, but Ryan insists that if his show hadn't, another would have. "Cable TV was ready to explode like that," he says. Ryan, one of the influential television industry players interviewed for's Best of the Decade section, talked with us about The Shield's influence, the cable-drama boom, and how TV audiences have changed forever.



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