Domestic disputes, botched tracheotomies, stolen vehicles, and Tom Sizemore make for another interesting episode in this week’s installment of Southland
Sherman begins his day by sharing a few words with his shrink. She’s moved from her private practice and it’s only her second day with the department. They talk about private school, and Sherman mentions that he used to attend private school until his father walked out on his mom. Then he went to public school. He reveals his family history for those of you who missed it last week. Sherman’s father was a defense attorney who had some seedy clients. At age ten his father split, but one of his clients visited Sherman’s home and beat up his mother while the boy watched.
Stating the obvious, the psychiatrist concluded that this history is what made Sherman want to be a cop. The topic of conversation moves to the point which brought Sherman here today: having to use his firearm. Sherman assures her that he is ok with it. He didn’t enjoy having to pull his gun, but the situation made it unavoidable.
Cooper is waiting outside by the squad car and when Sherman steps out, he busts his balls about going to therapy. When asked if Cooper ever went to therapy, John confesses that he went when his marriage ended. The radio beckons them.
Dante Johnson is a star athlete who’s found himself in a bit of a bind. Officer’s Cooper and Sherman enter his luxurious mansion and learn that the man had thrown a party the night before and his Bentley got stolen. Upon further questioning they learn that the vehicle was actuall taken by some girls Dante had invited into his home. Cooper is shocked when Dante says that he does not want to file a police report. You see, he is married and his wife is out of town. His insurance will take care of the “stolen vehicle” but the problem is that his wife’s dog was in the car when the girls took off with it. He needs the dog. Filing a police report would require that he make a statement involving the girls who jacked his wheels. Johnson does what any God-fearing Christian would do, and tells the cops that he is going to get changed so that they can all go out together to find the bitches that done this. Cooper explains that Johnson has to file a police report, but the man won’t have it. He leaves to change and the radio beckons.
The Pen is Mightier than the Sword
A beautiful woman lies naked and bloody on a bed. A man sits in a chair positioned next to her. He is curled up, rocking himself. Apparently, the woman had started choking and he had tried to give her a tracheotomy. His attempt failed, however, when he severed her carotid artery and she bled to death.
“This looks like a suspicious death,” Sherman states, observing the scene.
Cooper disagrees. “There is suicide, accidental death, and homicide. This is homicide.” He orders the man to be arrested.
The man snaps out of his daze and asks: “Why am I being arrested? I tried to save her life!”
“With a B.I.C. pen?!” Cooper asks.
The action picks up as Cooper weaves the car through Los Angeles streets and traffic. Sherman’s eyes are set on a visual display of their position as he tries to direct them. Evidently shots have been fired somewhere. The car screeches to a halt and Officers Sherman and Cooper burst out, guns drawn to join Dewey and Brown. Four officers have their weapons trained on a woman who’s screaming hysterically with a gun of her own aimed at a dude in a red sports car. The cops manage to get the blonde woman to lower he weapon and move in to cuff her. Dewey realizes that the man in the car is Jimmy freaking Davis… a celebrity. Dewey cracks a smile and shakes Davis’ hand, explaining that he’s a huge fan of his movies. Davis is glad to be recognized, and asks if the girl can be let go. He says he’ll just write her a check. Dewey wants to let Davis go without any problems, but Cooper lays into him because they have to do their job no matter who they run into. Davis complains because he was right in the middle of shooting a movie.
Bearer of Bad News
Detective Adams has a few words with Dr. Tracheotomy’s attorney. The lawyer is upset because his client is being booked for murder, despite his claim that he had attempted to save the victim.
“He should get an award for this!”
“You get rewards for saving lives, not taking them,” Adams retorts.
Detective Clarke converses with Karen Campbell, who is either the victim’s sister or good friend. Clarke explains the grisly way in which her friend had died.
Sherman and Cooper are about to leave the set when a trailer door opens and the director steps out the door, talking on his cell phone. It’s the same guy they had busted for weed the week before- someone Sherman knows from his life before being a cop. The director laughs and smiles because he’d gotten Sherman’s father to defend him for the offense and then hooked up with Sherman’s sister. As a matter of fact, Sherman’s sister is the voice on the other end of the phone. Annoyed, Sherman takes the phone and has a few words with his sister. When he hands the phone back, the guy asks Sherman if he wants to hang out with them later that evening. Sherman looks at the guy walks off with Cooper.
In the car, Cooper asks Sherman again why he became a cop. Cooper is confident that people become cops for one of two reasons; they’re desperate for money, or they want to hold a gun. Cooper says that being cop is a better way to make excess of 30 grand and dig ditches.
Fair Weather Friend
Dewey and Brown stop to get a coffee and Davis joins them. Davis orders a beverage but can’t seem to find his wallet. He asks Dewey to spot him. Dewey goes to pull a few bucks from his wallet and pay, but Davis asks Dewey not to embarrass him.
“Give me a C-note,” he demands, flippantly. Davis pays with Dewey’s hundred and pockets the change. Dewey looks confused but doesn’t say anything. As they prepare to re-enter the car, Davis offers Dewey a cigar. Dewey accepts even though Officer Brown objects: there is no smoking in police vehicle. Davis tells Brown to lighten up and asks her if she’s ever though about getting into the movies, like him. He tries to use his celebrity status to impress her, but she isn’t star-struck like Dewey. She pushes past the two of them and gets in the car. Dewey gets in the backseat with his new buddy.
A car cuts Sherman and Cooper off, slamming into another vehicle before making a run for it. The squad car gives chase. After crashing into another vehicle the passenger jumps out of the car and takes off on foot. Sherman jumps from the vehicle and gives pursuit, while Cooper stays in the car to chase the driver. Sherman’s run takes him through back alleys, and over wire fences. The chase ends with Sherman and Cooper sandwiching the bad guys. Sherman calls in to inform the others that the suspects are in custody.
Serve and Protect
Cooper brings an assault victim outside her bui lding and asks if the guys they’d apprehended were the same guys who’d beat on her. The woman, who looks kind of dude-ish, shakes her head and says that those men were not the guys who’d hurt her. Her buddy calls bullshit, but the woman… if she is a woman, is too nervous to accuse the suspects. Cooper says that he knows what’s going on, that the men come by to hastle her every week. He asks her if there are any more of them.
The victim refuses to say anything which might incriminate the men who have been harassing her.
Cooper assures her by saying: “We’re the police. We will protect you.”
“Look,” she replies, “you seem like a lovely gentleman, but who the hell do you think you’re kidding?”
The conversation appears to be over, but Cooper offers to stay behind in case the victim changes her mind. Sherman heads for the door and they spot a black Bentley cruising down the road with a German-shepherd sitting in the backseat. He asks Cooper if they should call it in, but Cooper says no.
Dewey let Davis go while Brown and Sherman were occupied transferring Davis’ girl from one car to the other. Brown calls Dewey an ass, and he laughs it off.
Sherman asks Cooper if he feels bad about lying to the assault victim about lying to her that they could protect her. Cooper explains that if the cops never lied to the victims, they’d never make any arrests. They are on their way to respond to a call for a domestic dispute. Cooper has dealt with domestic disputes at this location before and warns Sherman to be careful. One minute the woman will beg for them to lock her man up, the next she’ll be trying to claw their eyes out for arresting her husband. When they arrive a man and woman are in heated argument. The woman explains that the man’s been hitting her again. Cooper tries to quiet them down, but is forced to yell himself. He asks where the children are, and the man tells him that they are at school. Arguments continue. Cooper is fed up.
“I’m not coming back here,” he promises them. He tells them to put their hands on his badge so he can divorce them on the spot. When the woman moves to put her hand on Cooper’s badge, the man slaps it away and the fighting continues. Cooper interferes one more time and demands that they place their hands on his badge. He then uses the power vested in him through the State of California to divorce them. Threats ensue from both sides, but the man leaves. Cooper explains to Sherman that if the kids had been there he would have handled it differently, but ultimately the only way to resolve a domestic dispute is to get one of them to leave.
A cell door opens and Brown puts Davis’ girl behind bars. Dewey is not being helpful. In fact, he’s on his cell phone laughing. He takes a moment to ask Brown why she’s so pissed. The answer he receives is perhaps more thorough than he’d hoped for. Brown is fed up with Dewey, like everyone else. Unlike them, however, she had been willing to give Dewey as second chance. No one wants to work with him, she explains, and she gives a shit about her job. By letting Davis go, Dewey put both their asses on the line.
“If this is the way you do police work, I want a new partner,” she threatens.
Dewey asks Brown if she’s on the rag.
Dewey takes off to shoot automatic weapons with Davis at his place in the hills. Girls in bikinis patrol the swimming pool and hot tub. Dewey asks Davis if he has a permit for the automatic weapons. Davis got the guns from his prop guy. A girl asks Dewey if his uniform is a costume and Dewey jokes that he is one of the Village-People. Later, Dewey is getting uncomfortably close with the girl in the hot-tub. He tries to break the ice by telling a sexist joke. Davis leaves Dewey to laugh at the punch-line alone; aware that the company he is in is mostly female. Dewey doesn’t seem to be picking up on his awkwardness, even when he throws an arm over one of the girl’s shoulders and she tries to pull away from him.
Tears and Laughter
Detective Clarke is talking with Karen Campbell. He learns that she is a writer, something he’s always aspired to do. He writes short stories himself. Karen invites Clarke to attend a class she teacher. She’s a very good teacher, she claims. Adams observes from beyond a window while Clarke interviews Ms. Campbell. Conversation moves to the murder victim, who would always go back to the man, even though he hurt her all the time. Karen wonders why some women always go back to men that hurt them.
“I guess some women have a disease,” Clarke commiserates.
“Screw that! Lou Gehrig had a disease… Michael J. Fox has a disease.”
Clarke let’s a moment pass before putting in his two-cents. He lists Franklin J Roosevelt as another person who had a disease. Karen’s tears are dried with laughter, which is short lived. When the tears return, they are harder, accompanied by pained sobs. Once under control, she sighs.
“Oh, God. You’re hilarious,” she tells Clarke, forcing a smile. “Are you married?” she inquires.
“Hmmm… too bad.”
Clarke looks like he wants to say more, but an accusatory look from Adams outside forces him to look down, embarrassed.
Cooper throws an elbow in Sherman’s side because Sherman is hooked into texting on his cell-phone. His joshing is interrupted when a black Bentley pulls up beside the officers. A German-shepherd stares at them from the backseat and the girls up front smile at the law. Cooper pulls them over and asks them for license and registration. Un surprisingly, the vehicle is registered to one Dante Johnson. The driver claims the Dante had given her the car, that she is very good friends with him. In fact, she’s very good friends with lots of people, she claims, inviting the officers to a party. Cooper calls Dante who repeats what he’d said earlier. He doesn’t want the car, just the dog and no police reports! Cooper wishes Dante good luck in the playoffs.
Pants Around the Ankles
Officer Brown looks like she’s calling it a night. She asks her son if he wants to go surfing tomorrow. Her phone rings and Dewey is on the other line begging her for a favor. He sounds desperate, perhaps he’s even crying. He confesses that he’s an asshole and explains that he is an alcoholic. He’s in the ninth step of recovery: making amends. He wants to make amends with Brown, but also needs her to come bail him out of a tight spot. He’s begging on the other line. The phone call is kicked over to Officers Cooper and Sherman who head over to Davis’ place in the hills. They walk in to find Dewey bound to the bed by his own handcuffs. The poor guy has no pants on, he’s drunk, and no one has been listening to his cries for help. The officers laugh at Dewey in his current state, and pull a camera to snap a photo. Cooper refuses to help Dewey.
“You got yourself into this mess, now get yourself out,” he suggests. Cooper looks around and asks Dewey where his gun is. One of the girls had taken it. Cooper walks outside to find a table of partiers, Davis included, watching a girl dance, with Dewey’s belt around her waist. Cooper reclaims Dewey’s gear and tells Davis that he gets a pass today. Next time they have an issue; Dewey had better call his parole officer.
Before they can finish their day, Cooper and Sherman are called back to the address where they’d handled the domestic dispute earlier. The man and woman are at it again, this time their two kids are sitting out front, bags packed, waiting for their aunt to pick them up. The cops move in and arrest both the man and the woman, reading them their rights as the two argue bitterly.
In street clothes, Cooper asks Sherman which of his parent’s beat on the other. Sherman doesn’t want to open up too much about his family, so Cooper is left to guess. He surmises that Sherman’s father had been the one to throw punches. Sherman states that his father is the biggest asshole that ever lived. Cooper says that his father is an even bigger asshole. Sherman reiterates the story he’d told the shrink at the beginning of the episode. His father bailed when he was ten, drug dealers came to the house to beat his fragile mother, and when Sherman- just a young boy- jumped in to help, they knocked his teeth out. After that he’d always had trouble sleeping, and made himself learn how to shoot a gun. He tells Cooper to get off his back about his father.
Cooper is certain that his father is an even bigger asshole.
“Is he dead?” Sherman asks.
“No, he’s around. He’s in prison. He raped and murdered someone. You have a good night.” Cooper says, detached.
Cooper enters a bar and meets a woman, who I believe is his ex-wife. She hands him some painkillers, but tells him she’s worried about getting busted for acquiring the pills. She is also worried about him because he works too much. Cooper assures her that he is doing fine.
Sherman hands his keys over to the valet and enters a restaurant. His party is already waiting for him. When he arrives at the table he finds the movie director, his sister, and his father. His father stands to greet him, but looking at the old man causes Sherman’s blood to boil. You can hear it pumping through his temples. Sherman looks hard at the old man, turns, and walks out.
This episode leaned a bit more on the drama than it did on action, which is fine because this is a cop drama. A firefight every week would probably desensitize the audience and keep t his show from standing out from others like it. I gues I am interested to learn more about Cooper’s history, after hearing the brief revelation of his father being a major scumbag. It seemed silly that two grown men should be arguing over who’s father was a bigger asshole, but I am sure that the show aims to get into the psychology behind what makes cops…cops.
Recap by Jonathan Friedler