SOUTHLAND RECAP: "DERAILED"
A dead gangster in a discarded chest is the result of several failed attempts on a witness’s life. Dewey flips his lid… and a squad car. Adams holds down the fort while witness- seeking bullets rain through her windows.
The cops find a large chest on a hill overlooking LA. Inside the chest is a body with tattoos all over it. The discovery is sure to derail any holiday plans the cops had...
But before that happens, the day begins like any other. Daisy is strumming her guitar in Sherman’s bed, and he promises he’ll be coming to watch her perform that evening. Dewey pushes through the doors of a club and is greeted by the morning sun. It looks like he’s had a rough night, but rather than going home to sleep it off, Dewey unlocks his car door and begins putting on his police uniform. Cooper offers the guy doing yard work at his house a cup of coffee.
Sal wheels his grill from the garage to his patio, speaking with Detective Russ Clarke all the while. The neighbors ar fighting loudly, and Russ can hear them on Sal’s end. Apparently, Russ and Sal are also neighbors, but Russ hasn’t been around since his wife, Dina, asked him to leave. As Sal preps the grill, he waves at Dina across the street. He tells Russ to come to the barbeque tonight. Dina will be there and Sal is sure that she wants Russ to show up. When the conversation ends, Sal asks his daughter- Kim- if she wants to help him grill tonight, but is enraged when he discovers she’s made other plans. He tries to explain that this holiday is about honoring those who gave their lives for our country. The argument ends with her storming off and saying she hates him. Just then, the neighbors begin screaming at each other again, and Sal- already pissed- storms over there.
Bryant tells the other detectives that they let Marta Ruiz go. Marta is the head of The Avenues Gang, the one who’s made several attempts on their witness- Janella’s- life. Her bail had been set for a million dollars, but she paid it. One of the detectives claims they could get her on the grounds that she is an illegal alien and deport her, but Bryant says that her lawyer claimed asylum. They can’t send Marta back to Mexico where the Cartel is looking to kill her. Bryant is pacing nervously because he has taken custody of Janella, and they’ve already tried to kill her twice. Just then, Janella walks by and tells Bryant that she’s finished her homework and is going to do some work with the explorers. Sammy urges her to stay close.
Later, Bryant argues with the defendant’s lawyer who is trying to get Marta’s trial delayed. Bryant knows that they only want to postpone the date so they can have enough time to kill his witness. Bryant asks the defense attorney if Marta is threatening him, also. Later they consult with an FBI agent who says he’ll try to get an administrative order for her removal. If not, he’ll talk to an immigration administrator who’ll get her trial moved up. Bryant explains that they’ve already done all that, so the agent is only left with the promise that they’ll do their best.
Somewhere, in the same city, an ugly group of gangsters sit in the room of a dilapidated building. Two guys take a blowtorch to a pair of handcuffs, heating them for some diabolical purpose. In the center of the room sits a man in a chair, tapping his feet nervously. The tattoos covering his body are strikingly similar to the tattoos on the body the police will find in the chest later that day. Marta walks around the chair asking the man- Chuco- why her son is in jail while he runs free. Chuco defends himself by claiming that it’s not easy to smoke a bitch right in the middle of downtown. He’s talking about his failure to eliminate the detective’s witness in front of the court house. Marta isn’t amused. Neither is the guy who steps up putting a gun to the back of Chuco’s head and blows his brains out.
Brown confronts Dewey about his drinking problem. Smelling the booze on his breath, she demands that he take a sick day or a PTO. They argue. Dewey explains that he has no TO days left, that he’s hit rock bottom but he’ll take care of his problems as soon as gets some time off. Brown and Dewey meet Sherman and Cooper at some hilltop overlooking the city of Los Angeles, near Dodger Stadium. They’ve found a chest discarded there, with the lid open. The lid is smeared with blood, and inside the chest they find the aforementioned body. The body sports a tattoo of Jesus Malverde, the Patron Saint for drug dealers. Dewey has to take a leak, and in his absence Brown confesses to the other officers that she’s had enough of Dewey’s shit. She’s going to turn him in. Cooper supports her move. Sherman gets a phone call and assures Daisy that he’ll be there later.
Detective Samuel Bryant hasn’t seen Janella since she left to do work with the explorers. He begins to panic because nobody knows where she is. He remembers that she had a boyfriend on Grape Street. Just then, the detectives get a phone call regarding the body the cops have found near the stadium. They make the connection that the body probably belongs to the shooter outside the courthouse. The detectives leave to meet Sal near the stadium while Bryant tries to reach Janella.
Bryant makes contact with Janella’s boyfriend and finds her close by, hanging out with his friends. Bryant demands that Janella come with him and as they leave the boyfriend makes a suspicious phone call. Bryant phones Detective Adams, who is enjoying lunch with a friend. He asks Adams to take Janella in for a few days, to which she consents.
Sal is angered when his wife tells him that their daughter will be spending the night at a friend’s house, not their barbeque. He also learns that Dina wants Russ to come back. Sal promises that he’ll get Russ to come home tonight. After taking a look at his daughter’s facebook profile, Sal has a question regarding a friend’s post: “What is sexting?” he asks his co-workers. Sal is even more disappointed to learn that the word is exactly what it sounds like. Anger becomes rage when he discovers that the girls are going out to a rave party. He goes out in search of his daughter.
Janella’s boyfriend turns out to be a turncoat. He steps out of a car with some cholo gangsters and walks into a run down building guarded by other thugs. He sits in a chair in the middle of the room, nervously tapping his feet. Marta walks in and asks where the girl is. The boy says that he had her, just like he promised he would, but the police came and got her. Marta is displeased and reminds the kid that he owes her money. She demands that he get the girl to come out of hiding for her. The kid, who can’t be more than sixteen, demonstrates his disinterest in his girlfriend by lifting his shirt where the words TRUST NO BITCH are tattooed across his stomach in large, bold letters. Marta is not amused. She explains that if he fucks up again, his whole family goes.
Janella and Adams are hanging at Adam’s pad. The cops have assembled a ‘round-the-clock security detail outside. Cooper points out to Sherman that he’s going20to miss his girlfriend’s thing. Janella wants to stay in for the evening, so Adams leaves to get some food and entertainment. In her absence, Janella’s traitorous boyfriend attempts to stroll into Adam’s house. The kid is intercepted by Officers Sherman and Cooper who deny him access, calling Adams in on the situation. Janella comes to the door and tries to validate the kid’s presence, but Adams returns and makes the boy leave.
Dewey pulls the car over because he has to take another leak. Brown is dismayed because of all the places Dewey stops to take a piss; it has to be a liquor store. She grabs the radio and makes a call.
Later, back at the station, Dewey has passed out in the driver’s seat with Brown in the back of the car. Dewey asks her if she wants to get some food, but she does not. Brown says they are going to wait here for a minute. After a moment, Dewey gets wise to what Brown intends to do. “You’re not turning me in,” he begins shouting, turning the key in the ignition and taking off. Brown is trapped in the back of the squad car, screaming, while Dewey loses his mind and begins driving like a maniac. He ignores her as she pleads for him to stop the car. An intense driving session ensues as Dewey pulls the car into the empty LA River, doing his best rendition of the race at the end of Grease Lightning. Unfortunately, he isn’t racing anybody and the whole scenario ends with the car flipped ass-over-teakettle, tires spinning.
A bloodied officer Brown calls in the emergency and Cooper and Sherman are forced to leave their guard-post to help, leaving Adams alone with Janella. They arrive and Dewey is carried off on a stretcher. Brown is a mixture of angry and sad. Cooper tries to comfort her by saying that Dewey will get the help he needs.
Russ makes his peace with Dina. They hug and kiss it out. Sal contacts his daughter by phone to learn that she is high as a kite. He pleads with her to tell her where she is, but she won’t disclose her whereabouts. She tells him she loves him. All he can do is advise her to drink lots of water as she hangs up on him.
Adams and Janella are setting the dinner table, talking about what they are celebrating on this holiday. A squad car has parked out front, replacing Sherman and Cooper as security. An officer-down call is placed anonymously which calls the back-up security off its current post. For the second time, Adams is left exposed. The anonymous call was made by a member of one of The Avenues Gang.
Lights from outside the windows of Adam’s house give her cause to head upstairs and grab some firearms; a pistol and a shotgun. When she returns to the stairway she finds that Janella has followed her up, a look of concern written across the girl’s face as she eyes Adam’s gun. Adams tells her not to worry, she’s just being cautious, but at that moment they hear a crash from downstairs. An intruder has just broken in. Adams calls in an emergency and, pushing Janella into the bathroom, hands the young girl her pistol instructing her to use it only if necessary.
Adams closes the door and cocks the shotgun. She waits atop the stairs for the bad guys to make the first move. One of the gangsters steps into view and is immediately blown away by buckshot. Adams moves downstairs, quietly hoping that her enemy’s footsteps will betray their position. When she hears feet, though, sh e is dismayed to find that the sounds are coming from up above her. One of the baddies had gotten by her, and was headed towards the bathroom where Janella is hiding.
When the thug pushes through the door he laughs at what he finds on the other side. Janella has the gun raised, but looks too frightened to actually pull the trigger. He asks if she’s going to shoot him, but Adams steps in from behind and saves Janella the hastle. With two dead thugs, Adams locks Janella in the bathroom and heads back downstairs. The gangsters are on the run, booking it towards their car. Adams steps onto her patio, pumping round after round into the fleeing vehicle, not even ducking for cover when one of the cholos pulls out an Uzi, spraying bullets all around her. Not one hits their mark.
By the time the detectives arrive, the bad guys have taken off. Bryant finally gets his request for Janella to be enrolled in witne ss protection approved.
Sherman watches Daisy perform, but later that night she tells him she’ll be heading back to New York. The sudden breakup is not what he was expecting.
While he’s manning the grill, Sal’s daughter returns looking like hell run-over. She falls in his arms crying. Sal cries too, thankful that she’s returned safe to him.
Russ and Dina are crossing the street to join Sal at his party when they hear the neighbors screaming at each other again. Russ says that maybe if they invite Larry over, the two can make peace for the night and stop fighting. He tel ls Dina that he’ll meet her at Sal’s, and turns to knock on Larry’s door where the shouts are coming from. At Sal’s place, everyone has turned their heads to the sky to watch the fireworks.
Russ knocks on Larry’s door with smile which evaporates when he finds the man pointing a gun at him. Russ raises his arms in defense and begs the man, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, don’t!” but it’s too late. Larry has made up his mind. He fires two or three bullets into Detective Russ Clarke’s chest and turns back into the house. Inside his wife is screaming about how they shouldn’t have a gun in the house for this very reason and begs for Larry to put the gun down. Her words are cut off suddenly by another gunshot.
Across the street, Sal isn’t sure if the last explosion he heard was from the fireworks overhead or something else.
Russ lies dying on Larry’s doorstep, but he has a magnificent view of the fireworks, celebrating those who have died in service of our country. From somewhere behind him there is a final gunshot and the episode ends.
Well, that’s how the season wraps up for all you "Southland" fans. This was certainly one of the most interesting episodes of the first season installments, which is good because they were all interesting. Keep your fingers crossed for Detective Russ Clarke. It would be mighty unfortunate if on the night he finally gets back with his wife his luck takes such a fatal turn.
-- JONATHAN FRIEDLER