A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show very intentionally offers a realistic, gritty look at crime and urban life. Its take-aways consequently aren't particularly upbeat or positive, but at least they're not artificial, either. Emphasizes teamwork and partnership.
Positive Role Models
Many of the veteran cops around rookie Ben are quite cynical, though they're obviously dedicated to their mission of fighting crime. Suspects' sexuality is sometimes discussed as a motive for crimes.
Violence & Scariness
Several critical scenes include violence. It's not especially gory, but it looks quite realistic; when people get hit in the head, they fall down, and when they get shot, they die. That's how it goes in real life, though not in most action shows.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Plenty of raunchy, sex-themed talk and some flirting. Couples embrace and kiss, but there's no graphic sex or nudity.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
The hardened cops talk just the way they might in real life, with a good bit of swearing -- though most of the choice words are bleeped. Still, plenty of expletives remain, including "a--hole," "crap," "p---y," and "circle jerk," as well as some off-color references to body parts, especially female genitalia.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Plenty of drinking -- in bars, at parties, and at home. The cops often speculate about drugs as a motivating factor in crimes.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this gritty cop show is dark, violent, and very realistic. Unlike some police series, which manufacture drama with over-the-top crimes and romantic intrigue between the main characters, this series focuses on "regular" crimes and the honest anguish of the victims and their loved ones, as well as the officers' often troubled home lives. The violent scenes, while not generally bloody, have real consequences. There's also plenty of swearing (not always bleeped) and a good bit of drinking, as well as some raunchy talk (but no sensitive body parts are shown).
Is It Any Good?
Being a cop is a tough and thankless job, and Southland doesn't sugar-coat it. The experienced officers are cynical, often bitter, after seeing just about everything during their years on the streets, and Sherman is getting a crash course in reality right from the start. Cooper and his peers have developed a hardened exterior because it's the only way to get by on the force, and Sherman stands out for his innocence. Clearly, he'll need to shed that soft shell, and fast.
John Wells, who also brought ER to the small screen, created Southland. That series also examined the personal crises of everyday life. But while ER tipped toward the melodramatic, the crimes here are the mundane but heartbreaking stuff of the big city: sudden senseless killings, missing kids, random violence. There are no criminal masterminds, no complex plots, no exciting heists. By focusing on the incidents' everyday nature, the show makes the honest reactions of victims and their loved ones seem more dramatic -- more human -- than the most "exciting" gunfights and daring rescues on other police series. Realism, it seems, is more interesting than any fictional drama.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.