So you've read the above post and your interest is peaked and you're ready to take the plunge into SouthLAnd? You don't have time to catch up on all 23 episodes? We at SouthLAnd First have selected the episodes we think will best prepare you for the season four premiere on TNT January 17, 2012.
Unknown Trouble - (Pilot Episode)
Why you need to watch: You’ll be introduced to the characters and immediately get the “feel” of the show – its realism, the true sense of being a cop in Los Angeles and the “in your face” attitude the show will always maintain through its acting, writing, directing and camera work. Officer Cooper’s “You’re a cop or you’re not” monologue alone is reason enough to watch.
Maximum Deployment - (Season 2, Episode 6)
Why you need to watch: You will see how “Boot” Ben has matured, the only female street cop (Chickie) captures someone the entire city police force could not and this is the last episode filmed under the banner of NBC.
Let It Snow - (Season 3, Episode 1)
Why you need to watch: The first episode under TNT’s influence and they know drama. The show becomes grittier: Gone are the silk shirts worn off duty and some of the extremely elaborate location settings but you will meet new leading characters and notice the change in how each story is told. The shoot out on Hollywood Boulevard and Lydia’s run and tackle of a suspected rapist are not to be missed. It’s gritty. The series gets even more realistic. If possible.
Code Four - (Season 3, Episode 4)
Why you need to watch: Emotions range from belly laughs to uncontrollable tears in a span of 42 minutes. Prepare for some of the most shocking, heart-wrenching, in-your-face scenes ever shown. It’s the rawest five minutes of TV you are likely to see…ever.
Graduation Day - (Season 3, Episode 10)
Why you need to watch: The character’s story lines come full circle. It’s considered by critics to be one of television’s best season finales. Stunt coordinator PeeWee Piemonte won an Emmy for this episode. That rooftop scene is a must see – plus this episode displays some of the finest acting of the entire series by all the actors. And you’ll be up to speed for the beginning of season four.
Honorable mentions: (Yes, this is cheating but it was a near impossible task to select only five)
The Runner – Most subtle (and best) “coming out” scene in episodic TV.
U Boat – “Boot” Ben works solo. You understand how and why partnerships are so important.
Sideways – Brilliant directing by Allison Anders. The flow of scenes is seamless; the writing superb.
What Makes Sammy Run - Exceptionally written by Cheo Hodari Coker with bittersweet and heart wrenching scenes between Detective Bryant and a young gang member.
Main characters (and actors) strongest performances:
John Cooper (Michael Cudlitz) – “The Winds” & “Graduation Day”
Sammy Bryant (Shawn Hatosy) – “What Makes Sammy Run” & “Cop or Not”
Lydia Adams (Regina King) – “Sideways” & “Derailed”