31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Cops with character,
This review is from: Southland - Season 1-2 [DVD]  (DVD)
Southland is a gritty police drama set in LA, where the focus is as much on the characters as the crimes. It throws together a large ensemble cast of both patrol officers and detectives, giving equal time to each. Rather than forcing connections between them, the show is quite happy to have patrol discover a crime, then have the detectives take over the scene with little or no chit chat.
The tone and visual style is striking. The show aims to show the seedy underbelly of LA, and uses an almost documentary style to help this, as the camera avoids smooth TV shots to feel more like a fly on the wall show at times. It certainly doesn't pull any punches when it comes to the crimes and characters, showing them warts and all.
The large main cast includes rookie patrolman Ben Sherman and his trainer John Cooper; another patrol officer "Chickie" Brown and her various partners; Homicide partners Lydia Adams and Russell Clarke; and Sammy Bryant and Nate Moretta, of the gang unit. Of these, Sherman, Adams and Bryant are the most immediately interesting. Sherman has the classic rookie storyline, but he is a rich Beverley Hills boy who became a cop to deal with some personal demons. Regina King plays Adams as a fascinating mix of emotional but effective, never falling into cliché, while Bryant is a young detective with an even younger wife who drives him to distraction.
There's a good mix of ongoing plots and crime-of-the-week, including a teenage girl prepared to testify against a gang, a series of home invasions, a lost police weapon, and a large number of murders. The detective and patrol stories are kept well balanced, but more importantly it's the character's private lives that really draw you in. Whether it's Bryant bickering with his wife, Sherman and Cooper becoming friends, or Adams dealing with her elderly mother, they come over as real people, and you want to find out more.
Southland is consistently good, and at only seven episodes in this season is well worth your time.