SOUTHLAND: 4.05 “Legacy”
It’s been a busy few days lately, so I’m writing about Tuesday’s episode of Southland a little later than usual, which is bothersome because my addled brain is already starting to forget some bits and pieces of the episode. It’s even more frustrating to me that I’m forgetting some little details from this episode because I think “Legacy” was one of the best episodes I’ve seen from the show in a long time.
I really enjoyed Sammy and Ben’s escalating practical joke fest, and Sammy’s final victory over Ben with the “pregnant” waitress was just hilarious. It’s good when the show can throw a little bit of humor into the mix, especially when there are grim stories elsewhere in the episode. Lydia and Ruben investigate a home invasion turned murder case, in which a lazy twenty-something was killed in his father’s home. It turned out, in the end, that Dad was the murderer because he believed his son was on the verge of turning into a serial killer. The outcome of the case had Lydia and Ruben again debating on the possibility of laws protecting bad people, with Lydia firmly coming down on the law and order side, and Ruben continuing to harbor doubts about arresting someone who took justice into their own hands; I wonder if this tension between partners is going to become something more than theoretical before the end of the season.
I really loved how the writers dealt with Cooper and the troubled gay teen. There were so many ways this storyline could have been overdramatized or over the top, butSouthlandkept low-key but real. Sure, Cooper was concerned about the boy, and he tried to share some advice that he learned about how to grow up gay and survive, but he kept a piece of himself hidden at the same time, and refused to allow himself to become emotionally invested in the case. When Tang told him the news at the bar, I think she expected him to be very upset, but he shrugged it off. No way, he explains, would he have made it twenty years as a cop without learning how to disconnect himself a little bit. No matter how much of himself he may have seen in that kid, he couldn’t really let a connection develop. He’s a cop first, and tomorrow will be a new day with challenges that he has to stay sharp for.