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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Southland - Identity

Lydia is pregnant and she’s keeping the baby!  We don’t know about this, y’all. So far, it’s touching, but we’re not usually a fan of taking the main female character on a show and impregnating her. It makes stories screech to a halt. The father is yet unknown, but we bet it’s whoever Lydia called at the end of last week’s episode. We know. That tells you nothing. Tang advises Lydia to keep the pregnancy a secret as long as possible so the station doesn’t put her on desk duty.

Lydia is called to investigate the murder of a real estate agent, Brian Monroe. She finds out that Monroe let workers stay upstairs in his house for free. Lydia meets a worker, Melanie, and her daughter, Nicole. Nicole starts fighting with another worker and that worker audibly accuses Nicole of Monroe’s murder. Melanie steps in and confesses to the murder, obviously to save her teenage daughter. Lydia questions Melanie back at the station and finds out that Monroe and Nicole were sleeping together. Melanie and Nicole were living behind a 7-11 when Monroe took them in.

Melanie says that Nicole has always been a troubled child. Nicole has personality disorders as well as ADHD. Nicole’s behavior and the effort it takes to care for her cost Melanie jobs and apartments, but Melanie simply sees all this as a test from God and loves her daughter. It’s really sweet. Meanwhile, Nicole has run away and is on the streets. After evidence leads back to Nicole, Lydia finds and chases her through the street. Nicole cuts Lydia’s arm with a knife, jumps into a truck and tries to drive it away. Nicole hits a squad car that was blocking her exit, and Ruben shoots Nicole in the shoulder.

Nicole cries, saying that she ruined everything, as Lydia arrests her. Weirdly, even though this girl is clearly crazy, we felt bad for her. At the hospital, Nicole confesses to the murder, saying that she caught Monroe sleeping with another worker. Nicole is afraid her mother hates her, says she wants to die, and says that she doesn’t matter. Lydia assures Nicole that her mother loves her and her face lights up when Nicole comes up in conversation. The worker who slept with Monroe tells Lydia that when she has kids, they will be lucky. It’s a nice moment, but that worker is still a ho.

An off-duty Ben chases a guy away from his female neighbor after he sees the guy giving her a hard time. The woman thanks him and a police car pulls up. Ben tells the cops that everything is alright and they leave. The woman says that she hates cops and asks Ben if he heard about the cop who hit a girl for no reason. Ben looks uncomfortable and says, “That’s messed up.” Ben goes to a crime scene and stands with his partner over the dead body of Lupe, a victim who was well-liked in his area. They find the killer later. Sammy tries again to get Ben to move to his neighborhood. We also find out that Tammy has custody of the baby. Ugh.

Next, Ben and Sammy chase a purse snatcher. Sudden movement causes Sammy to pull his gun and shoot. He accidentally shoots a dog. This saddens us greatly. We hate when dogs are hurt or killed on TV and in movies. One of the things we liked about LOST is that they never killed the dog. Ben arrests the suspect while Sammy applies pressure to the dog’s bleeding wound. Sammy yells at the suspect for causing a dog to be shot. Sammy trades two Lakers tickets to get the dog a ride to the animal clinic. Sammy finds out that the dog needs surgery and it will cost $1,300. Sammy is willing to pay when the dog’s owners cannot, and everyone thinks he’s crazy. Watching the other cops make fun of Sammy (especially the card) was great. We also liked seeing Sammy not be a dick for once this season.

Sammy and Ben are called to a community pool where an Asian woman is threatening a man with a knife. She drops the knife when the police tell her too, maintaining that she can kill the guy with her bare hands. Ben notices a little girl floating face-down in the pool, jumps in, grabs the girl, and revives her. We’re not super-sure what happened there. Did the girl nearly drown because everyone was distracted by the fight? Was the fight over the girl? Either way, we like seeing Ben saving children rather than punching them, haha.

Cooper and Tang are asked to remove a homeless man from private property. The man, Tom Smith, is a mentally ill ex-marine who did not have an I.D. and so could not re-enter homeless housing. Tang wants to get Tom an I.D. so that he can go back to this shelter. Tang spends most of the episode on her cell phone trying to get help for Tom, while her partner deals with the other police situations of the day. Even a mangled body, completely dismembered from being hit by a train, cannot distract Tang from her mission to help Tom. There’s some black humor there.

Tang walks around the scene of that crime, screaming into her phone at whatever incompetent person has the nerve to not care about a veteran. We’re pretty sure everyone was won over by Tang in this scene, if there were any hold-outs. We’ve been fans from the start. Tang tells Cooper that her father was a marine. Cooper asks if Tang is going to rescue every marine they come across, which reminds one of us of one of her favorite episodes of The West Wing ("In Excelsis Deo", in case anyone cares). Tang replies, “Never leave a man behind.” Tom’s mental illness  and other obstacles get in the way of Tang’s plan to save him, however, and the two cops are forced to simply move Tom down the street, away from the private property.

This episode was really sad, but it hit all the right notes. This was a strong outing, but we want Cooper and Ben to make up and love each other again.

Episode grade: B+

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