Season after season, critics and fans alike have championed TNT’s Southland as one of television’s best dramas. This year, the show has not only solidified its impassioned fan base, but also picked up some new young-adult devotees along the way.
In its fourth season, Southland centered its focus on four primary characters played by four outstanding actors:
• Michael Cudlitz as Officer John Cooper, who bounced back from surgery and an addiction to painkillers only to be put under the microscope of a new partner.
• Shawn Hatosy as Officer Sammy Bryant, who chose to give up being a detective and return to the streets as a uniformed patrolman.
• Regina King as Detective Lydia Adams, who faces probably the biggest challenge of her life, becoming a mother.
• Ben McKenzie as Officer Ben Sherman, who became a full-fledged officer only to risk his career and the life of his new partner.
And speaking of new partners, this year’s Southland featured terrific performances by Lucy Liu and Dorian Missick. Lucy Liu’s Officer Jessica Tang gave Cooper a run for his money when it comes to personal baggage. And Dorian Missick’s Detective Ruben Robinson provided exactly the kind of experienced parental insight Lydia needed as she prepares to embark on her new life as a mother. We also enjoyed great guest performances by Lou Diamond Phillips, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Marla Gibbs, Carl Lumbly, Tracey Walter and, as the unforgettable Officer Dewey Dudek, C. Thomas Howell.
TNT’s Southland found new ways this year to get under our skin with scenes and events that electrify us emotionally:
• Ben lashing out with a venomous rage we’ve never seen before when he attacks a pimp and has to be dragged off by Sammy.
• Lydia finally coming to terms with her pregnancy after being attacked and stabbed by a gang member.
• Tang hiding a toy gun’s safety tip in order to cover up a horrible mistake.
• John using his own personal story as a gay man to prevent a teen from committing suicide.
• Sammy lying slumped over and bleeding in his patrol car after he and Ben are slammed in a collision.
• John and Tang discovering a body in the wheel well of a minivan (a macabre image I’m sure few of us will ever forget).
We are very proud of Southland and grateful to everyone involved in the series, including executive producers John Wells, Chris Chulack and Jonathan Lisco; creator Ann Biderman; and our partners at Warner Bros. Television. We look forward to going deeper into the lives of Southland‘s extraordinary characters and the streets they struggle to keep safe next year.
President, Head of Programming
TNT, TBS, Turner Classic Movies (TCM)