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Thursday, April 16, 2009: Southland

by Angel Cohn April 16, 2009 6:00 am
Thursday, April 16, 2009: <I>Southland</I>

If you missed the premiere of this show last week, because you were testing the waters over at Harper's Island or sick of seeing so many commercials for this that you felt like you'd already seen it, it is worth a look. It's a dark and gritty crime drama, with intersecting storylines set in the heart of the LAPD and shot with the similar frantic chaotic pace that made ER a hit way back in the day.

The O.C's Ben McKenzie fares surprisingly well with this more intense fare, and his wide-eyed stare fits his rookie cop perfectly. Regina King's hardened detective is also a standout in this large ensemble cast. However, the real star performer is Michael Cudlitz, who plays Ben's partner showing him the ropes and underbelly of L.A, while seemingly hiding his private life. He goes from funny to tough to tender all in the blink of any eye and you never know what you are going to get when he opens his mouth. The only weak link in the bunch is Tom Everett Scott, who partners up with Regina King to investigate crimes. Maybe that was just due to the fact that he had all of three lines of dialogue in the first episode. Perhaps that will change in upcoming installments... though I'm not especially hopeful.

Speaking of new episodes, tonight's is focused on Ben, John (Cudlitz) and Chickie (Arija Barekis) who find a baby and then Lydia (King) and Clarke (Scott) investigate the location of the mother. Sounds like good stuff. And for sure a more realistic look at real Southern California life than Private Practice.

Southland airs at 10 PM on NBC. See our Week in Preview for other alternatives.

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