And our season five voice over says it all. This season will be personal. I’m confident that we will see much of our running action, shoot outs, crime solving SouthLAnd throughout the season. I’m even more confident we will delve deeply into the characters complicated & flawed lives.
In “Hats and Bats”, as SouthLAnd episodes often do, we see the beginning and ending of our officers days.
Officer Ben Sherman has a new haircut symbolizing a new Ben. Or does it? He is awarded a medal for bravery for killing pimp daddy Ronnie last season but didn’t Ben provoke that? He went hunting for Ronnie & gave him a beat down; Ronnie retaliated by smashing Ben and Sammy’s patrol car, causing Sammy serious injury. Ben later gunned Ronnie down. Re-watch “Thursday” to refresh your memory. We’ll see how Ben’s new poster boy image plays out during the season. And this love/hate relationship between Ben and Sammy is a cinder about to combust. Ben is acting as Sammy’s superior instead of his equal partner; telling him to “Use your head” while dealing with the blood at a gay bath house fight & taking a congratulatory call from his sister at a murder scene are two examples. Sammy is not pleased.
Officer Sammy Bryant begins his day with an encounter with the ex Mrs. Bryant, Tammi. This story line cannot end well. Sammy is consumed by his custody battle with Tammi over their son Nate but he does not let it interfere with his job performance. We see a more tender side to Sammy as he is affected by the murder of an elderly woman & his pure delight in being a concerned parent.
For Detective Lydia Adams, motherhood is a nightmare. It appears she finds it as a distraction from her job. She takes no joy in the little things that are usually a joy for most mothers; getting a call from her mother that baby Christopher had taken the whole bottle “I don’t need the play by play”, nursing, showing off baby pictures. I was very glad to see Lydia has the same partner, Ruben Robinson (the flawlessly natural actor Dorian Missick) and that their partnership flows smoothly. The duo investigate the rape of an 18 year old man, an unusual take on an all too familiar crime.
Officer John Cooper’s day begins by showing him in bed, with the beginnings of a quarrel with his male partner over commitment issues. This is an aspect of Coop’s life this reviewer has wanted to see since season one. Coop is back as a training officer, dealing with boot Gary Steele who has an attitude (the very effective Derek Ray). Can Coop break him? They disagree on how to deal with most of the situations they encounter during the episode but deep down, I think Steele reminds Coop of himself; they joined the LAPD for the same reason & neither suffer fools gladly. When Steele asks Coop for advice on being a cop, Coop’s reply is “treat it like a circus.” An attitude of survival that Army vet Steele is already quite familiar with.
Officer Bill “Dewey” Dudek is back.This season C. Thomas Howell is a full time cast member (In my opinion, it’s well past time for this!) and he is an FTO who is not really pleased with his boot either. Dewey has to take charge during a riot scene. We see our laid back Dewey, doing what is necessary and making light of his head and eye injury. We cherish our Dewey scenes; he brings humor and the reality of being a seasoned cop to the show.
At the end of the day, we see Ben partying with guest star Chad Michael Murray (Not sure of his role except to be a bad influence on Ben), Sammy cleaning up the blood left at the elderly woman’s home, Lydia hesitating to go into her own home as not to face her crying son and Cooper going into an empty house, his lover clearly moving on.
Now what these brilliant actors do with these personal stories should be a wonder to behold. This reviewer can’t wait for more.
Enjoy season five. SouthLAnd. Wednesday, TNT. 10/9C.