SOUTHLAND 4.1 ‘Wednesday’

Episode Title: ‘Wednesday’

Writer: Ann Biderman

Director: Christopher Chulack

Story:

Adams (Regina King) wakes up to find a former CI at her door, looking for a place to crash. At the precinct, Cooper (Michael Cudlitz) returns to full duty and is partnered with Jessica Tang (Lucy Liu), whose YouTube video has earned a bit of a rep.

Adams talks to her new partner about relocating the CI. Meanwhile, Bryant (Shawn Hatosy) and Sherman (Ben McKenzie) hear shots fired in the street and Sherman gives chase on foot. Tang tells Cooper she asked to partner with him because she knew he wouldn’t hit on her. Adams puts her CI  up in a motel. She later gets a call when the woman attempts to buy drugs in Compton.

Sherman chases another perp when he catches him hitting a girl in the street. The man ends up getting hit by a truck, with Officer Ferguson (Lou Diamond Phillips) contaminating the crime scene with chewing tobacco. Over in Compton, Adams reprimands her CI for leaving the motel and gives her money to get out of town. While waiting at a food truck, Tang and Cooper get a call about a man attempting to commit suicide. Tang is resistant to leave the truck but Cooper takes the call.

Tang and Cooper find the man in a warehouse, threatening to jump off a lift and hang himself over a female co-worker. In the locker room, Sherman and Ferguson nearly get into a fight over Ferguson’s conduct at the crime scene, however Bryant breaks it up.

At the warehouse, the man jumps off the lift but Cooper lowers it before he dies as Tang laments missing the food truck. Later at the precinct, Cooper watches the infamous video of Tang being beaten by a large man she pulled over at night.

Adams gets a call about her CI and finds her dead in a cooler at the beach after she told the detective she wished to see the ocean someday.

Breakdown:

“Southland” is back to let us know just how much being a cop in Los Angeles sucks. The ensemble police drama likes to work the ride-along angle, but “Wednesday” felt more like a Sweeps episode of “Cops” than a fictional drama.

But that’s not a bad thing. “Southland” is a show that knows how to tell a bigger story in small vignettes and there was plenty of story in this season premiere. 

Sherman continues to make valiant efforts to be the cop the police academy taught him to be. Meanwhile, beat down beat cops like Ferguson spit a mouthful of chaw in his general direction whenever Sherman tries to do the right thing. 

As for Adams, she’s ditched Ochoa for a much more agreeable partner, but still finds herself caught in entanglements of her device. This time it’s an old CI looking for a place to crash. After getting the drug addicted informant a motel room, Adams learns she’s back in the hood and looking to score. She later finds the woman dead in a cooler in the surf, after telling the detective she always wanted to see the ocean. The whole thing felt a bit overly poetic for a show that’s so good at making small moments hit big.

Newcomers, Lucy Liu and Lou Diamond Phillips both put in strong performances. Watching Liu get tossed around by a giant on the roadside was especially disturbing. Equally disturbing was her willingness to ignore a suicide call to go a lunch truck. 

Meanwhile, Cooper is back on the beat and fighting the good fight, ala Sherman. And while the “Boot” butts heads with Ferguson, in the end the playing field is quite literally leveled by a crazed man with a rife, shooting anything that moves inside the precinct.

“Southland” is as washed out, gritty and depressing as ever, just as it should be. The writing, performances and direction make me believe in these characters with the conviction of a seven-year-old waiting on the Tooth Fairy. If only “Southland” was just make-believe, as  well.

Crave Online Rating: 9 out of 10.

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