Southland: Season 1 (2009)

SEASON:

Season 1
Southland

Critics Consensus

Gritty and intense, Southland boasts strong production values and a moody ambiance but comes up short in terms of character development.

77%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 31

86%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 31

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Episodes

Air date: Apr 9, 2009

In the opener of the police drama, rookie cop Ben Sherman (Benjamin McKenzie) has a tough first day with his seasoned partner, Det. John Cooper (Michael Cudlitz), who prepares him for the realities of working the streets of Los Angeles. Meanwhile, a young girl is swiped from her yard.

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Air date: Apr 16, 2009

The mother of an abandoned baby girl found in a busy intersection is sought, and the case stirs up past issues for Lydia. Elsewhere, Bryant and Moretta place a juvenile in a student police program in order to protect her.

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Air date: Apr 23, 2009

Sherman opens up about his past, making it clear to Cooper why he joined the force. Meanwhile, Dewey (C. Thomas Howell) fawns over a famous actor (Tom Sizemore) in trouble with the law. And Chickie regrets taking Dewey on as a partner after he fails to keep track of the celeb criminal.

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Air date: Apr 30, 2009

Moretta and Bryant try to track down the identity of a woman whose dead body was being used for target practice by gang members. Meanwhile, Moretta's younger sister disappears, revealing clues about his past. And Lydia offends Clarke when she criticizes his methods.

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Air date: May 7, 2009

Salinger's weapon is stolen by gang members, and Bryant and a reluctant Moretta search for the thieves without reporting the crime. Meanwhile, a man exposes himself to Adams outside her home.

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Air date: May 14, 2009

Ben takes a personal interest in a spree of Bel Air home invasions by jewelry thieves when a friend becomes a victim. Elsewhere, Bryant takes Janilla (Carla Jeffrey) into his home for safekeeping until the trial gets under way.

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Air date: May 21, 2009

A Marta's Avenue gang member is found dead outside of Dodger Stadium; Lydia takes Janilla into her home for protection; and Salinger stresses over the estrangement between him and his teen daughter.

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Southland: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

Set on the streets of Los Angeles, the first season of gritty police-drama "Southland" centers on rookie Det. Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie) and seasoned partner Det. John Cooper (Michael Cudlitz), as Cooper acclimates Sherman to a life of protecting the general public. Regina King also stars as Det. Lydia Adams, who takes a personal interest in protecting a teen witness in a murder trial. NBC canceled the critically-acclaimed series after its first season, but it was subsequently picked up by TNT where it aired for four more seasons.

Critic Reviews for Southland Season 1

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (18)

Does it have anything new to say about serving and protecting around those parts? Forget it, Jake. But it says all the old things in a relatively urbane style.

Feb 19, 2020 | Full Review…
Top Critic

This gritty drama has a good cast and a few surprises. The results are solid but not special.

Feb 14, 2020 | Full Review…

It may not be the greatest show on Earth, but it's the most powerful cop drama in a few years.

Feb 14, 2020 | Full Review…

It feels emotionally empty

Apr 9, 2009 | Full Review…

Southland knows exactly what it is from the get-go, and that is appealing.

Apr 9, 2009 | Full Review…

If Thursday night's premiere episode is an indication how it plans to roll, it's a keeper.

Apr 9, 2009 | Full Review…

Things on Southland just feel a bit too obvious.

Feb 19, 2020 | Rating: 6.5/10 | Full Review…

The production value is stellar and the entire ensemble shine.

Feb 14, 2020 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

I'm not willing to give it an unqualified boost after watching Thursday's premiere, but I'm not going to write it off, either.

Feb 14, 2020 | Full Review…

It's dark and borders on gloomy but not so much that it's hard to watch.

Feb 14, 2020 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

I find the portrayals so effective I had to work at it to stay tuned.

Feb 14, 2020 | Full Review…

Yes, it's another police drama, but this one is surprising, refreshing, and superb.

Feb 14, 2020 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Southland: Season 1

  • Apr 03, 2020
    In 2009, the mind's behind ER, gave the network something they weren't prepared for. A police drama, that was so realistic and ahead of it's time, that the network didn't even know how to promote it. NBC would wind up cancelling it after just 8 episodes, but thankfully someone at TNT saw it's potential and gave us four more incredible seasons. Southland is an in depth look at the LAPD, in a way that has never been done before or since. Each episode follows patrol units on the beat, gang detectives on the job, and homicide detectives on the case. More than that, it shows you the kind of situations they come in contact with on a daily basis, as well as the struggles they go through in their personal lives, as a result of what happens on the jobs. The show tackles issues of injury, addiction, family trouble, and even PTSD. Additionally the show was done in such a way that all the language and violence was kept in, only bleeped and blurred for television, something that has since been removed on DVD and streaming, adding to the grittiness and rawness of the series. Every episode focuses on a different set of cops, but in every episode you will see rookie office, Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie) and his training officer, John Cooper (Michael Cudlitz). The chemistry between these two is phenomenal and illustrates just how hard it is to become a cop. You witness all the mistakes, close calls, and shocking moments, up close and uncut, in a way that I've never seen done in a television series before. The detective scenes are equally as intriguing with the gang segments being very reminiscent of HBO's The Wire. Additionally, the homicide cases are well written, and the investigations are so detailed, not rushed the way you sometimes see in shows like Law & Order. The cast is amazing, the writing is top notch, and the show is more real than anything I've ever seen on television, so why did it only last 43 episodes and get cancelled twice? As I said earlier, when it aired, the language was bleeped and the images were blurred, that's not conducive to keeping an audience happy, especially in today's market. Had this show come out 10 years later, they wouldn't have had to do that and things could have been different. Another flaw I find in the series, is the lack of story lines. Anything that happens in the show, rarely goes beyond two or three episodes. This is a bad thing, because there is nothing to keep you watching. With everything resolved so quickly, if a mildly interested viewer wants to stop watching, they can, because they already found out what happened. The bottom line, if you enjoy police drama, than this is the show for you. It has a little bit of everything, it is by far the most realistic scripted portrayal of the police, that has ever been done on television, and it is loaded with stars. Every episode will have you on the edge of your seat, and if you're anything like me, you won't be able to stop after just one.
    Todd S Super Reviewer
  • Jun 20, 2019
    strong series that will grow into something over time. This is mixed, but overall it is superior than most tv police shows
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Jun 26, 2017
    great ending that made you want to start season 2 immediately, could have been a few more episodes though

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