Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Southland" Returns With “Phase Three": Come Along For The Ride

My "Southland" sneak peek came in this folder, which opened up to reveal Cudlitz and McKenzie giving me a stare-down.

I was very lucky to get a 15 minute sneak peek of the March 2 premiere of a new episode of the TV series ”Southland”, a show foolishly tossed aside by NBC but wisely picked up by TNT. My double-secret access pass came via USB drive, packed in a nifty little folder that when opened, showed a photo of fan favorites Ben McKenzie (as Officer Ben Sherman) and Michael Cudlitz (as Officer John Cooper) in a squad car, with a voice telling me there was a “211 in progress” and that somebody got shot, just as if I were listening to the police radio.

I won’t tell you every detail that I saw in the preview, but I think it’s only fair to give you some information in order to make sure you watch the show on March 2 with the new episode “Phase Three”. The feeling that viewers are riding along with the police has been preserved, and this is one thing that drew me to "Southland" and got me hooked from the start. Some of the information here may be spoilerish so if you don’t want to even have the remotest hint of what will happen, don’t read any more. (OK, you’re probably all still here!)

Tom Everett Scott fans, don’t fret, Detective Russell Clarke is alive. Whew. But, he’s not back to work, which means that Detective Lydia Adams (Regina King) will get a new partner, something that makes her less than thrilled. (I suspect Prison Break fans will enjoy her new partner.) The police officers are getting a bit of a lecture on how we “live in the digital age” and they are always being recorded, with a video of Dewey going off the deep end (from an earlier episode) in his squad car as the example. Since we seem to see videos on TV of police officers behaving badly more than we’d like to see, this is probably good advice for any police squad in the country. Violence is an issue that rears it ugly head with someone being chased and gunned down in their car. Sherman and Cooper encounter the usual type of routine problems while patrolling, and with Dewey in rehab, Officer Chickie Brown (Arija Bareikis) seems to be stuck riding with another officer who eats like a slob on the job and seems to treat her like his private chauffer. He’ll make some real trouble for her – and the Southland cops – later. Detectives Bryant (Shawn Hatosy) and Moretta (Kevin Alejandro) are helping to track down an old man who seems to have gone missing. These things all sound like simple “day in the life” of police work, but if you’ve seen "Southland" before, nothing is always as simple as it seems.

So, be sure to watch the new episode of “Southland: Phase Three” which airs at 10:00 PM ET on TNT. TNT will also be re-airing the episode at 1:00 AM that night, so there should be no excuse to miss it. TNT will also be airing the episodes originally aired on NBC during the day on March 2 leading up to the brand new episode, a perfect chance to see these episodes if you haven’t already. “Southland” is great drama, and, unlike some crime dramas like the CSI franchise that are mostly glitz with little substance, "Southland" feels real. Make sure that you come along for the ride.

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