Southland’ Interview: Cast Reflects On Cancellation, Pleased With Cliffhanger Ending

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Southland has ended after five seasons, but the TNT series that will go down in history as one of the best police dramas on television left off with a huge story line that most fans are probably still mulling over. As Ben, Sammy, Dewey, and Lydia wrapped, Cooper’s [Michael Cudlitz] fate was still unknown as the final camera shot showed multiple gunshot wounds to his chest during the “Reckoning” episode. While speaking to the cast recently, they revealed that leaving off on a cliffhanger actually turned out to be quite fitting or such a show.

“In a weird way, ending on a cliffhanger sort of serves of right for not continuing. I’m very pleased with going out that way,” C. Thomas Howell first joked. “For it being tidied up and cleaned up and as if we were going out—there’s something a little too perfect about that that I don’t like. It’s just appropriate the way it worked out.”

“The cop genre is a well traveled road and there are many shows previous to us and probably many shows after us that will do some take on that, but our specific law enforcement in Los Angeles being as realistic and true to the actual lives of patrol officers and detectives—I think it stands up for itself,” co-star Ben McKenzie added. “That’s what we were excited about. Hopefully 5, 10, 20 years from now people can go back and say that show was great. For what it was going for we absolutely were able to do it.”

Though it aired on NBC for one season before moving to TNT, any television show making it to five seasons should easily be considered successful. “We tried to make the best show we possibly could. The fact is that TNT has never had a series go over six seasons. I mean in our ratings we were under compared to the other seasons so we kind of had a sense that it could be the last,” Shawn Hatosy said.

All in agreement, Regina King couldn’t be happier on how far they had come since the pilot. “On a regular network show the seasons are 20 plus episodes. So if you combine all of our seasons together usually within the second or third year of a show is when they really hit their stride and writing is right where its supposed to be and everyone knows the characters better. The actors know their characters better, and that’s kind of where we were when the show ended.”

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