SOUTHLAND 4.09 ‘God’s Work’

Tang aims for a promotion while Sherman learns an important lesson about charity.

Hilary Rothingby Hilary Rothing

Episode Title: 'God's Work'

Writer: Cheo Hodari Coker

Director: Guy Norman Bee


While Robinson (Dorian Missick) searches a yard, Adams (Regina King) goes inside an abandoned house, looking for a suspect. Nine hours earlier, the detectives respond to the murder of a gang member killed by a rival for defacing graffiti. At first, the victim's family refuses to cooperate with Adams, preferring to seek their own justice but one woman gives the detectives a useful lead.

When two members from the gang responsible for the murder are arrested, Adams questions the younger of the two and tricks him into giving up a name. The detectives head to the abandoned house where the murder weapon is supposedly stashed. Once inside, Adams is attacked while Robinson, unaware of what's going on, cases the area outside. He soon comes to her rescue and Adams goes to her doctor's appointment, two hours late. As she heads into her appointment, Adams realizes her stomach is bleeding.

At the firing range, Tang (Lucy Liu) tells Cooper (Michael Cudlitz) about her progress with the sergeant's exam. When Cooper asks, Tang tells him the boy she shot is stable but that's all they'll tell her. While out on patrol, the officers get a call that the boy is awake and the Force Investigation Division wants to meet with them, again.

Tang tells the investigators that the safety tip was off the toy gun, despite the boy's claim that it was on. During his meeting, Cooper says the tip was off the gun but does not suggest Tang removed it. Later that day, Tang gets a call that she made sergeant.

While on patrol, Bryant (Shawn Hatosy) and Sherman (Benjamin McKenzie) talk to Amber, who tells them that Ronnie has disappeared. She asks Sherman for money but Bryant pulls away before the conversation can go further. Bryant tells his partner to stop trying to counsel hookers and beat up their pimps. At the precinct, the social worker who took in Amber's daughter tells Sherman she left the home she was placed in. When Amber turns up outside the precinct demanding help, Sherman tells her that he's buying Daniela a one-way bus ticket home, which he's leaving for her at the shelter.

Later that day, Ronnie pulls a drive-by on Bryant and Sherman while they're in their patrol car. A pursuit ensues leading Bryant to drive into an intersection. A moment later, their car is hit by an oncoming vehicle. Sherman frantically radios for help while Bryant sits unconscious in the car.


The moral of 'God's Work,' as stated in the voiceover at the top of episode is confidence leads to risk which is turn leads to danger. Each of our three teams demonstrated that to varying degrees in this hour.

Despite shooting a teenager armed with a toy gun and then covering it up, Tang believes she's worthy of the rank of sergeant. Cooper clearly doesn't agree with the promotion and it looks like he'll finally make that known in next week's season finale.

Sherman got personally involved in the case of a prostitute and her teenage daughter. After delivering a severe beating to the pimp and father of the teen, Sherman thought the badge would protect him. But a bruised ego is sometimes worse than a busted lip. Ronnie decided to exact revenge on Sherman but it appears Bryant is the one who got the worst of it.

As for Adams, the detective stubbornly continued to hide her pregnancy, confident she could do her job without putting her unborn child at risk. With the physical toll it's taken on her, Adams should have bowed out, weeks ago. After getting stabbed through her Kevlar vest, it may be too late to take it slow, now.

The theme of over-confident risk taking also played out on a much smaller scale in this episode's cases. A man plants a camera in a coffee shop bathroom, streaming the footage to his website's paying members while sipping a latte just a few feet away. Another man takes his Porsche to score drugs on the wrong side of town when Cooper and Tang catch up with him. An affluent couple suffers a miscommunication during a violent bedroom encounter leading to a police call and a drunk guy dressed up like a golf ball swings a club at a merchant's breakables. 

The point was well made. Confidence inspires risk which can lead to dangerous situations. The degrees to which we saw this played out were sometimes laughable but mostly intensely serious. Just how serious we'll learn, next week.