Saturday, February 25, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

"Integrity Check" Review

The average street cop in Los Angeles makes $75,000 a year.  It’s not enough.
Did anyone take a breath during the show this week?  I sure didn’t. 

Lydia in a uniform - I never expected to see that happen.  She said she hadn’t been in uniform in a long time, and it showed.  She seemed uncomfortable the entire time she was in uniform.  Lydia is very conflicted.  She seems to care about the baby; but at the same time, she’s willing to risk her and her baby’s health in order to not be relegated to light duty.  She turns up the volume on the fetal monitor to hear the baby’s heartbeat; then turns and looks at her uniform and badge.
The cinematography in the scene where Sammy watched the victim’s father testify was excellent.  You always saw Sammy’s faint reflection in the glass next to whoever was being filmed - whether it was the father or the convicted murderer.
Tang:  “First thing a good cop learns; don’t get emotionally involved.”
The scene with the guy with the shopping cart blocking the street was a callback to a season 2 episode. Cooper tells Chickie, "Ask 'em. Tell 'em. Make 'em." Which is exactly what Cooper did with the shopping cart guy.

Dewey was playing to the cameras this entire episode.  Whether it was the planking scene, or the scene where the woman fell on her knife; Dewey just wanted to get his S.A.G. card.

Cooper was just full of command presence during this episode.  The nazi cake, the guy with the shopping cart blocking the road, the driver without license and registration, the documentary crew, and the woman who fell on her knife, “Do I think my partner should have tackled her?  Nah.  She should have shot her.”  The intensity in Cooper’s eyes when he said that was phenomenal.

I think the fact that Ben thought he thoroughly searched the squad car before he and Sammy left the police station led Ben to believe Sammy had planted the crack pipe. After all, Sammy has shown us that he is willing to walk right up to the the line between right and wrong and flirt with it.  Hell, he even kidnapped a guy last season. But he always manages to pull back and stay on the right side.
Cooper and Tang decide to call it a day.  Cooper tells the documentary team to turn off their equipment.  When they finally do, Cooper exchanges a look with Tang and they both heave a big sigh of relief.

The final scene is one of the most intense scenes I’ve ever seen on TV.  The realistic-looking blood soaking into Cooper’s uniform, the fighting, the stunned and dazed look in Cooper’s eyes.  Just amazing.  Michael Cudlitz just gave everything in that scene.  I don’t know how he was able to get up and go home that night.  What an exhausting, draining scene to shoot.  And what a performance by Cudlitz.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

"Legacy" Review

“Legacy” review

An episode written by Heather Zuhlke and directed by Jimmy Muro? It’s a winner from the opening credits. Neither ever disappoints in their efforts; add in the always stellar cast and we have yet one more epi in which to be in awe. 

This week, Sammy and Ben slowed down the run and gun pace with a series of pranks on one another; Ben hiding Sammy’s towel after his shower in a duct taped locker, Sammy having a waitress, one of Ben’s lovers, tell him she is pregnant, Ben putting birds in Sammy’s car (over the top!). Pranking appears to be a common practice among real life cops. It was very nice to see these characters’ scenes end in laughter instead of some sort of bloodshed or mishap. 

Lydia and Ruben investigate what appears to be a home invasion resulting in the murder of a 30 something, still living at home with his dad. Guest star Joe Regalbuto as the father gave a heart wrenching performance, ultimately confessing to killing his own son because he was afraid his torture porn addiction would turn him into a serial killer. As shocking as that may seem, Ruben sums it up, “Children are a reflection of who you are...” Lydia continues to deny her pregnancy to Ruben but he is clearly aware something is going on. Being a married man and father himself (plus a detective), he sees the clues.

Ultimately though, this episode belonged to Michael Cudlitz, the unanimously critically acclaimed backbone of the show.  John Cooper is recognized for 20 years of service (He’s really served 22) and he hopes to earn six stripes (30 years) plus one day. 

The scenes with the gay teenager are where Cudlitz’s acting chops shine the brightest. Coop and Tang are called to a domestic disturbance where the parents want their son Mike to transfer schools because everyone knows he is gay; they fear the repercussions for him and themselves. The look of fear and familiarity of what the kid is going through is transparent on Cooper’s face.  Later that day, after being beaten at school by bullies and forced to wear a dress, Mike is going to jump off the ledge of a hotel. Coop tries to talk him down, admitting he himself is gay and “It's gonna gets better.” This is the first time Coop has confirmed his sexuality publicly; Tang and two other officers are within earshot. Mike ultimately jumps but Coop is able to grab his ankle and the other officers help in pulling him back. At the hospital, Coop gives Mike a final piece of advice regarding his sexuality, “I’ve got a lot of problems, kid. Being gay isn’t one of them.” Coop’s private life is his own and he has no issue with it. As he told Mike when they first talked, "You can be who you are without making yourself a walking target."

The ending scenes show Cooper and some of his fellow officers having a celebration at O'Malleys. As they recall on the job stories, there is laughter and much appreciation for John’s years on the force.  Coop leaves with Tang following him out, relaying the sad news that yes, Mike did manage to leave his hospital bed and commit suicide by jumping off the 14th floor.  We see on Coop’s face the knowledge of 22 years on the force: “I can't worry about what happens to him after I leave him."  Tang renters the bar for more revelry and Coop stands outside the door, listening to Dewey recall a particular incident. This is where Cudlitz gets you as an actor: he doesn’t even have to speak. His eyes and facial nuances are so touching it makes your heart hurt. We know Coop’s legacy thru Cudlitz’s portrayal – he’s a good cop and will be remembered as such. Give Michael Cudlitz his Emmy already. He is way overdue. 

Random musings:

-       SouthLAnd does on an episodic basis what no other drama seems to be able to do; add humor when you least expect it and in a very delicate yet deliberate way. We laugh at “Mary” who has lost her son Jesus who was kidnapped by Judas then we are segued into the scene of a shooting victim in a car and it is all done seamlessly. It just fits and it is a hallmark of this show.

-       Usually appreciated but not mentioned in reviews is the always fantastic stunt team, including the cast doing most of their own stunts. This episode again showed the fearlessness of all involved. Kuddos to Emmy award winning stunt coordinator PeeWee Piemonte.

-        The episode ended with a song playing as Coop leaves the bar alley (Tears for Fears “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”), a rarity for SouthLAnd. Hopefully, this is not some sort of foreshadowing.

-        The only episode thus far this season where no shots were fired.

     Lucy Liu has proven to be a low key and refreshing addition to the ensemble.

If you are reading this, you are probably already a fan of the show. Keep watching and tell a friend why. If you are a first time viewer, I’m betting you’ll be back for more.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

An insight into Officer John Cooper

Some people think Cooper is closeted because there is rarely a mention of him being gay. But as we saw in the scene on the rooftop this week, being gay was very pertinent to this particular storyline and Cooper had no qualms about talking about it in front of the other three cops.  Did Cooper look around to see who would hear him say that he was gay? No, he didn't. Did he squirm uncomfortably when he said, "I'm gay."? No, he didn't. Did he try to convince any of the cops who overheard, that he only said he was gay to get the kid down? No, he didn't. Did he lower his voice, so that the cops might not hear him? No, he didn't. He said it confidently and without hesitation.  Cooper's actions are not those of a closeted man.

And in Cooper's own words, "I got a lot of problems, kid.  Being gay isn't one of them."

Monday, February 13, 2012

"Legacy" preview - Air date Feb. 14

Episode five delivers, SouthLAnd style. One immediately sees the touch of veteran SouthLAnd writer Heather Zuhlke and director Jimmy Muro; both their writing and directing styles being very distinctive.

The episode is seamless and has an easy flow of telling the stories. Here are some insights into what you can expect to see:

1) Not much is left to the imagination involving Sammy's physique. After showering, he just can't seem to find a towel.

2) There are a series of very interesting practical jokes played between Ben and Sammy. Very interesting. And Ben has a hysterical encounter with a self proclaimed descendent of a munchkin from the Wizard of Oz. Just watch.

3) The episode is John Cooper centric (He's the seventh oldest cop on patrol) and we will get a glimpse into the legacy he will leave the LAPD. Michael Cudlitz is mesmerizing. Again, just watch.

4) Lydia and Ruben investigate what is a perceived home invasion that takes a dramatic and sad turn. And Ruben is not buying Lydia's denials about her pregnancy.

5) Dewey is his usual raucous self but, we see his very tender side at the end of the episode.

Highlight quote: " I'm hormonal and I got a gun. Don't mess with me." ~ Lydia

Another stellar episode. Be sure and tune in Tuesdays on TNT at 10E/9C. You'll be impressed. And you'll be back for more.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

"Identity Review"

"LAPD officers spend every shift trying to help people who often don't even know they need help.  Some days the trying works better than others."

Lydia is doing the same thing with her pregnancy as Cooper did with his back last season - doing risky things on duty that will affect the pregnancy and the back.

Ben’s jacket with the white stripe makes me think it’s Fleet Week or something.
So Lydia’s pregnant. Her mother, her partner, even Officer Tang has figured it out.  Who is the baby’s father?  We may never know.  As of now, we don’t know what she’s going to do about the pregnancy either.  It seems everyone she encounters during this episode has something to do with having kids.  Even her own partner is giving her his views on motherhood.
I do NOT understand why Sammy is so intent on getting Ben to move out to Castaic.  Sammy has mentioned this in every episode.  Why does he care unless Sammy himself feels lonely?  Does Sammy not have any friends where he lives?  I really wish he would just leave it alone and I hope Ben doesn’t move out there.
Ben, off duty and ever the rescuer, helps a pretty girl whose ex-boyfriend was hassling her.  Unfortunately for Ben, the girl doesn’t have a very favorable opinion of the police - especially the one policeman who punched that girl in the face for no reason.

Officers Tang and Cooper help a homeless man that they relocated within the last month.  He is disrupting the customer flow to a business.  While talking with him, they discover he’s a former marine.  Tang identifies with him because her Dad was a marine.  “Semper Fi, you know.  Never leave anyone behind.”
Ben and Sammy chase after a guy who tried to steal a woman’s purse.  Ben chases the guy down an alley while Sammy briefly stops to check on the woman.  As Sammy tried to catch up with Ben, he hears something behind a dumpster.  A dog charges him and Sammy shoots him, but doesn’t kill him.  As Ben walks back with the robber, Sammy takes off his uniform shirt and his bulletproof vest, so that he can use his T-shirt to use as a pressure bandage for the dog’s wound.  Sammy doesn’t put his vest back on, but he does button up his shirt, tuck it in, then button up his shirt again.  The ambulance guys tell Sammy to take the dog to a vet clinic a few blocks away, but Sammy asks them to do it since he can’t leave the scene yet.  Hmmmm. It didn’t bother Sammy to leave the scene last week when they were supposed to be watching Hood Day.  The ambulance guys say they will take the dog to the clinic - for two Lakers tickets.
Tang is still on the phone apparently talking to yet another agency regarding the ex-Marine when a looney tune she calls Crazy Bob sticks his head in Tang’s window.  He claims the cop car is his and runs around the front of the car.  As Cooper gets out, Crazy Bob is making some crazy Kung Fu moves, then declares himself invisible.  Pointing his finger at Cooper, he says, “You can’t see me”.  Cooper immediately grabs Crazy Bob arm and bends him over the hood of the patrol car.  “Oh!  You can see me!" screams Crazy Bob.
Sammy, Ben, Dewey, and Dewey’s partner are having lunch at the ever-popular El Siete Mares.  Everyone is giving Sammy grief over agreeing to pay for the dog’s surgery.  He’s already agreed to pay for 2 Lakers tickets. Now this?
We learn that Regina had a miscarriage several years ago and at her age, the baby will be at increased risk for birth defects - especially Down’s syndrome.  She’s three months along and the doctor says she has up to 16 weeks to decide if she wants to abort.  The doctor also says that due to Lydia’s body’s low percentage of fat, that she may never conceive again.  The doctor was surprised that Lydia conceived at all.
Ben wonders why Ben would want this dog, because doesn’t he already have a dog?  Sammy tells him that his ex-wife got the dog, along with his kid and everything.  “Your balls,” Ben says back to him.
Ben and Sammy chase down a couple of kids.  One of them has quite a bit of weed on him; the other one is let go.  The one they keep gives up the shooter of Abuelita in order to get a lighter sentence.
Tang is on the phone with the Marines when she and Cooper pull up to the scene of a person that’s been run over by a train.  The sheriff’s department is trying to claim that jurisdiction is with the LAPD since most of the body is on LAPD’s turf.  As the sheriff’s deputies argue with Cooper about jurisdiction, Tang gets louder and louder as she argues with the Marines.  The deputies realize they don’t want to have to deal with Tang; so they agree to handle the body.  Tang is pissed as she hangs up and asks Cooper if anything was decided.  In the presence of an angry Tang, Cooper astutely replies quietly that the sheriff’s office is going to handle.  Then he walks quickly back to the patrol car as Tang looks around for someone else to yell at.

We’re back to Sammy yet again telling Ben he needs to move.  While they’re rolling Code 3 to an ADW call.  When they arrive they get the woman holding a knife to drop it.  Then Ben notices a little girl in the pool not moving.  He dives in and brings her to the pool deck, then gives her CPR.  She spits out the water and yells for her Mommy.  A brief aside:  SouthLAnd is so great at using correct police procedures, they should invest in a CPR training class.  Neither Ben, nor Chickie especially, used very good CPR technique.
The scene where Cooper and Tang take the homeless Marine’s picture was excellent.  The care they took with grooming him was great.  When Cooper coaxed, “Are you serious? Serious Tom. Let’s get some serious Tom.  Serious Marine Tom”; you could see the serious look come over Tom’s face.  But his face got even more serious when Cooper said, “Serious Marine Tom.”
The scene where Dewey had put the get-well card and the toy dog with the bobbing head was priceless.  The card read, Sorry you’re not well because Sammy shot you. Just as Sammy reads the card, Dewey rolls by in his patrol car, barking over the PA system.  Heh.  Sammy doesn’t think it’s too funny though.  But he can’t hold back a smile when Ben uses the bobble-head dog and talks like Scooby Doo.  “Rammy!  Rammy! "  Hee.

Cooper knows a place that makes fake IDs.  So he and Tang have some IDs made for Tom Smith.  I liked this little scene because it shows that Cooper is trusting Tang more.
The murder case that Lydia and Ruben have been working comes to an end.  Lydia and Ruben find Nicole with the help of Jamaica.  Nicole takes off and Lydia chases after her.  She finally catches up to Nicole, who seems recalcitrant at first, but then lunges at Lydia, cutting Lydia’s arm.  Nicole runs to a truck and starts to flee, but a patrol car pulls up at the end of the alley, cutting off an escape.  Nicole rams it anyway and backs up for another go.  Ruben shoots and hits Nicole, which prevents another try at the patrol car.
When Cooper and Tang present Tom Smith with the new IDs, Tom Smith yells “That’s not me!” repeatedly and throws the IDs down on the sidewalk.  Tang and Cooper decide to move him down the street a little ways so that Tom Smith no longer bothers the store owner.
When Sammy goes back to check on the dog, he discovers the owner of the dog, with the owner’s granddaughter at the vet’s office.  The owner thanks Sammy profusely, but he can’t afford the bill.  Ben starts laughing as the vet gives Sammy the bill for the dog.  Sammy is now out $1300 for the dog and two Lakers tickets.
Ben is looking at a house in Castaic.  He stands in the middle of the street, staring up at the house.  Please, please, please, don’t do it Ben. You won’t be happy out there.  But what you could do, Ben, is get rid of that old sweater with the white stripe you’ve been wearing lately.  It makes me think you’re a sailor.

Episode five "Legacy" promotional pictures

"Legacy" album

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Season four ratings continue to climb!

"Last week, TNT's acclaimed cop drama Southland scored its most-watched episode of the season, with 3.1 million viewers in Live + 3 delivery. Among key adult demos, the episode drew 1.5 million adults 18-49 in Live + 3 (+17% vs. the prior week), and 1.5 million adults 25-54 (+8%). Three episodes into its fourth season, Southland is showing strong double-digit growth compared to season three, with total viewers up 10%, adults 18-49 up 15% and adults 25-54 up 10% among adults 25-54."


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Our SouthLAnd Filming Sites map has been updated

We now have over 200 SouthLAnd filming sites plotted on our map and it is updated through the last episode of the current season.  It is not our intention to post every location that is in each episode.  But if you know a filming site that we haven't included; please let us know and we will credit you for the info.

Locations Map

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

"Community" review

Where to begin? Heart thumping, head spinning and “What?!?” gasps throughout this incredible episode that was shot and framed brilliantly by director Felix Alcala and DP Jimmy Muro. The use of close-ups was the most compelling ever in the show's history. SouthLAnd never fails to leave it’s viewer in shock and awe. “Community” was no exception.

Ben is still feeling the fallout from punching the teenage girl last week. He’s now a You Tube sensation and his notoriety is bringing him plenty of action with the ladies.  He and Sammy are sent by Captain Rucker to contain “Hood Day”, a day where each gang celebrates the anniversary of their creation.  Sammy’s lack of interest in his old turf leads to tragic consequences for several people. This entire storyline of the episode is somehow convoluted; Sammy is “off”: behaving irresponsibly and Ben seems to be going right along with him, though at times reluctantly. Are our two youngest beat cops on a downward spiral?

Cooper and Tang deal with a robbery in a Jewish neighborhood, bringing one of the best Coop quotes of the episode, “My old partner would have jumped” as the suspect flees the scene while the two officers watch from an upstairs balcony. (Side note: That scene also contains what makes SouthLAnd so unique - attention to detail. You can hear a clock ticking and the squeak of their leather holsters as the officers ascend the stairs.) In another encounter, Coop and Tang are asked by a convicted child molester for protection from his persecutors in his new neighborhood. This brings to the surface feelings Coop has tried to subdue; we recall through his eyes, tone of voice and mannerisms the remembrance of his father. There will be no sympathy for this man. Tang seems to agree. The episode ends with the pedophile’s home being burned and Coop radioing in “Show us code six…431 West Lake.” On the scene, handling. They are good cops; job first, personal feelings far down the line.

Lydia and Ruben have one case; A brutal murder investigation involving a woman who was apparently signing people up for debt consolidation and then defrauding them. The most touching scene of the episode is when Ruben recalls his daughter’s birth and Lydia assures him that what he just shared is his speech for his daughter’s quinceanera. Theirs is an easily flowing, very workable partnership.

Regarding Lydia, the previews for next week’s show reveal it is not to be missed. Enough said.

SouthLAnd just gets better with every episode. You think it is impossible for it to exceed its own standard of excellence. This show proves nothing is impossible.