We need new ‘gritty’ American cop show Southland like a hole in the head
- Brian Donaldson
- 24 June 2010
Imagine The Wire hadn’t been created through years of painstaking research and sweat-filled toil by David Simon. Imagine, instead, that Jerry CSI/Cold Case Bruckheimer had ordered every writer he has ever known (dead or alive) to come up with a shiny ‘new’ cop show that needs to be delivered after a very long and extremely liquidy lunch. But not before he has injected them with a serum which brings on a state of consciousness staggeringly close to the onset of dementia. Five hours later they will have nailed the pilot episode of Southland (More4, Thu 1 Jul, 10pm).
Although the big name in the glossy credits for this shocker is not in fact Bruckheimer, but John Wells, the exec producer who is clearly so distraught about the demise of his finest ever project, ER, that he can’t see the wood for the tears. How bad is Southland? Really, really bad. It’s riddled with cornball clichés (a ball rolling into the gutter signifies the abduction of the child who had previously been throwing it against a garage door), improbabilities (why would an undercover vice cop risk her identity being blown by leaning into a squad car to plant a kiss on the cheek of a knucklehead officer?) and dialogue so pig-awful that printing any of it here would result in this page melting. So, do we really need a new ‘gritty’ American cop show? Like a hole in the head.