spoiler alert – do not read if you haven’t seen last night’s Southland.
ow that they’re gone, can we talk about last nights shocking ending? I’m not a regular Southland viewer, it’s something I tune into when I can and boy am I glad I did last night. Maybe it’s my general morbidness but I love when the Grim Reaper’s sickle comes a swingin’ down on a regular character’s neck. I love TV death even more when it’s a complete surprise and this was.
The episode began with Sammy (Shawn Hatosy) in a chair, looking miserable, occasionally obscured by a gleam of bright light. We hear a woman’s scream and Sammy breaks down. A voice over tells us how Detective Bryant is going to be reminded how cops never know what’s going to happen on any given day, and suddenly I filled with dread.
We flashback 20 hours to Sammy waking up on Nate’s couch and we begin an above average episode which takes us on a day in the lives of Adams (Regina Hall), Sherman and Cooper (McKenzie and Cudlitz) and Moretta (Kevin Alejandro) and Bryant and even had a guest spot from Wallace Fennel himself, Percy Dags III (Veronica Mars) as a suspect in Adams’ case.
At the episode’s end Sammy and Nate were cruising through a bad neighbourhood, Sammy tells Nate how he’s gonna move in with Sal (Michael McGrady) and out of Nate’s when a bottle hits their car. Sammy wants to let it go but Nate insists they stop. They play nice with a couple of hoodlums and just as their walking away to leave, in the back of the shot, a bat comes flying at Moretta’s head – and down he goes.
In seconds he’s swarmed by a mob of people, kicking him while he’s on the ground. Bryant fires his gun, but the mob barely moves, he fires again and again but the mass is too many, one guy reached for Moretta’s gun and Bryant kills him before he can get it. Bryant hurls himself on top of Moretta becoming his partner’s shield. By the time backup arrived and Moretta and Bryant could finally get out of there but it was too late. And soon we’d caught up with the ominous beginning.
Shawn Hatosy, who I’ve spent plenty of time making fun of in the past, gave the performance of his career last night in the episodes final minutes. You were glued to him as he tried to save his partners life. It was a great performance.
I wouldn’t feel too bad for Kevin Alejandro, Moretta’s protrayer, he’s a regular on HBO’s True Blood, and apparently he knew from the beginning of the season the Moretta was done for. He spoke to EW earlier and said he was:
“…sad that I had to be the first one to go, it makes sense with how life on the street works.”
“I haven’t read a book or read a story or script in a very, very long time where I actually choked up. I’m not sure if I’m being biased because it was my character, but the way it was written was like poetry. It was all in the stage direction the way it was — to me getting out of the car to exchanging dialogue. It was so beautifully written, the way it finally goes down and Sammy runs out of ammunition. These guys just come and go crazy on me, and Sammy — in a very heroic move and in desperation — covers my body and pulls me up against the car so that he can take all the blows instead of them landing on me. I was so moved.”
“I’ve heard stories of these situations. And every time I read it — and last night seeing — I was so moved because it is a real story. My wife was sitting next to me and each time they moved in [on Nate], my wife would get closer to me and bury her head in my shoulder. She was crying. I had the same reaction, but I think a lot of people did. And I was very moved by [co-star Shawn Hatosy’s] performance. He deserves some amazing recognition for the way he controlled himself for that scene — and let loose. It was amazing.”
Alejandro’s Moretta is not only Southland’s first casualty, but also 2011’s.