Top Telly: Southland


There’s been a lot of talk about Brit Grit recently- usually from me – and, more specifically, Brit Grit television – edgy, realistic crime drama such as Cracker, Gangsters and Luther.

The US has also been deservedly praised for producing great crime shows like True Detective and Breaking Bad, of course.


But one show that I think is due more praise and attention is surelyTNT’s Southland – a cinema verite look at the rough and tumble lives of a group of LAPD police officers that was created by Emmy Award winning Anne Biderman.

I’ll admit that I only discovered Southland quite recently. I’m a fan of the film director Allison Anders, so I sought out a couple of the shows that she directed.

And it was great, raw, fast paced – and yes, gritty -stuff. Despite a slightly cheesy voice over at the start, as in other sharp American crime shows – like Justified – there was more of human life packed in one breathless 40 minute episode than most series.

But like most great television, you need to see more than the occasional episode. You need to get into it. To let it ferment.
And of late I was lucky enough to see all of Southland Season Four. And beaut stuff it was too.

Heart in the mouth tension. Realistic characters and situations. Sharp dialogue. Great performances – particularly from Michael Cudlitz, Regina King and C. Thomas Howell. Lucy Liu even guested and showed herself to be a cracking character actor.

So, if you want a short, sharp shock of US Grit, check out Southland. You won’t be disappointed.