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Southland 5×03 “Babel” Recap


“Sometimes things get lost in translation.”

John gets a new partner, Lydia struggles to cope without her mother, and Sammy and Ben become involved in a showdown with an armed madman. All the while, the cops have to deal with a breakdown in the LAPD dispatch system, making communication difficult.

Sammy and Ben

Despite the events of “Heat,” Sammy (Shawn Hatosy) and Ben (Ben McKenzie) seem to be on good terms again. They do a demonstration (involving hand puppets) for a group of first graders about the dangers and safety precautions of walking home from school and crossing the street. Afterward, the teacher, a young, fairly attractive woman, asks for Ben’s number. New romantic prospects are a-brewing.

On the other hand, Sammy is dealing with a very big headache in the form of his ex-wife Tammi (Emily Bergl) who is threatening to move to Chicago, meaning Sammy wouldn’t be able to see his son. They get into a heated argument in the middle of the street, with Tammi vowing to make sure that Sammy never sees his son again. It becomes somewhat physical and it is revealed that Tammi brought her current husband to record the whole thing. Angrily, Sammy takes the video camera and leaves with Ben since they’re still on patrol.

The duo respond to a final call at a community center, where a madman has massacred a group of ESL students. Ben is injured during the shootout, after the assailant fires a shot right by Ben’s ear.

Sammy later learns from Sergeant Waters (Lesley Fera) that Tammi has filed charges against him, but that the department will stand by him. Ben promises to support Sammy, as well.


Having decided to stop training newbies, John (Michael Cudlitz) is paired with Officer Lucero (Anthony Ruivivar) – a veteran cop of Hispanic descent who’s recently been assigned to John’s precinct. Lucero has a seemingly more upbeat attitude, compared to John, and likes to make corny jokes.

The new partners respond to a couple calls throughout the day, including one involving a deaf, homeless man.

Lydia and Ruben

Lydia is adjusting to life without her mother, who passed away suddenly in the previous episode. Feeling overwhelmed by her responsibilities as a single mother, Lydia reaches out to her ex-lover. She’s later confronted by his wife, who demands that Lydia stop calling and sending photos to her husband.

At work, she and Ruben have been assigned to a case involving a young black college student who was shot. They contact the victim’s mother and learn that her other two sons were killed as well and that she believed it was only a matter of time before her youngest was murdered.

Overall, the episode was enjoyable, but not nearly as engaging as “Heat” had been.

Memorable Quotes

John: Bofa was asking about you.
Dewey: Bofa?
John: Bofa deez nuts.
Dewey: [laughs]
John: You think that’s funny?
Dewey: [in between laughs] Coming from you man, that’s hysterical.

Rating: B

Southland airs Wednesdays at 10/9 central on TNT.

What did you think of the episode? Comment below.