Southland (2009–2013)


Southland (TV Series 2009–2013)

The lives of Police Officers working for the Los Angeles Police Department.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
IMDb   8.4 /10
TheMovieDb    7.9 /10
RottenTomatoes  90 %
FilmAffinity   7.3 /10
Creator Ann Biderman
Release Date2009-04-09
GenreCrime, Drama, Thriller
Content RatingTV-MA (TV-MA)
AwardsWon 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 13 wins & 26 nominations.
CompanyJohn Wells Productions, Warner Bros. Television
LanguageEnglish, Spanish
Officer John Cooper 43 episodes, 2009-2013
Detective Sammy Bryant / ... 43 episodes, 2009-2013
Detective Lydia Adams 43 episodes, 2009-2013
Officer Ben Sherman 43 episodes, 2009-2013
Officer Dewey Dudek 27 episodes, 2009-2013
Officer Chickie Brown 19 episodes, 2009-2011
Sergeant Terry Hill 19 episodes, 2011-2013
Detective Daniel Salinger 18 episodes, 2009-2011
Detective Ruben Robinson 18 episodes, 2012-2013

Southland (TV series)

Southland (stylized as SOUTHLAND) is an American crime drama television series created by writer Ann Biderman and produced by Warner Bros. Television. It originally aired on NBC for one season from April 9 to May 21, 2009, and then on TNT for four additional seasons from March 2, 2010, to April 17, 2013. On May 1, 2009, NBC announced that Southland had been renewed for a second season with an initial 13-episode order to begin airing on Friday, September 25, 2009, at 9:00 pm, one hour earlier than its original time slot. On August 27, 2009, shortly before its scheduled premiere, NBC moved the opening of its second season to October 23, 2009, citing the need to promote the show more fully. On October 8, 2009, two months after they moved the opening of its second season to October 23, 2009, NBC announced that the series had been canceled after one season.

On November 2, 2009, TNT announced it had purchased the rights to Southland's original seven episodes, as well as six completed episodes from its second season. Southland began airing its second season on TNT on January 12, 2010. On April 26, 2010, TNT announced it had picked up Southland for a ten-episode third season to begin airing on January 4, 2011. TNT's renewal of the show included a substantial budget cut and corresponding cast reduction. Southland was renewed for a ten-episode fourth season on March 22, 2011, which premiered on January 17, 2012. The series was renewed for a ten-episode fifth season which began airing February 13, 2013.

On May 10, 2013, TNT announced that Southland had been canceled after five seasons.


Southland takes a "raw and authentic look" at Los Angeles and the lives of the LAPD officers who police it. The show's first season centers on the experiences and interactions of LAPD patrol officers and detectives, and is more a character-driven drama than a police procedural.

Among the characters are rookie Officer Ben Sherman and his training officer, John Cooper who, unknown to most of his colleagues, is gay; Detective Lydia Adams, who must balance work with the responsibility of living with her mother; Officer Chickie Brown, who aspires to be the first woman on the LAPD's elite SWAT team; and Detective Sammy Bryant, whose home life interferes with his working life.

After its first season on NBC, Southland moved to TNT network. The second season placed less emphasis on the ensemble cast, instead focusing more on the Adams, Sherman, Cooper and Bryant characters and their partners. The weekly stories also centered more on how crimes came together, with fewer serialized story lines.

Cast and characters

Main cast

Michael CudlitzJohn CooperPolice Officer III+1
(Seasons 1–5)
Hollywood Division, Officer Sherman's former FTO (Seasons 1–3), Officer Tang's former partner (Season 4), Officer Steele's FTO (Season 5). Senior Lead Officer
Ben McKenzieBen ShermanPolice Officer I
(Seasons 1–3)

Police Officer II
(Seasons 4–5)

Hollywood Division, Officer Cooper's former boot; (fictional) Alvarado Division, Officer Bryant's partner
Regina KingLydia AdamsDetective II
(Seasons 1–5)
West Bureau Detectives
Shawn HatosySammy BryantDetective I
(Season 1)

Detective II
(Seasons 2–3) Police Officer III
(Seasons 4–5)

Southeast Division Detectives, Detective Moretta's former partner; Alvarado Division, Officer Sherman's partner
C. Thomas HowellBill "Dewey" DudekPolice Officer III
(Recurring seasons 1–4, main season 5)
Hollywood Division, Officer Brown's former partner
Kevin AlejandroNate MorettaDetective II
(Seasons 1–3)
Southeast Division Detectives, Detective Bryant's former partner, killed in a gang assault in Season 3.
Michael McGradyDaniel "Sal" SalingerDetective III
(Seasons 1–3)
Southeast Division Detectives, Supervisor
Tom Everett ScottRussell ClarkeDetective II
(Season 1, recurring seasons 2–3, 5)
West Bureau Detectives, Detective Adams' former partner
Arija BareikisChickie BrownPolice Officer III
(Seasons 1–3)
Hollywood Division, Officer Dudek's former partner; transferred to Metro Division in Season 4

Recurring cast

Denise CrosbySusan SalingerCaptain I
(Seasons 1–2)
Detective Salinger's wife
Patrick FischlerKenny "No-Gun"Detective I
(Seasons 1–2)
Gangs & Narcotics Division
Lex MedlinAndy WilliamsDetective I
(Seasons 1–2)
Gangs & Narcotics Division
L. Scott CaldwellEnid Adams
(Seasons 1–5)
Detective Adams' mother
Emily BerglTammi Bryant
(Seasons 1–5)
Detective Bryant's ex-wife
Yara MartinezMariella Moretta
(Seasons 1–3)
Detective Moretta's widow
Hedy BurressLaurie Cooper
(Seasons 1–3, 5)
Officer Cooper's ex-wife
Roxana BrussoAlicia FernandezDetective III
(Seasons 1–5)
West Bureau Detectives, Detective Adams' supervisor
Amaury NolascoRene CorderoDetective I
(Season 2)
West Bureau Detectives, Detective Adams' interim partner
Laz AlonsoGil PuenteDetective II
(Seasons 2–3)
Gang Task Force Detective, with Detectives Bryant & Moretta
Mario CortezOfficer MunozPolice Officer III
(Seasons 2–5)
Division within West Bureau
Jenny GagoJosie OchoaDetective II
(Season 3)
West Bureau Detectives, Detective Adams' former partner
Bokeem WoodbineOfficer JonesPolice Officer III
(Seasons 3–4)
Alvarado Division
Jamie McShaneTerry HillSergeant I
(Seasons 3–5)
Hollywood Division, Supervisor
Jack ForbesDell Cooper
(Seasons 3, 5)
Officer Cooper's father
Lucy LiuJessica TangPolice Officer III
Sergeant I
(Season 4)
Hollywood Division, Officer Cooper's former partner; West Los Angeles Division, Supervisor in Season 4 (episode 10)
Dorian MissickRuben RobinsonDetective I
(Seasons 4–5)
West Bureau Detectives, Detective Adams' current partner
Lou Diamond PhillipsDanny FergusonPolice Officer III
(Season 4)
Alvarado Division
Carl LumblyJoel RuckerCaptain I
(Season 4)
Alvarado Division Commanding Officer
Chad Michael MurrayDave MendozaPolice Officer II
(Season 5)
Alvarado Division
Lesley FeraSgt. WatersSergeant I
(Season 5)
Alvarado Division Supervisor
Derek RayGary SteelePolice Officer I
(Season 5)
Hollywood Division. Officer Cooper's "boot"
Anthony RuivivarHank LuceroPolice Officer III
(Season 5)
Hollywood Division, Officer Cooper's partner; killed on duty


The series was created by Emmy Award-winning writer Ann Biderman, who began her television writing career on the first season of police drama NYPD Blue. The series' executive producers are Biderman, Christopher Chulack, and John Wells. Wells and Chulack, both also Emmy Award winners, had previously worked together on critically acclaimed medical drama ER and emergency services drama Third Watch. Many other crew members had previously worked with Wells and Chulack on these series. Wells and Biderman also write for the series and Chulack is a regular director. Biderman left her executive producer position after the second season but continued to write for the series' third season.

Ex-police officer Angela Amato Velez served as a consulting producer and writer for the first season; she had previously worked for the executive producers on Third Watch. Dee Johnson also served as a consulting producer and writer for the first season; she had previously worked with Wells and Chulack on ER. Emmy Award-winning writing team Mitchell Burgess & Robin Green were hired as executive consultants and writers for the second and third seasons; they had previously worked together as executive producers on The Sopranos. Diana Son served as a consulting producer and writer for the second season; she had previously worked on the crime drama Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

David Graziano became a co-executive producer for the second season. Andrew Stearn was a producer for the first two seasons and was promoted to co-executive producer for the third season; he had previously worked on Third Watch. Jonathan Lisco was hired as a co-executive producer for the third season; he is a former lawyer and created the New Orleans police drama K-Ville. Jason Horwitch, creator of AMC's Rubicon, joined the show as consulting producer for the fourth season.

ER and Third Watch veteran Nelson McCormick is also a regular director for Southland. Steadicam expert J. Michael Muro serves as a regular cinematographer and occasional director for the series. Dana Gonzales is the other regular director of photography.

The producers used both actual and former gang members to play the role of gang bangers in Southland.


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast airedNetwork
17April 9, 2009May 21, 2009NBC
26March 2, 2010April 6, 2010TNT
310January 4, 2011March 8, 2011
410January 17, 2012March 20, 2012
510February 13, 2013April 17, 2013


Southland received positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the first season received an average score of 69, based on 22 reviews and the second season received an average score of 77, based on 12 reviews both indicating "Generally favorable reviews". Upon returning for its third and fourth season the series received wide critical acclaim, receiving an average score of 81, based on 9 reviews for the third season and an average score of 87, based on 7 reviews for the fourth season both indicating "Universal acclaim". The fifth season received a rating of 86 out of 100 based on 8 reviews.

Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times compared Southland favorably to series like The Shield, Rescue Me and The Wire in citing the series debut as "one of the most gripping opening episodes of any network crime series". Noting the show's "bold, contemporary tone", Stanley concluded that "Southland is commendably stinting and cold, a series that doesn’t aim to please, and is all the more pleasurable for it." In a second review a year later, Mike Hale was less effusive in his praise. While commending the series for fine performances from its cast and its combination of straightforward immediate plots and long-range storytelling, Hale criticized the "heavyhandedness" he saw in some of the writing, noting especially the "sententious lectures about the nature of police work" delivered to Sherman by Cooper in the pilot episode. He finds the show "worthy" but in need of work to qualify as a classic.

Dorothy Rabinowitz of The Wall Street Journal says "Prattle is, in any case, a minor note compared with the crackling pace of the first script, its evocative mood of menace at every turn, each police car racing to destinations that will reveal who knows what tragedy or unspeakable sight." Matt Zoller Seitz of Vulture applauded the series' realism, and stated "It's the most engrossing cop series since season one of NBC's Homicide, and maybe the most raggedy and real."

Southland received three nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Stunt Coordination, winning the award twice in 2011 and 2012, and was nominated in 2013. In 2012, the series was awarded with a Peabody Award.

Home media releases

Shortly before its TNT premiere, Warner Home Video released the first season on DVD in an uncensored version, with the profanities intact.

In May 2011, Warner Home Video also released the second season in a similarly uncensored version. This title is currently only available through the studio's manufacture-on-demand (MOD) program.

On February 5, 2013, a box set titled Southland: The Complete Second, Third, and Fourth Seasons was released on DVD; it included over an hour of bonus features.

On August 13, 2013, Warner Home Video released the show's final season on DVD.

DVD nameRegion 1 release dateRegion 2 release dateRegion 4 release dateNo. of episodesDiscsBonus features
Season 1January 26, 2010September 26, 2011April 17, 201372"Southland: Redefining the Cop Drama" featurette
Season 2May 24, 2011September 26, 2011April 17, 201362"A Crime Tour: Southland's Crime Map" featurette; "Backing the Badge: Selected Scene Commentary" featurette; unaired scenes
Season 3February 5, 2013August 12, 2013August 14, 2013103Unaired scenes
Season 4February 5, 2013August 12, 2013August 14, 2013103Unaired scenes
Season 5August 13, 2013N/AJune 25, 2014102"Shooting in Progress" featurette; unaired scenes