None of the good guys got killed as “Southland” ended its third season Tuesday night on TNT, but one of the bad guys did.
He was the gangbanger known as “the Leprechaun” (though there was nothing Irish about this guy) – who Det. Sammy Bryant (Shawn Hatosy) had been hunting for ever since the Leprechaun shot and killed his partner, Det. Nate Moretta (Kevin Alejandro) earlier in the season. In Tuesday’s episode, Sammy even named his newborn son Nathaniel after joining his estranged wife in the delivery room.
In fact, no significant loose ends were left dangling as the “Southland” season came to a close, except for the fate of the show itself. TNT has yet to announce a renewal for a fourth season, though Variety reported the other day that a renewal seems likely, based on the show’s near-unanimous critical acclaim and seemingly solid fanbase. On the renewal question, a TNT spokeswoman told us no decision has been made, and that an announcement about “Southland” and other TNT “programming decisions” will likely be made in a few weeks.
SPOILER ALERT: Here’s what else happened in the finale:
The episode’s title was “Graduation Day,” which meant it was the last shift for rookies Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie) and Chickie Brown (Arija Bareikis) under the tutelage of their training officers. By the episode’s end Ben was partnered with Sammy, who previously had asked to be transferred from the detective unit back in to uniform as a training officer. And Chickie appeared headed, at least eventually, toward the LAPD SWAT unit, as she took the first steps toward steering her career in that direction.
Ben forced his own training officer, John Cooper (Michael Cudlitz), into rehab for the painkillers he’s been taking secretly all season-long for chronic back pain. Ben’s assertiveness in delivering an ultimatum to Cooper after Cooper’s pain (and constant pill-popping) prevented him from backing up Ben in a life-threatening tussle with a desperate perp (who eventually met his demise in a fall off a building) represented Ben’s own “graduation” of sorts from tentative rookie to seasoned veteran. This chase, which had Sherman pursuing this suspect over multiple L.A. rooftops, was one of the most dramatic sequences in an episode that was full of great scenes.
A serious rift developed between detective partners Lydia Adams (Regina King) and Josie Ochoa (Jenny Gago) when Josie learned Lydia, 36, was involved in an ongoing affair with Josie’s 28-year-old son.
That conflict was not resolved, though – another reason, of many, why we’d like to see this show return for another go-round.