Friday, April 10, 2009

"Southland" The Realest Show On TV



Southland is the realest show on TV this spring. It takes you inside the lives of cops, criminals, victims and their families. What I love about this show is when things get ugly and the drama begins there is no staged or sappy background music there to let you know something’s about to occur. When crap goes down, it just happens. That’s real life. When gang bangers do a drive by shooting there is no dramatic Latin or gangster rap music playing in the background. They just shoot. If a stalker is going to bash you in the back of the head, he’s not going to grab you and talk about how he outsmarted you long enough for someone to come save the day. He’s just going to bash you up side the head – no talking, no warning. That’s what Southland displays – realness not many other non-cable shows display.

The show will shock you – though, its more than believable. I’m no cop but I’m sure it’s what really goes down, and if it isn’t, show creator, John Wells, and the cast do a great job of making it seem authentic. There are moments when you wonder if this shoe belongs on HBO – cast members throw out occasional bleeped out curse words.

Former “O.C.” actor, Ben McKenzie initially attracted me to the show. He plays the young rookie cop, Ben Sherman, who, at times, appears to be intimidated by the crazy situations he’s propelled into as a new member of the LAPD. Michael Cudlitz plays John Cooper, a seasoned Los Angeles cop, assigned to train Ben Sherman. He’s a hard-ass with little remorse, although I have a feeling there’s more depth to come with this character.

Cudlitz and McKenzie are joined by Regina King, who plays Detective Lydia Adams. Adams is a very thoughtful LAPD member who lives with and is the primary caregiver of her mother. Other cast members include Tom Everett Scott as Detective Russell Clarke, Michael McGrady as Detective Daniel “Sal” Salinger, Kevin Alejandro as gang detective Nate Moretta, Shawn Hatosy as gang detective Sammy Bryant, and actress Arija Bareikis plays patrol officer Chickie Brown.

I’ve read some complaints about the simplicity of the dialogue and the characters. Well, for one, there’s only been the pilot episode shown. Two, in real life dialogue is usually simple. These people are LA cops, not college professors. They’re straight and to the point, as they should be.

Southland airs Thursdays at 10/9C on NBC. It’s safe to say I’ve found my favorite show for the spring.

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