Synopsis by Mark Deming
In this crime drama, an honest lawman has to decide where his loyalties lie in a corrupt system. All his life, J.J. (Michael Boatman) has dreamed of being a cop, and after graduating from the Police Academy, he gets his wish, becoming the first African-American policeman based out of Los Angeles' Edgemar station. However, J.J. discovers that his race makes him an outsider among his fellow officers. His presence is not welcomed by his superior, Massey (Richard Anderson), and the only colleague who is truly hospitable to him is Deborah (Lori Petty), the only female cop at Edgemar and the target of as much abuse as J.J. Hoping to somehow fit in, J.J. digs into his work and tries to be "just one of the guys," ignoring the racism and corruption around him. However, one night J.J.'s fellow officer Bono (Don Harvey) pulls over Teddy Woods (Ice Cube), an arrogant and uncommunicative young black man, and in the midst of an illegal search of his car, he finds a gun; even though he knows that Bono acted improperly, J.J. put his loyalty behind the force and lies to support Bono's story. The gun's serial number matches that of a weapon used to murder the wife of Mr. Greenspan (Elliott Gould), a prominent Jewish businessman, and Woods is charged with the killing. However, J.J. discovers that the number of the gun had been altered, and he has to decide what to do when he realizes that Teddy could be sentenced to death without having committed a serious crime. The Glass Shield also features Bernie Casey, Sy Richardson, and M. Emmet Walsh.
African-American, false-accusation, murder, police-officer, prejudice, racism, sexism, gun