The TV-cop genre continues to be well served by Southland
, released here with three complete seasons, a total of 26 episodes plus bonus features, on six discs (the second season had previously been released separately). The core elements remain from the first season; this was and is a gritty, sometimes graphic, often violent, and frequently profane (especially in these uncensored versions) look at the personal and professional lives of the cops and detectives who work the streets of Los Angeles. But these second, third, and fourth seasons find the series continuing to refine its style, with details like the brief teasers at the top of episodes that offer glimpses of scenes later played out in full. And while it still features a sizable ensemble of actors, the focus is increasingly on just four or five: Detective Lydia Adams (Regina King), who seems to have a new partner every week while her original sidekick (Tom Everett Scott) recovers from being shot in season one; Detective Sammy Bryant (Shawn Hatosy), whose domestic problems are sometimes more distracting than those he encounters on the job, although the latter are not inconsiderable either; Officers Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie), who's nearing the end of his rookie probation period, and John Cooper (Michael Cudlitz), Sherman's partner and tough love training officer, whose chronic back pain has resulted in a dependence on painkillers; and, in season four, Officer Jessica Tang (Lucy Liu), Cooper's new partner, who has an eye on a promotion to sergeant. Storylines abound, most of them involving drugs, gangs, murders, and similarly grim goings-on; some are resolved within a single episode, while several others (like Sammy's tumultuous marriage and impending fatherhood, the death of a major character and its aftereffects, Adams's suspension after photos of a sensational celebrity murder scene are leaked from her cell phone, or Cooper's addiction) continue over the course of one or more seasons. The tone is fairly realistic. There's no glamour here--these are imperfect people who make mistakes, sometimes while simply trying to help those unable to help themselves--and no CSI
-style beauty shots. But there's plenty of conflict, lots of action (more than the average cop encounters, but hey, this is TV), and, over the course of more than two dozen episodes, more than enough compelling content to keep viewers coming back for more. Extras include unaired scenes, a couple of featurettes, and more. --Sam Graham
The Southland is Los Angeles: sandy beaches Bel-Air mansions gangbangers and drug deals gone wrong. It's where the rookies and veterans of a stand-up LAPD unit see all the violence and fear a big city can breed and struggle to make a difference. This 6-Disc Set contains all 26 explosive Season Two Three and Four Episodes of the gripping lightning-paced series about the men and women who live their lives on a jagged edge taking on criminals victims and a sprawling city tainted by vice and seething with danger. Sometimes the cops triumph. Sometimes they fail. And sometimes the poison they live with on the job comes home with them. Police action hits hard in Southland.