|This article's content is marked as Mature|
The page Mature contains mature content that may include coarse language, sexual references, and/or graphic violent images which may be disturbing to some. Mature pages are recommended for those who are 18 years of age and older.
If you are 18 years or older or are comfortable with graphic material, you are free to view this page. Otherwise, you should close this page and view another page.
Assistant Chief Ben Gilroy is one of the main antagonists of the television series The Shield.
Gilroy was the main antagonist of Season 1, a minor antagonist in Season 2, and a posthumous antagonist for the rest of the series.
He was portrayed by John Diehl.
Gilroy is the assistant police chief and a longtime friend and supporter of Vic Mackey. Gilroy is the architect of the Strike Team and he is fully aware of Vic's activities. The Strike Team was a hard sell to the Chief though, and Gilroy demanded quick results to allow its existence. This pressure was responsible for Vic and the team taking shortcuts and performing illegal acts to get the job done, which set the path for the Strike Team's corruption. When the team commits illegal acts, Gilroy actively protects Vic as well as the rest of the team, using his power to get Vic out of small jams and ensure his position as leader of the Strike Team. Gilroy protected Vic and his team from new captain, David Aceveda, who disliked Vic from the beginning, and also tipped off Vic that Terry Crowley was a spy sent to collect evidence against Vic and the strike team. However, he did not expect to result in Terry's death, for which he became furious with Vic.
When Shane Vendrell's vehicle, containing stolen drugs, was stolen, Gilroy told Mackey to let Shane take the fall, since Gilroy couldn't protect the whole team. When Julien Lowe reported the drug theft and Aceveda attempted to bring the team down, Gilroy cut ties with the Strike Team, including Vic. However, Gilroy soon needed Vic's help when he was found to be using his political influence to facilitate an illegal real estate scam, as well as running over a Hispanic gang member and murdering the only witness who could link him to the hit and run. Stripped of his power and facing indictment, Gilroy planted the gun that he used to kill Rosales in Vic's home and planned to testify against the Strike Team in exchange for a reduced sentence for his own crimes.
Aceveda refused to serve the search warrant on Vic's home, since he knew that Gilroy was the one responsible for Rosales's murder, and he confronted Gilroy with this information. Enraged, Gilroy told Aceveda that he was fired and if he would not serve the warrant, he would would find someone who would. Vic learns from Gilroy's girlfriend that he has planted the gun in his home, and the team tears his home apart looking for the gun. They find it in an air vent inside Vic's daughter's room. Enraged at planting a loaded gun in his child's room, Vic and the rest of the team ambushed Gilroy at his home while he was preparing to flee the country. Furious at the betrayal by his friend, Vic prepares to kill Gilroy with the gun, but was unable to bring himself to do it. Gilroy begged Vic to do it, yelling at him that he is no better. Vic said that he was better than him, and arrested him, taking Gilroy to the Barn.
Gilroy spent four months in jail while waiting for his sentence. After posting bail, he was sentenced to house arrest with an ankle transmitter, on the condition that he gather evidence against Vic and the Strike Team as Lanie Kellis and the DA wanted to make a case against Vic. To achieve this, they sent him to meet with Vic to ask for his help to get out of the country. Gilroy, drunk, eventually breaks down to Vic, revealing the plan and begging for his forgiveness. Instead of killing Gilroy or sending him back to prison, the Strike Team takes pity on Gilroy and help him escape to Mexico, but they promise to kill him if he ever returns.
Years after he fled to Mexico, it is revealed that Gilroy had died, suffering cirrhosis of the liver after having asphyxiated on his own vomit. His funeral was sparsely attended and Shane refused to attend at all.