The Fall of

Shields Of Justice


Season Seven was screened and work at Tilsbury was ceaseless.

Shot back to back with Season Eight, many of the staff were now pulling 18 hour shifts. Actors bickered and argued, crew members turned to substance abuse in order to stay awake.

Only Murphy and Elkins remained close throughout all this, joking and laughing as if nothing was wrong in the world.


The House With Closed Shutters:



The reason for Murphy and Elkin's happiness was soon to be revealed.

On the 4th of July 1979, photographs surfaced of a wedding ceremony that had been performed at a secret location in Hawaii.

A small congregation of the cast had gathered to witness the marriage of Rock Murphy to Stryke Elkins. Unbeknownst to them, the entire ceremony had been photographed by one of Eli's private eyes.

Eli flew into a rage, ranting to his secretary about the disgraceful nature of same sex marriages. He tore down the Season Eight premiere posters from his office wall and scrawled on them in permanent marker - drawing images of erect penises with phrases such as; 'Not in the ass!' and 'God hates knob jockeys!' beside them.

Eli then downed a bottle of scotch, vomited and left the premises, driving at high speed in his Custom AC Cobra.


Balked At The Altar:


Details of the next few hours are sketchy, but it is known that Eli returned home.

His head butler heard arguing from Caesar's home office and entered, seeing his master dressed in what was described as; his 'ceremonial suit'.

Eli was talking to his lawyers, making sure that his contracts were watertight. He order all Shields Merchandise to be withdrawn - Tilsbury goons were sent to retrieve stock from cinemas and broadcasting stations across the country.

Agents in Europe and Asia did likewise. His network was unstoppable, within hours adverts were even being torn from unsold magazines.

It was a scorched earth policy.

Eli then went to his storeroom, ordering his staff to destroy everything he owned that related to the Shields Of Justice production.

Alone, and in his vault - Eli took Grape's old shotgun and loaded it, downing bottle after bottle of expensive bourbon.

It is thought the Eli considered suicide, but there was an anger in him that could not be quenched.

Instead he burned his most treasured of possessions - the original 'Justice' manuscript. At approximately 8.35pm, Eli crawled to his Cobra, tears staining his cheeks, and drove in the direction of Tilsbury Studios once more.

This time, with another plan.




The Season Seven/Eight wrap party was in full swing when Eli pulled up outside the studio lot.

His mob ties had served him well, and already gangs of heavies were getting to work around his studio.

Eli sat patiently in his car and soiled himself (according to forensic reports, this occurred at around 9.45pm). He then got out of the car and sauntered up to sound stage 5, bursting through the doors with a salvo of shotgun fire.

The party came to a halt as dozens of cast and crew escaped out into the main lot. Eli had taken out some of the studio lights that were being used, and in the panic that ensued, no one noticed the smell of gasoline that permeated the air.

At approximately10.15pm, the first of the fires broke out at Tisbury studios, rising high into the air. As Eli had instructed, the word 'Sodom' had been graffitied over the entrance gate.

Inside sound stage 5, Murphy, Elkins and several Hispanic workers had been rounded up by Eli - who held them at gun point, barking incoherently like a dog.

"He was ranting and screaming...," Elkins later recalled. "It was terrifying, he barked and wailed, shouting how he would overthrow these cities and the plains, people and all that grew here...real crazy."

By now the police had been called and firemen were struggling to keep the flames subdued.

At approximately 10.25pm, a falling support beam, floored Eli, giving the hostages a chance to escape. Murphy and Elkins went after him, but by now the blaze was out of control.

Fleeing into the remains of Tilsbury archives, Eli took his own life - shooting himself with the very gun that had been used to negotiate his fortune.

By 11pm the flames had reduced the lot to rubble and fire fighters instead put to work in preventing it from spreading.

Eli's body was found amongst the original stock from the series - all black and ashen, burnt to a cinder.

tilsbury aftermath

Tilsbury Studios had been destroyed and along with it, what remained of Television's greatest achievement.

For the survivor's though, their ordeal had only just begun.


Orphans Of The Storm:


In the weeks following the Tilsbury fire, Shields Of Justice was purged from memory - legal actions prevented the words 'shields' and 'justice' from appearing in the same sentence and when journalists abbreviated it to the acronym SOJ, that too was banned.

Headlines the next day read; 'Tilsbury - crash and burns', coining the phrase. In Caesar's will and testament, the remains of Eli's fortune was spent on destroying his legacy. Merchandise was bought for extortionate prices, only to be destroyed.

The cast and crew tried to move on, but as contracts were checked, Eli's true cunning was revealed. He had gained ownership of everything, even citing obscure loopholes that deemed him the sole possessor of his actors likenesses.

They would never be able to work again.

By the start of the next century, more evidence remained to support the existence of UFOs than there was to prove that Shields had existed at all.

In 1985 Murphy and Elkins divorced, wishing to put their painful past behind them.

In a brief interview with time magazine, Murphy said; 'we never argued or fell out at all...but the shadow of that night could not be escaped.'

Justice was lost.


Out From The Shadow:


Now, nearly thirty years later - Shields Of Justice has been all but forgotten.

There was no money to be made from something so linked with disaster and those that did speak out were silenced by the very laws the show chose to idolize.

In 2008 though, an obscure change to copyright laws in the USA, allowed some of the cast to reunite. With the help of producer Lars Ginsburg, original footage of the series was sourced from private stock.

These betamax recordings were to form the basis of the century's biggest restoration project. With the help of public outcries and countless petitions, Shields Of Justice and it's original cast were finally released from their contracts.

Ginsburg's own company - Lazarus Reels has been tirelessly working to restore lost footage. And with the help of many individuals, the original series has begun to step from the shadows.

In 2012 - Justice shall rise again!