The third season of Southland premieres on TNT on Tuesday, January 4th at 10 p.m. Eastern time. Given the drama’s turbulent past, being abruptly cancelled by NBC and then being given another chance by TNT, Warner Bros. Television and John Wells Productions, this announcement alone is a victory. But the cop drama’s real power comes from well…the LAPD cops, like Chickie Brown (Arija Bareikis) as we the viewer essentially ride along with them during their day-to-day jobs policing the streets of Los Angeles.
Certainly this is not a new premise for a television show and Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue and Boomtown (also cancelled by NBC after one season) both did this very well but now the CSI franchise and a host of other reality crime shows focus more on the science of catching bad guys while Southland finds the drama in the life of cops, how dealing with criminals affects them personally and professionally.
“Often, we don’t catch the bad guy if there is a bad guy. And even when we do it’s such a disturbing ride that you’re not exactly sleeping quietly home at the end of the episode. It’s a brutal look at the kind of rough world that the cops encounter. We’re a slice-of-life for what cops go through and I think that will appeal to certain sort of sophisticated viewer who wants something that’s a little more honest in the portrayal of Los Angeles and police officers in general,” said Ben McKenzie, who plays Officer Ben Sherman, during a telephone conference call with media.
McKenzie’s character started out as the rookie on the show, but he’s definitely gotten the lay of the land now from his training officer and unofficial mentor, Officer John Cooper (Michael Cudlitz) who has definitely shown him the ropes as well as the dark side of being a cop.
Season Three begins six to nine months after season two ended and finds Cooper still dealing with his physical limitations and a nasty substance abuse problem. Both Detective “Sal” Salinger (Mike McBrady) and Sammy Bryant (Shawn Hotosy) are dealing with the women in their lives. Russell Clarke (Tom Everett Scott)is now out of the hospital and working in the Captain’s office and frustrated that he’s not on the street, while his former partner Detective Lydia Adams (Regina King) finds herself dealing with a new female partner this season, and one with more seniority.
“Lydia’s never worked with a partner, with a woman before and this character has been on the force longer than Lydia. It’s similar to what goes on with John Cooper and Ben Sherman but the only difference is Lydia’s been around longer than Ben Sherman’s character so she’s a little more vocal about not liking the way her partner does her job. Like, Ben Sherman definitely does not agree with all the stuff that he or John Cooper say but it’s his training officer so you kind of catch his disdain for some of the looks he gives Cooper,” said King (also during a teleconference with media).
The show’s locations and its characters are dark and gritty and visual in its depiction of the underbelly of Los Angeles. For this season, the show has shot in South Los Angeles, Grand Central Market and the Terminal Annex. Here’s to season three!