Southland, TV review: As the sun-bleached LA noir draws to a close our law enforcers are all well on the way to burnout


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The Independent Culture

If you felt Channel 4's Babylon cast a harsh light on the Metropolitan Police Service last Sunday, then you haven't seen Southland, which has had LAPD locked in TV drama's interrogation room since it first aired in 2009.

The show's fifth and final series began on More4 last night, and by now our law enforcers are all well on the way to burnout – not that they were bright eyed or bushy tailed to begin with.

Officer Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie from The O.C.) has just received a medal for bravery, but does that make him a better cop? His partner Detective Bryant (Shawn Hatosy) doesn't think so and decided to leave Sherman's congratulatory drinks early to visit a traumatised pensioner. Has Bryant become too emotionally involved? Or is Sherman now too detached to protect and serve? In Southland's complex moral universe that's no easy question to answer.

These troubled public servants have always been more interesting than the average TV cop, but as the sun-bleached LA noir draws to a close, it is Detective Lydia Adams (the ever-regal Regina King) I'm most rooting for. Currently, she'd rather do overtime on a grisly rape case, than go home to her newborn baby, so clearly her Hollywood ending is still some way off.