Southland—Season 3

southland season 3 poster episode guide list
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great under-seen TV series

Short seasons could even be longer

southland season 3 episode 8 fixing a hole ben mckenzie michael cudlitz

A falling out?

Lydia Adams (Regina King) finds herself saddled with a new partner in Josie Ochoa (Jenny Gago) as she questions her relationship with Russell Clarke (Tom Everett Scott). Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie) finds the back problems of his partner John Cooper (Michael Cudlitz) are becoming problematic as he prepares for graduation from his probation period. Bill “Dewey” Dudek (C. Thomas Howell) returns from rehab, and Chickie Brown (Arija Bareikis) discovers he could become her problem again. Sammy Bryant (Shawn Hatosy) gets good news from Tammi (Emily Bergl) but learns that his good news might not be as good as he thought. An officer at the precinct pays the ultimate price for serving the community.

southland season 3 episode 10 graduation day sammy shawn hatosy

Sammy has a bad year

Southland—Season 3 aired from January 4, 2011 to March 8, 2011 on TNT. The former NBC show continued to receive positive reviews and won a Primetime Emmys for Outstanding Stunt Coordination (“Graduation Day”) with a nomination for Outstanding Stunt Coordination for the same episode for the direction.

Southland was one of those series that never got a fair shake. Too edgy for regular primetime, the show was shuttled off to TNT. If the series had developed a few years later, it might have ended up on something like Hulu, Amazon, or Netflix, but for this season TNT managed to work.

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Regina King’s character brings heart

The series is a weird blend of procedural police work and drama. Each episode generally has a theme, but often the drama of the cops’ lives carry over episode to episode. While this sometimes is a distraction in hospital and detective shows, Southland managed to blend the worlds perfectly where it feels like you get just enough of part of the officers’ lives…the only thing it suffers from is too many great characters and not enough story time in general.

That is a problem because the cast is very strong and at this point is potentially the strongest. It feels like the actors have settled into their characters and really get them. There is a lot of shuffling of the cast after Season 3 and that often can hurt the cohesion of a show. On a side-note, I’d argue that the show’s subtitle should be Tammi Ruins Everything…I find the Tammi character (played by Emily Bergl) so annoying and this season she might just take the cake.

southland season 3 episode 10 graduation day ben mckenzie

The daily grind

The series continues to look great. In addition to the realistic and no-hold-bars dialogue, the show really puts a lot of work into its action sequences. What is good about the action sequences is that they aren’t so over-the-top that they feel like an action film.

Southland is a great show that you almost don’t want to watch because you know it is so short-lived. The show came out at a bad time, and it really missed its window of opportunity. With a great cast, great storytelling, and great visuals, the series should have been a hit…but it was just too much for most viewers and too costly for its own good.

Southland—Season 3 Complete Episode Guide:

southland season 3 episode 1 let it snow shootout michael cudlitz

“Let It Snow”

3.1       Let It Snow Airdate:  01/04/11

John Cooper (Michael Cudlitz) deals with increasing problems with his pain killer addiction while Lydia Adams (Regina King) tries to adjust to her new partner Detective Josie Ochoa (Jenny Gago).  A missing cleaning woman at a building leads to a horrifying discovery and the search for a killer.  Sammy Bryant (Shawn Hatosy) and Nate Moretta (Kevin Alejandro) investigate a gang killings at a park.  An active shooter in Hollywood has Cooper and Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie) in a shootout to save an officer.  Sammy gets news from Tammi (Emily Bergl).

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“Punching Water”

3.2       Punching Water Airdate:  01/11/11

Bill “Dewey” Dudek (C. Thomas Howell) returns from rehab and is paired with Cooper.  Sammy and Nate try to avert another gang war.  Lydia and Josie investigate a murder suicide of a real estate company but find themselves pulled into stop the escalating violence.  Ben is teamed with Chickie Brown (Arija Bareikis) and learns that his new romantic interest Sally (Stacy Haiduk) has a history of hooking up with cops.  Sammy gets bad news at home.

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3.3       Discretion Airdate:  01/18/11

Sammy stays at Nate’s and learns that their primary witness has disappeared.  Ben deals with issues with his mother (Susan Blakely) but has a run in with his past that leads to a complaint.  Lydia and Josie butt heads and investigate a potential missing person.  Nate tries to keep Sammy under control over the separation while Ben finds his actions have dangerous consequences.

southland season 3 episode 4 code 4 nate killed shawn hatosy kevin alejandro

“Code 4”

3.4       Code 4 Airdate:  01/25/11

Sammy’s divorce starts to get messy as he and Nate investigate a shooting.  Cooper gets tired of Ben’s recent attitude and puts his academy teachings to the test.  Lydia is called in on a murder of a drug dealer.  Nate and Sammy find their day ending in tragedy.

southland season 3 episode 5 the winds michael cudlitz

“The Winds”

3.5       The Winds Airdate:  02/01/11

Lydia and Josie are called in on a rape of a woman who could be victim of a serial rapist.  Cooper tries to help an abandoned boy and faces his own personal problem.  The squad prepares for the funeral of Nate         .

southland season 3 episode 6 cop or not sammy shawn hatosy

“Cop or Not”

3.6       Cop or Not Airdate:  02/08/11

Sammy returns to the streets and finds himself looking for revenge for Nate.  A high profile murder involving Billy Stearn (John Charles Meyer) has Lydia getting the public spotlight…but Lydia finds herself a target.  Cooper and Ben are assigned to guard duty at Billy Stearn’s house and make a decision.

southland season 3 episode 7 sideways regina king


3.7       Sideways Airdate:  02/15/11

Lydia deals with fallout from accusations that she leaked the photos to the press and finds herself compelled to not leave her case with a man facing dangerous decision.  Cooper tries to get the police to move a delinquent trailer.  Sammy learns that a possible suspect has been taken in but that he’ll have to identify him in a line-up.  Dewey and Chickie’s attempt to apprehend a suspect runs into danger.

southland season 3 episode 8 fixing a hole shawn hatosy yara martinez

“Fixing a Hole”

3.8       Fixing a Hole Airdate:  02/22/11

Lydia and Josie are forced to babysit an alcoholic witness (Kay Lenz).  Ben begins to worry about Cooper’s behavior when Cooper focuses on find where a kid has been staying.  Sammy worries he is getting too close to Nate’s wife (Yara Martinez) and makes a decision about his failure to identify the suspect in the line-up.

southland season 3 episode 9 failure drill josie lydia regina king jenny gago

“Failure Drill”

3.9       Failure Drill Airdate:  03/01/11

Lydia meets a gun instructor named Rodrigo (Maurice Compte) that takes an interest in her, but she finds a surprise after getting caught in a shootout.  Cooper struggles with his addiction and tries to keep off the streets.  Sammy deals with problems with Tammi and questions what to do about the baby.

southland season 3 episode 10 graduation day ben mckenzie michael cudlitz

“Graduation Day”

3.10     Graduation Day Airdate:  03/08/11

Lydia debates her relationship with Rodrigo and wonders if she should tell Josie that she’s seeing her son.  Sammy gets word about the man suspected of killing Nate as Tammi goes into labor.  Dewey tries to help a prostitute suffering from an addiction.  Ben prepares to graduate but finds his support from Cooper might not be what he needs when they try to take down a suspect in a kidnapping.

Related Links:

Southland—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Southland—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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