The producers of ‘ER’ are back with a slick new drama, shifting the focus this time to the police force.
Ben McKenzie stars in his first major role since the teen drama ‘The OC’ playing green new cop Officer Ben Sherman straight out of training and finding his feet. We follow him patrolling the streets of Los Angeles with his partner, responding to a range of calls from the mundane to the serious. The show also develops a range of storylines through the other characters in different departments within the LA police force, showing how they struggle to keep their case loads and personal lives in order.
Even though this is from the producers of ‘ER’ the show has a very different feel to the hospital drama. ‘Southland’ moves around to different areas and follows a multitude of storylines whereas ‘ER’ concentrated on one specific character each week.
‘Southland’ is very cleverly done, as the opening shot is a flash forward to action that takes place halfway through the episode. As a viewer you feel for the character of Officer Ben Sherman, as you see his first reactions and how he feels for the victims and the families. The show also has an edge to it and doesn’t try to glamorise the police force. It shows how the police can be affected by the events just as much as the people involved, and is a gritty drama.
The only downsides to this show are the camera angles and the lighting. The camera has a jerky, almost hand-held affect which can give you a headache after a while, but, on the plus-side, it does give a sense of reality to the show. Also, as most of the scenes happen at night you can’t see everything that’s going on. The show, however, is highly polished, very good, and may make for addictive viewing. One to watch.