TNT’s cop drama “Southland,” which it inherited from NBC, is back on the case starting January 14. This show seems to write itself, as officers advise the producers of strange real cases they’ve investigated. Rookie officer Ben Sherman gets a surprise in a seemingly routine domestic disturbance.
“There’s a scene this year where there’s a guy who’s bleeding, says his girlfriend cut him,” McKenzie said in a conference call with the media. “’Where is she?’ ‘Down the block.’ It’s a blow up doll. The guy is 5150, crazy. He says he got into an argument with his girlfriend about the outfit she was wearing and guys looking at her. Clearly he’s lying, he cut himself. There’s funny stuff like that but also disturbing. It’s a line we walk on the show.”
The detectives’ cases aren’t as outrageous since by the time it gets to their level it’s a pretty serious crime. Regina King returns as Det. Lydia Adams. “There’s one that takes place that starts out seeming to be like its going to be another murder case that she’s picked up and turns out to go way beyond just being a murder case,” King said during the call.
A very serious matter returns to Sherman’s life. A case involving his family develops the personal conflicts an officer may face. “In episode three, the guy who raped my mom gets out of prison and that affects me pretty severely,” McKenzie said. “I go a little haywire because of it. We’re forced to talk about that. I think it will shed some light on who this guy is deep down and the armor he puts up. Most of what you’ve seen is this stoic guy out there observing the world and taking John’s [Cooper (Michael Cudlitz)] flack, taking a lot of grief from John. Inside there’s a lot of stuff boiling and you see that come to the surface in that episode and inform who this guy is. He’s almost obsessed with the notion of justice in a way, what he’s been pursuing his entire life. When that changes in that episode, you see him grow up and mature a little that episode.”
Adams has been a stellar by-the-books detective so far. The new season will shake her up too. “Lydia specifically [learns] that she may not be the easiest partner to work with, contrary to her belief,” King said. “You kind of see her discovering that through this new partner she’s working with. I think you’re definitely going to see a less perfect side of Lydia but I think what’s interesting about how the writers are playing it is that you see a less perfect side of her as she discovers the less perfect side of herself.”
The new partner is a senior detective, who really challenges Lydia’s comfort zone. “Lydia’s never worked with a woman before,” King said. “The character is a woman that’s been on the force longer than Lydia. She’s older than her so there is that dynamic that it’s not said but the tension is felt where you have one person who is really good at their job and feels like ‘I’m this good and I’ve reached the levels of success that I’ve had because I’ve been this good.’ Then you have the other one that’s like ‘I’ve been here longer than [anyone].’ It’s a little similar to what goes on with John Cooper and Ben Sherman but the only difference is Lydia’s been around longer than Ben Sherman’s character so she’s a little more vocal about not liking the way her partner does her job. Ben Sherman definitely does not agree with all the stuff you hear John Cooper say but he’s his training officer so you kind of catch some of his disdain for some of what Cooper says in his looks. Lydia is more vocal.”
“Southland” returns Jan. 4 for 10 new episodes on TNT.