Shawn is the creator and executive producer of The Shield and The Chicago Code. He is a native of Rockford, Illinois. He attended Middlebury College, where he earned a joint degree in Theater and Economics and began writing plays for the first time.
After moving to Hollywood,
Shawn was nominated for a Humanitas Prize in 1998
Shawn has been nominated twice for an Emmy for his writing on The Shield
Shawn's son was cast as Connie Resiler's son, Brian, in seasons one and two of The Shield
In 2004 Shawn was presented with the CAN (Cure Autism Now) Media Award for helping to raise autism awareness.
Shawn is married to Cathy Cahlin Ryan, who plays the role of Corrine Mackey on The Shield.
Shawn: (On the The Shield and it's final season) It holds a special place in my heart and I feel the show deserves an incredible ending, and we're writing towards that, But we don't want to go to quickly. While the actors aren't too keen, these characters deserve some kind of conclusion. It feels like Season Seven is going to be the right time. It certainly feels like long enough that we can take a great deal of pride in what we were able to do as a show, what we were able to do for FX, what FX was able to do for us, and end it appropriately.
Shawn: (On developing The Unit while filming The Shield at the same time) Yeah, that was tough. Fortunately we only did 13 episodes of The Unit, as opposed to the full 22, but there was about three months of last year, from about mid-September to mid-December, where both shows were in production. I relied on my other writers and it says something that the situation gave them more responsibility and more control than in years past, and we probably had our best season. That tells you something.
Shawn:(On David Mamet, creator of The Unit) Mamet is someone that the networks, the studio, I think, in the past viewed a little dangerously, And I'm hoping that any success we might have with this will change their opinions of that, because I've never met someone as committed and professional and intent on making good dramas as he is.
Shawn:(On The Unit and Eric Haney, who's book Inside Delta Force, is what the show is based upon)Do we make it seem cool? I think we do. What we're trying to do is tell Eric's story. I think Eric is cool... I don't think there's a video game quality to our show, but I think there is something to be said for having a purpose the way Eric did when he spent his life in the military, for showing the sacrifices that these men and their families make.
Shawn:(On the cast of The Unit) We have a great cast, when you have these familiar actors plus these new faces, it's a great combination of familiar people with new and exciting people. With David's(Mamet) involvement, we were lucky to have our pick of actors. If you don't have the right people saying those lines, then audiences aren't going to watch.
Shawn: (On Forest Whitaker joining The Shield) He's going to be a great foil for the guys on our show. Forest has always impressed me with his range. He's got an incredible sweetness and soulfulness but also strength. It's a rare combination for an actor and that appealed to me with this character.
Shawn: Cathy and I have close friends whose children are affected by autism. It's shocking how little is known about what causes the disorder and how overwhelming living with autism can be.
Shawn: If I were a criminal, I certainly wouldn't want Vic Mackey to exist. But people like me don't want to know if a Vic Mackey exists. If it did, we would condemn it, demand that person's badge and go on about civil rights. But in the back of our hearts, if there is somebody who we felt was keeping the good guys safe and keeping the bad guys on their toes, then I think we're all secretly for it.
Shawn Ryan: The payment for certain sins can be delayed. But they can't be avoided.