After a couple of years on the job every cop has to make a decision about what kind of cop they’re going to be. The time has come for Officer Ben Sherman to decide.
Getting up in the morning, every morning, knowing that part of your job is to carry a gun, can be a bit overwhelming, if you let it. Ben Sherman is one of those officers who hasn’t quite learned how not to be overwhelmed. He’s also hiding behind his badge, using his authority to carry out a mission. Some argue the mission is a deep-rooted issue with his own father. Some say there are other motivators. No matter the reason, though, Ben Sherman is an overconfident and cocky, loose cannon.
Sammy knows Ben is standing at the edge, and he feels responsible. He even tells Ben that he gave up his position as a detective, returning to uniform duty, so he could help younger officers. Ben shrugs off Sammy’s heartfelt words and heads out to begin his shift, and his quest to hunt down “Pimp Ronnie,” the guy whose gunshots caused the car crash that landed Sammy in the hospital. Pimp Ronnie is also the father of the girl Ben so desperately wants to save from a life in the streets (the bad father-figure theory?).
Ben is partnered with Ferguson (LDP himself), who offers Ben a brief lecture about wasting his time trying to save the hookers, but still has no qualms about about joining the hunt for the man who tried to kill two cops (shoot at the boys in blue and we’re coming after you!).
Well, it doesn’t take long before Ben is in a foot chase with Pimp Ronnie. Ferguson tries to get in front of the chase using the patrol car, but he’s not quick enough. Ben doesn’t answer his radio, He runs. Breathing hard. Sucking wind. Faster and faster. Just out of sight of Ferguson, when suddenly a shot’s fired.
Ferguson runs toward the sound and finds Ben standing over a very dead Pimp Ronnie. A gun is on the pavement beside the body. A gun that looks suspiciously like the gun we saw Ben cleaning in the opening scene. A drop gun? Did Ben murder an unarmed man? Revenge for shooting at Ben and Sammy? Or revenge for the way Pimp Ronnie treated his own daughter? The father-figure-syndrome? No matter the reason, it sure looks as if Ben, overwhelmed and overconfident, hid behind his badge and murdered a man. Granted, the man was not an innocent man, but murder is murder.
Cooper and Tang—the tension is so thick between the two that you’d have to use an ax to even make a dent in it. Cooper doesn’t like the fact that Tang will do whatever it takes to come out on top of any situation, including putting Cooper’s life at risk while she plays cowgirl during an intense shootout at a car wash.
And to make matters worse, Tang flaunts her cockiness by tossing the orange gun tip (the one she removed after shooting an innocent kid) to Cooper while the two of them argue outside the bar where a celebration in Tang’s honor is well underway.
Cooper’s one of the original good guys. He’s a cop, with blue running through his veins. He’s the guy who goes home, strips off his gear, and can get a good night’s sleep knowing he did the best job he could possibly do. Sure, he’s got his flaws, but at the end of the day his badge is shining as brightly as it ever did. No tarnish there, no sir.
Lydia (Regina King) delivered a powerful performance off camera last night. We didn’t have to see or hear what went on in that burn victim’s hospital room to know how deeply the interview affected Adams. Her emotional rooftop scene afterward told us all we needed to know. She was keeping her baby and she was not going to let anything happen to it. Not ever. And she proved that by taking a desk job for the duration of her pregnancy.
This was a season finale that really delivered. The show started with a bang and never let up until it ended with a quick one-two punch to the gut. Then, without giving us time to catch our breath, the writers left us with a few unanswered questions.
- Sammy knows, and we know he knows. Once again, Shawn Hatosy said a million words with mere facial expressions. And I don’t think he likes the Ben he’s seeing. And I’m not sure I’m liking what I see either. Ben’s on a one man quest to save the world, but who’s going to save him from himself?
- Cooper has a new boot, a clumsy, new recruit who’s ready to be molded into a real police officer by TO John Cooper. Let’s hope Cooper has better luck with this one. Hey, things have to be looking up, right? After all, Cooper’s got a shiny orange good luck charm on his key chain. What more could he ask for?
- Tang is a sergeant. You know, sometimes it’s the devious and not-so-nice that get ahead. That’s life. Accept it.
The show started on a Wednesday this year, with freshly scrubbed faces and new attitudes. It came to a conclusion on Thursday, with battered bodies and troubled hearts. Will the relationships survive? Should they?
One thing I’m certain of…everyone involved in this show absolutely wants to “get it right.” They want to accurately portray life as a police officer. And they pull no punches. In fact, there was one scene in last night’s episode that summed it all up while using very few words.
Cooper and Tang entered the car wash, knowing there were armed gunmen hiding inside. Extremely frightened customers and workers were running outside to safety. Cooper encouraged them to leave. “Go. Go. Go. Get out of here,” Cooper said to them. And then he and Tang headed straight into the danger. No hesitation. No second thoughts. Because that’s what cops do. They head into danger while everyone else runs away from it.
Will we see the officers of Southland again next season?
I certainly hope so, because this is hands-down the best darn cop show on TV.
Light ‘em up!
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Special guest speaker – Renowned forensic anthropologist Dr. Elizabeth Murray.
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