SOUTHLAND 4.07 ‘Fallout’

Episode Title: ‘Fallout’

Writer: Etan Frankel

Director: Allison Anders

Story:

In a residential back yard, Officer Tang (Lucy Liu) shoots a teenage boy wielding a toy gun. Eight hours earlier, Tang is served with divorce papers as she and Officer Cooper (Michael Cudlitz) head out for their shift.

Tang is on edge throughout the shift, issuing unnecessary traffic tickets and frisking a man who’s merely locked out of his car. When Tang tells him about her divorce, Cooper offers to take her out for a drink after their shift.

The two officers respond to a home invasion call. When the perp flees, the officers split up to catch him. Tang chases the man through a yard and climbs over a fence in pursuit. When a teenager wearing a similar hoodie to the perp’s emerges from his home with a toy gun, Tang shoots him. She quickly realizes her mistake and removes the orange tip from the toy. Meanwhile, Cooper chases the man down the street as backup arrives and an arrest is made. As medics tend to the boy, Cooper hears the mother say the troubled boy stopped taking the orange tip off his gun.

After both cops give statements in separate debriefings, Cooper confronts Tang about removing the safety tip. She justifies her actions and he insists she go back inside to fess up. Tang refuses and storms off. Later at home, she breaks down in tears. Meanwhile, Cooper meets with his sponsor and attends a meeting.

Adams’ superior calls her in to ask about her late hours and physical well being. The detective denies having any troubles and heads out to investigate a murder. She and Detective Robinson (Dorian Missick) learn that the victim was a drug dealer. They question the man’s pregnant girlfriend. She tells the detectives she’s trying to turn her life around for her unborn child.

Later that day, the detectives learn that the woman sold the gun used in the murder. When they arrest her, she tells the detectives that she had to kill her boyfriend because the system would fail her to protect her. Back at the precinct, Robinson offers to handle the paperwork so Adams (Regina King) can leave on time.

Officer Sherman (Benjamin McKenzie) tries to make smalltalk with Bryant (Shawn Hatosy) but he gives him the cold shoulder. The two respond to a fight between food truck owners. Bryant uses the situation to make a comment about betrayal and Cooper angrily apologizes again for doubting his partner.

After refusing to eat lunch with Sherman, Bryant tells him he’s upset because his partner is supposed to have his back. They then respond to a noise complaint at a Bar Mitzvah. The boy explains that he called it in himself so he could impress a girl by having the cops arrest him. Sherman threatens to call his parents, but Bryant agrees to put on a show for the boy.

Afterwards, they respond to a call about a woman known as “Crazy Carol.” Bryant tries to appease her and appears to have succeeded when she comes at him from behind with a broken bottle. Sherman quickly takes her down and then asks Bryant for a “thank you.” He tells Sherman he was just doing his job.

Outside the precinct, Sherman asks Bryant if he’ll ever let it go. Bryant says he’s not interested in being friends with his partner. Sherman responds by saying he’ll never live up to Bryant’s late partner, Nate Moretta. He offers one more apology and tells Bryant to savor it, since it will be his last.

Breakdown:

This week, “Southland” dealt with the “fallout” from mistakes. As Cooper pointed out, police officers don’t get to sit at a desk and hide behind a computer when they’re having a bad day. We saw why that’s problematic when Tang went on tilt after getting served with divorce papers.

“Fallout” wasn’t the first time we’ve seen “Southland’s” finest deal with their bad decisions. But this episode was an especially dense exploration into the mistakes people make when they’re in survival mode.

Sherman made the mistake of leaping to a conclusion, accusing Bryant of planting evidence. With Bryant so emotionally involved in the arrest, Sherman’s reasoning wasn’t that far out. But it’s those same emotions Sherman now has to answer to after making a false accusation.

Tang also let her emotions dictate her actions. After getting served with divorce papers, she wasn’t willing to go down for shooting a teenager with a toy gun. When some people don’t catch a break, they create their own. Unfortunately for Tang, the repercussions may not end there.

And then we had Adams and Robinson, dealing with a pregnant woman who took what she felt was necessary action against her violent boyfriend. The fallout from her decision is the irony of losing the child she was trying to protect.

“Southland” does an excellent job sticking to a singular theme through an assortment of seemingly random events. However, the character development is starting to feel a bit stagnant. With such a compelling, nuanced cast, I find myself wanting to go deeper into their individual stories. Aside from Adams, there’s isn’t a lot to hang onto this season as far over-arcing storylines.

“Fallout” was another great episode but it may be time for “Southland” to slow things down a bit and spend some quality time with the fascinating cast of characters its developed over the past four seasons. They certainly deserve it.

Crave Online Rating: 8 out of 10.

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