This is my desperate plea to everyone who follows me to give SouthLAnd a chance.
Before I started watching SouthLAnd a few years ago, I thought it was just another procedural cop show that I wanted nothing to do with. There were enough cop shows on TV that I already didn’t like, I didn’t want to bother with another one. So I didn’t watch for the first two seasons. Then my mom, who knows my taste in television pretty well, kept telling me over and over that I should give it a shot. Finally one night I broke down and watched the Pilot…and I was hooked. It was like no other ‘cop show’ I’d ever seen before. Calling it a ‘cop show’ does not do it justice. It’s almost rude to classify it as just a ‘cop show.’ It is so much more than that.
The first thing you should know about SouthLAnd is that while yes, it is about police officers and detectives in Los Angeles, it isn’t really about their jobs. It’s about the characters and who they are. SouthLAnd is a very character/storyline-driven show. Do you like angsty characters? Check. Do you like strong female characters? Check. Do you like unstable, flawed characters? Check. Do you like characters who go through a lot of struggle and pain and manage to eventually work themselves through it and become better for it? Check. So you like realistic, believable characters? Check. SouthLAnd even has an unconventional, complex, gay character if that’s what you’re into.
Back to the thing about them being cops. Yes, it does focus heavily on the fact that they’re police officers, but not like you’d think. SouthLAnd shows police work in a brutally raw, blunt, realistic way. Sometimes you forget you’re watching a scripted television drama because it becomes so real. You feel like you’re watching actual, real-life police officers on the job. You see them eating lunch together on their break and discussing their personal lives and sometimes the cases they’re dealing with. You see them getting called to, and dealing with, outrageous, but always realistic, and sometimes funny, cases sometimes. And on the other hand, you see them getting called to, and dealing with, horrible, brutal, dark cases. It’s just like what you’d see in real-life. Adding to the realness is that SouthLAnd doesn’t use the typical ways to shoot their show. The camera work is shaky and hand-held. It makes you feel even more like you’re right there with the characters, or watching something happen in real-life. Also adding to realness is the locations - it’s filmed in LA and Hollywood, but you rarely see the flashy side of it. They shoot in the dark, unglamorous parts of both places.
This show makes their characters make mistakes and actually deal with the consequences. They do something horrible, they pay for it. These characters sometimes have to face their own possible deaths in a very real way. Some have witnessed first hand their partners be taken down right in front of them and they can’t do anything to save them. This show isn’t afraid to kill off it’s main characters. They like taking risks no matter what the repercussions from their audience will be. They aren’t afraid to lay it all on the table if it means putting out the best, most honest, material they can. I can’t think of another show that has shocked me and moved me as much as this one has over the years. There have been a couple of episodes that wouldn’t leave me alone for days, and sometimes weeks, afterward. They just stuck with me and I couldn’t stop thinking about them.
Finally, the cast on this show is phenomenal. Everyone from Michael Cudlitz, to Ben McKenzie (yes, from The O.C.), to Regina King and Shawn Hatosy and Kevin Alejandro, and even Lucy Liu. Every single one of them (and even the guest stars) bring it in every episode. They put everything they can into these roles to make them as realistic and powerful as they can be, and it’s so baffling to me that none of them have gotten nominated for their work on this show.
Oh, and of course there’s a little romance, but they’ve never focused on that very much - they don’t rely on those kinds of relationships. You won’t see a love triangle, or a sappy, romantic storyline between two of the characters. Some of them fall in love, some of them fall out of love, some of them want love but don’t have much luck finding it, some of them wind up in abusive, violent relationships with their significant others, some of them don’t want to find love and just want to have the physical aspect of a relationship with a ton of different people. You won’t ever see much of those things, though.
Basically - just watch it for yourselves. You are missing out on a brilliant piece of television by not giving it a chance. I promise it’s worth it. Would I have spent 45 minutes writing this up about it if I didn’t feel so strongly about it? Trust me on this one. Give it a shot. It may be cancelled by TNT soon, it may not, but either way, it still deserves more fans to appreciate it. It is the best show that no one is watching.
Guys, GUYS, listen- if you are not watching SouthLAnd, you are not living your best life.