If anyone has ever watched Southland, you know that this is not just another cop show. I don’t know how else to stress the second half of that sentence. After a brief stint on network television, TNT had the sense to pick up this dramatic series. Southland takes place in the wonderful, yet tension-filled city of Los Angeles, California. As the opening sequence points out, “Only 9,800 police officers patrol the city of Los Angeles, an area of 500 square miles and 4 million people.”
Focusing on a handful of law enforcement individuals, these men and women deal with everything from racial issues, media involvement, homicide, suicide, kidnappings, prostitution, narcotics, gangs, and their own infidelity. The storytelling that viewers experience is fast-paced and relentless. There are a variety of sequences taking place all at once during an episode as the production makes its switch from story to story, all dealing with various situations of the LAPD. The changes are functionally abrupt, and you will find yourself quickly enveloped in the next event unfolding before your eyes. There was such a frantic atmosphere that it was only a few moments into the show that I could tell my own breathing was shorter and faster than normal. That’s what Southland does to you…and I reveled in every minute of it.
Whether it’s the wet-behind-the-ears inexperience of Officer Ben Sherman or the deteriorating marriage of Detective Bryant, you will see what they see, you will run where they run and you will feel what they feel. As Officer John Cooper casually points out, “No one calls the cops because they’re happy.” Right away you start to gain an understanding of what a police officer in LA or anywhere else has to deal with. As soon as the police are on a scene, they get to deal with the emotions few want to touch; pain, sadness, distraught, fear, worry; the list goes on.
The experience from the show is truly an existential one. Few productions ever made me feel like I was actually there quite like Southland does. Starring Ben McKenzie, Michael Cudlitz and Regina King (just to name a few), you will find this show is the hands of some very capable talent. TNT’s tagline is ‘We Know Drama.’ With the addition of Southland to an already entertaining lineup, indeed they do.
Tune into TNT this Tuesday, January 12th, at 10:00 Eastern/9:00 Central for the heart-pounding premiere!
Check out TNT’s Southland on the World Wide Web!