Character Spotlight: Bates Motel’s Deputy Zack Shelby  

On A&E’s Bates Motel, Deputy Zack Shelby (Mike Vogel) first appears as this concerned, do-gooder deputy looking out for his town and its people who instantly takes a liking to the one and only Norma Bates. But could that all be a front? 

Copyright A&E Television Networks

Copyright A&E Television Networks

By Tara Moore—

Deputy Zack Shelby is not the simple small-town cop we though he was after the first two episodes. Now that Norma is in full “protect the family” mode and she’s cozying up to Shelby, we’re seeing a much more complex, intriguing if not suspicious side of Shelby that even Norman is picking up on in a way that his mother won’t acknowledge just yet.

Last week the good deputy let Norma in on a town secret—things are not exactly what they seem. The money, life and upkeep of the city is not possible off the small-town economy Norma thinks she’s landed in. Unknown to her is the role drugs play in the local economy. But Shelby, Norman, and even Emma and Dylan are in on the town’s lucrative pot business. In fact, Shelby seems more involved than we know so far.

Adding to his air of mystery? The lonely Asian girl whose manga book Norman’s been reading and who happens to live locked up in Shelby’s basement. How long has she been there? Did Shelby lock her up to protect her, or violate her? Is he part of the crew that kidnapped her and chained her up in the motel bathroom of the room where Norman found her manga book? All of these questions make us take a step back about this protector role he’s presenting to Norma.

After Norman realized the tool belt he kept from Keith Summers is missing, Norma finds out that Shelby himself discovered it in Norman’s room. Holding it hostage though, he lets Norma know that he’s there to protect her and will do whatever she needs him to in the best interest of her and Norman. But he didn’t give the belt back, or destroy it. What’s that about, Deputy?

As Norman points out to his mother, Shelby holding the belt hostage is bad for business all around. Who knows what sort of demands he’ll make of them now that he owns their innocence? And more so, what will he say when he finds Norman in the basement with his captive? Questions, and more questions.

Tonight should get interesting now that we know Norman suffers from blackouts more frequently that even he knows at this point, but the more interesting story line is Emma Decody’s obsession with the Asian girl and Shelby’s involvement. Things could get tricky for the young psycho in the making, but Shelby’s no peach either.

Let’s see how he cleans things up tonight.