• Network: NBC , TNT
  • Series Premiere Date: Apr 9, 2009
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5
Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 22
  2. Negative: 1 out of 22
  1. What Southland has, already, is its own swagger, a get-outta-my-way style of moving and talking that says it's going for the raw edges we see on cable shows like "Breaking Bad." Southland pulls it off, too. If Thursday night's premiere episode is an indication how it plans to roll, it's a keeper.
  2. Tough-minded, suspenseful and shot in an unnerving bleached light, Southland is by far the better drama--Thursday’s pilot is one of the most gripping opening episodes of any network crime series.
  3. Action and tight-squeeze situations outweigh eloquent pronouncements about 100 to 1 on this drama from ER's John Wells. It may not be the greatest show on Earth, but it's the most powerful cop drama in a few years.
  4. Prattle is, in any case, a minor note compared with the crackling pace of the first script, its evocative mood of menace at every turn, each police car racing to destinations that will reveal who knows what tragedy or unspeakable sight.
  5. Reviewed by: Randee Dawn
    80
    It's compelling from minute one to credit roll--exciting, smart, realistic and brilliant, all in one brightly lit package.
  6. Southland is built to be bigger, and in that sense it succeeds immediately, thanks to excellent casting (especially Michael Cudlitz and Regina King as a cop and a detective), gritty location shooting around L.A. and storytelling that doesn’t hold the viewer’s hand.
  7. Reviewed by: Mary Houlihan
    75
    The acting is top-notch, the editing is fast and furious and the photography is rich, giving the show a fresh feel. But the first episode never really breaks new ground in cop land.
  8. Reviewed by: Michael Starr
    75
    Southland has a "Cops"-like feel with jittery, hand-held cameras pointing every which way. Dramamine, anyone?--but it works with the show's you-are-there format. A promising start.
  9. The casting on Southland is a plus and so is Biderman's intent not to make it easy for viewers to succumb to "pilotitis."
  10. Reviewed by: Michael Murray
    75
    In spite of this art-school eagerness to please, there's an appealing lyricism that permeates Southland.
  11. 75
    Southland, which comes from “ER” executive producers John Wells and Christopher Chulack, is the more serious and satisfying drama, though it could use a little more of the lightness of The Unusuals.
  12. 70
    If the genre is no longer groundbreaking, it's still compelling in skilled hands.
  13. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    70
    Wells and company have delivered a cop drama with its own racing pulse, albeit for a network that's uncomfortably close to flatlining.
  14. 70
    The show is what it is--no surprises, no disappointments.
  15. Ben also seems to come from some money, a situation that's bound to create conflict but may also add to the uncomfortable sense that he (and we) are watching bad things happen from a too-safe distance.
  16. Of the two new cop shows this week, Southland is the more serious and realistic. It also demonstrates the potential for greater depth in its exploration of characters and their stories.
  17. Reviewed by: Lesley Smith
    60
    If visuals are not mundane in Southland, neither is the dialogue, especially the incidental repartee that oils coexistence in a high-stress profession.
  18. In theory, Southland could turn out to be a rich and textured cross between, say, "Hill Street Blues" and "Crash" with a little "Training Day" on the side, but the pilot, for all its horrific crimes and grimy street scenes, is strangely bland.
  19. It looks great, makes good use of Los Angeles locations and has a solid ensemble cast (including Regina King and Tom Everett Scott as detectives). But it feels emotionally empty in the same way "Third Watch" so often did.
  20. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    58
    Ten years ago, Southland would have seemed revolutionary on TV. But now it does feel like network playing catch-up with cable.
  21. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    50
    The pilot episode is laden with so much setup for countless other characters that the network should have supplied a flow chart.
  22. 37
    Southland is unbearable--a pretentious, foul-mouthed, overly arty chore that will leave you with a headache should you linger too long.
User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 119 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 41
  2. Negative: 4 out of 41
  1. DaveJ
    May 20, 2009
    10
    This show is the uniform partner to NYPD Blue. As a retired police sergeant I can see the real life street situations in this show. It is not This show is the uniform partner to NYPD Blue. As a retired police sergeant I can see the real life street situations in this show. It is not for everyone since most of the low votes on here are people that know nothing about law enforcement on the street level. The old saying is 90% of police work is done in 19% of the time. Homicide was great, NYPD Blue was great, Police Story was great, Law & Order was/is below fair and some of the others that I cannot remember are below average. ER was not a real ER because I have worked in a real ER so those who knock Southland probably have never been a cop or worked the streets. This show is realistic and those who say it is not just don't know and have never been there. If you showed police on patrol it would be boring as most shifts are but you do want action and Southland gives you action. COPS is just the interesting part of the shift not the boring part. Full Review »
  2. JohnS
    Jan 19, 2010
    10
    Outstanding show, its refreshing to see such a gritty show on primetime TV, have to hand it to the crew they did an AMAZING job, its too bad Outstanding show, its refreshing to see such a gritty show on primetime TV, have to hand it to the crew they did an AMAZING job, its too bad the network canned it before it could even really get going, lets hope it gets a second chance on TNT Full Review »
  3. HDCase
    Jan 14, 2010
    5
    This should would be great, if it only concentrated on the street cops who are charismatic, well-fleshed out characters. Unfortunetly, it This should would be great, if it only concentrated on the street cops who are charismatic, well-fleshed out characters. Unfortunetly, it divides its time between them and some very uninteresting and unlikeable detectives. Cut out the detectives and maybe I'd watch again. Full Review »