Southland, "Risk": life on the streets

Quick Take: Southland, "Risk"
"Now, get your ass in there and bust my rainbow roll." - Dewey

Southland

Review: Southland, "Risk"
(S0409) Out of all the episodes of Southland I have watched, this one has to be the most shocking. I had no idea that I could get a ticket for throwing a banana peel on the street while driving. Quite the wake up call.

One thing that Southland has that I never see on other cop shows is the dramatization of what street cops actually do with their day. Along with patrolling for traffic violators and eating tacos, cops play a host of roles to keep the peace. As ridiculous as it sounds, people call the police all the time in order to settle an argument or break up a fight. What's even more amazing is that the police don't see this as a waste of their time but as part of their job. Sadly, even in these mundane situations, each officer has to be ready to defend lives as well as take them.

One of the most amazing aspects of Southland is the way they make the audience feel like they are a part of the show. The way that Tang's (Lucy Liu) shooting and the subsequent inquiry is being drawn out is so excruciatingly tense that even though I, as a viewer, know that she did the wrong thing, I still feel sympathy for her. Even worse is what her partner, Cooper (Michael Cudlitz), is going through. We all know what the right thing to do is, but given all that we've seen, could we do it?

Even if they hadn't showed us what happened to Adams (Regina King) it was painfully obvious that she was going to be attacked when she went into the house alone. What I didn't expect was her partner, Ruben (Dorian Missick), coming back to save the day. Every season of Southland introduces me to a new character that I simply love. This season its Ruben. His down to earth common sense, family values, sympathetic ear and bad-ass cop skills make him fascinating to watch.

I suppose what ultimately makes Southland such a great show is the excellent juxtaposition of the absurdity and the danger of being a cop. Within minutes of each other, one officer is congratulated by a man in a golf ball costume and another is shot at and left unconscious by a car accident. Life on the streets, indeed.

By The King of TV, Paul Goebel

About the author

Hear more from the King of TV on The Paul Goebel Show podcast and at his website, www.TheKingofTV.com. You can also follow Paul on Twitter @PaulGoebelShow.

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1 Comment
On: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

Great review, Paul, and outstanding illustration of what makes Southland such a unique, gritty, and addictive show. 

The relationships of the three main duos are what keep me coming back. Whereas in past seasons some of the storylines/duos have been more engaging than others, this season has hit a peak with each set of partners. 

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