Episode Title: "Cop or Not"
Writer: Cheo Hodari Coker
Director: J. Michael Muro
Dets. Adams (Regina King) and Ochoa (Jenny Gago) are assigned to a high profile celebrity murder case. At the crime scene, Adams takes pictures of the decapitated singer and her dead bodyguard with her cell phone to get a different angle in case the police photographers miss it. The actor-husband looks like the prime suspect in the murder of his pop singer wife but Adams has doubts. Meanwhile, photos of Adams taking the actor into custody have thrust her into the celebrity news spotlight.
Officers Cooper (Michael Cudlitz) and Sherman (Benjamin McKenzie) are assigned to stand guard outside the celebrity home and shoo off paparazzi. Cooper finds the detail a waste of time and resources. Later in the day, he and Sherman leave their post to investigate a call about a strange odor in a house. The two find a young boy surviving in the house with the dead body of his grandfather for the past three days. After getting reprimanded by a superior officer, Cooper and Sherman are sent back to the actor’s home, where he’s just committed suicide.
Sammy Brant (Shawn Hatosy), now back as an officer on gang enforcement detail, confronts Det. Moretta’s killers and threatens to seek vengeance for his partner’s murder. While on the beat, he gets a call confirming that he’s the father of his estranged wife’s baby.
After the photo Adams took on her cellphone falls into the hands of TMZ, she’s taken off the case, despite claiming not to have leaked the image. She begins to speculate over who could have passed on the photos and her future with the force. Later, Adams learns from a TV news report that it was singer’s bodyguard and lover, who was responsible for the murder.
"Southland" has made great use of its L.A. setting when it comes to portraying the grittier side of the city. And "Cop or Not" achieved the same with the other end of life in the showbiz city. The neighborhood might be nicer but there’s nothing pretty or glamorous about anything the cops of "Southland" are involved in.
Despite the curve ball of her new celebrity cop status, Detective Adams remains as grounded as ever. Adams is the character I find myself rooting for the most, but whenever a break seems to come her way, there’s always seems to be an unsavory catch. This time, it’s the release of a crime scene photo from her cell phone. Did Ochoa set her up or was it just the work of savvy celebrity news hackers? Either scenario is possible but I might just have to put the move a little past even Ochoa. Despite their occasional tension, the two seem be developing some kind of rapport.
As for Sammy, I find it hard to believe he’d be allowed to work gang detail after what he’s been through. It’s clear to everyone, especially his new partner, that putting Sammy anywhere near gangs is like throwing dynamite in a fireplace. And the relationship he’s developing with Moretta’s son adds another layer of complexity to the dark place he’s dwelling in.
Officer Cooper’s distaste for celebrity security detail and Sherman’s fascination with the accused actor’s angry voicemail message, remixed into a ring tone, really showed how many miles of hard road separate these two cops. How long will it take Sheman to become as jaded as his heart hardened partner? Many seasons, I’m hoping.
Crave Online Rating: 8.5 out of 10.