“Southland’s” third season ended with a powerful finale in which Officer John Cooper (Michael Cudlitz) finally admitted to his serious painkiller addiction after being confronted with the impact it was having on his job — and on his rookie-no-more partner, Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie).
Seeking treatment wasn’t exactly voluntary — Sherman threatened to turn Cooper in if he didn’t man up.
With the officers presumably not working together anymore, we’re left wondering where the show will go from here. TNT has not yet picked up the drama for Season 4, so Cudlitz and Sherman have yet to talk to producers about the next step for their characters.
“I think they’ll go back in and decide all of that later, but I think that door has been left open for many, many changes including and not limited to the ones that you see at the end of the episode,” says Cudlitz.
If the show doesn’t get picked up, Cudlitz notes that he’s grateful to TNT for picking up the drama after it was canceled by NBC just six episodes into its second season. According to him, TNT gave producers the freedom to make the show the way it was intended.
“We have produced the television series that we set out to produce and TNT has given us the opportunity to do that, you know, unflinchingly,” Cudlitz says. “We’re very proud of the ten hours that we have done as well as the, you know, the 13 previous hours that we produced. But more so specifically though the past 10 hours.”
He’s so confident that the show will return for Season 4 that he adds firmly, “We will not be discussing not being picked up anymore. I think the show is getting picked up. I think it’s a matter of how many [episodes].”
McKenzie agrees. “If it’s three to one I’ll still put money on it. I’ll bet you 100 bucks. You pick the odds and I’ll bet you 100 bucks, how about that.”
So what’s next for Cooper and Sherman? “This season really completes the journey for my character literally and metaphorically of being a rookie,” McKenzie says. In Season 4, the gloves are off. “He’s finally done with his probationary period. He’s grown up – he’s become a confident officer in his own right, more than competent and he’s also had to face down his [Cooper] and tell him some hard truth. The world is wide open and he can go in any number of directions which I think is very exciting.”
As for Cooper, Cudlitz simply says, “Everything is moving forward, everybody is moving forward.”