Southland, TV review: This last-ever episode was as pessimistic ever
Ellen E Jones
Ellen is The Independent's TV critic. She writes a daily review of Last Night's TV and a weekly 'Inside TV' column for the i paper, as well as a column on general topics for the main paper most Wednesdays. Ellen is a former Hollywood correspondent and a contributing editor to Little White Lies, she's written on TV, film, lifestyle, travel and politics for publications including the Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, Esquire and Total Film.
Thursday 17 April 2014
After five seasons of unrelenting (no) fun in the LA sun, was it too much to expect a happy ending for the seasoned cops of Southland (More4)? Fans of this intermittently excellent, yet never hugely popular, procedural, have long since grown used to pessimistic plot turns. This last ever-episode wasn't likely to be an exception. Especially after last week's Breaking Bad-esque desert jaunt, in which Officers Cooper (Michael Cudlitz) and Lucero (Anthony Ruivivar) were kidnapped by a couple of crazed meth-heads.
The happiest ending was reserved for Detective Lydia Adams (the ever-regal Regina King) who finally has a friend/colleague she can rely on in Det Robinson, and has also finally taken to motherhood – after a fashion. She even took little Christopher to visit a crime scene with her in his baby carrier. "Maybe for his birthday you could take him to the Dahmer house?" suggested Detective Russell Clarke. Yep, Lydia's old partner was back, and with him, her hope of lasting romance. Or, failing that, a reliable babysitter.
There was also something satisfying, in a different way, about witnessing Officer Ben Sherman complete his transformation from idealistic "boot" to thoroughly bent copper. If you remember actor Ben McKenzie as the tiresomely strait-laced Ryan in The O.C., that satisfaction was doubled. The list of people he's betrayed now includes his supposed blood brother Detective Sammy Bryant (Shawn Hatosy), so that promotion can't be far off.
Only the fate of stalwart beat cop John Cooper seemed unfair. He's overcome addiction, admirably made peace with being a gay man in the macho LAPD and provided this nihilistic cop show with a comforting moral centre. Did he really have to go out like that?
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