Despite the gritty realism of its on-the-street look at the Los Angeles Police Department, Southland has always been more about the cops than the cases they work. In Season 5, which premieres Wednesday at 10/9c on TNT, the show takes its character-driven focus even further.
"This season is going to deal a lot more with all of our personal demons and putting them to bed or the inability to put them to bed," Michael Cudlitz tells TVGuide.com. "There are issues that have always been there, but now they're getting magnified. ... You're going to see a lot of what makes these people tick and what makes them explode."
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The new season finds Officer John Cooper (Cudlitz) returning to his role as a training officer only to be disgusted by his rookie's jaded view of the world. But it's the complications between John and the other man in his life — a long-term lover viewers are just now meeting — that will threaten John's hard-fought sobriety. Elsewhere, Detective Lydia Adams (Regina King) struggles with balancing her work with her new baby, and Officers Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie) and Sammy Bryant (Shawn Hatosy) carry on a tense partnership that's been broken since Ben shot a pimp (possibly for reasons that go beyond heroic bravery). Read on for more of what you can expect for all the characters this season...read more
Drama, comedy, reality: This is one of those nights where TV is firing on all cylinders.
Let's start with the heavy lifting. One of TV's most encouraging survival stories returns with the fifth-season premiere of TNT's uncommonly gritty police drama Southland (10/9c), a network reject (from NBC's darkest period) that thrives on cable, with a sharper focus and a determined avoidance of procedural cliché.
Each episode is like a graphic tour of duty on the streets of Los Angeles, and in the opener, it's not always immediately clear if the patrol cops and detectives in the line of fire are witnessing a real crime or make believe or some other sort of scam. (One vignette involving a brawl between naked men in a sauna looks like an outtake from Spartacus.) "Treat it like a circus," seasoned training office John Cooper (Michael Cudlitz) advises his latest ride-along, an Afghan War vet with too much attitude. The media circus threatens to consume Cooper's former partner Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie), newly decorated and enjoying the attention a bit too much. Grounding these characters in the mundane distractions of unblemished real life, Detective Lydia Adams (Regina King) is adjusting to single motherhood with...read more
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