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‘Southland’ Season 5 Episode 2 Recap: “Heat”


“You have to be crazy to want this job.”

The episode begins with Detective Lydia Adams (Regina King) chasing a suspect – a skinny blonde woman – on foot. She pins her to the ground and the scene freeze frames just as the suspect’s fist connects with Lydia’s face…

Sammy and Ben
Ben’s (Ben McKenzie) friend Officer Dave Mendoza (Chad Michael Murray) is in the hospital after getting shot at in a drive-by. Ben is on a warpath – along with organizing a barbecue to help pay for Mendoza’s medical bills -, but Sammy (Shawn Hatosy) thinks Mendoza brought it on himself by hanging around with the wrong kind of people.

They pay a visit to Dwayne, a member of a gang called the East Side Gs and who’s in the middle of celebrating his son’s birthday, and Ben questions him about Mendoza. Dwayne is adamant that he had nothing to do with it, but Ben is unconvinced. Under pressure to give some kind of information to get Ben off his back, Dwayne tells them about a rumor he heard that his rival gang were looking to go after some cops.

Ben pursues the lead, but turns up with nothing. Eventually, Sergeant Waters (Lesley Fera) lets them know that Mendoza lied about the whole thing. Turns out he shot himself in order to collect on the insurance.

It doesn’t go without consequences for Dwayne, however. His son is shot by Dwayne’s rival gang for supposedly tipping off the police.

A guilt-ridden Sammy is stunned by Ben’s indifference toward the shooting and the fact that Dwayne’s son most likely won’t survive, and the tension mounts between the two cops.

Sammy: It was a bullshit warrant. You had to push him.
Ben: We asked the guy a question, he lied, we believed him.
Sammy: Kid got shot because we put the heat on Dwayne to snitch. I feel like crap about it, wondering why you don’t.
Ben: It’s not my fault the asshole chose to be a gangster.
Sammy: Everyone makes choices. It’s really easy to get sucked into bad stuff.

(Anyone else want to punch Ben in the face?)

Officer John Cooper (Michael Cudlitz) and new pal Officer Gary Steele (Derek Ray) — a war veteran — are on patrol, still trying to figure out their dynamic as partners.

They respond to a call in which an elderly man has accidentally driven his car into a golf course. John wants to take his license, which is expired, and impound the vehicle. Gary is more sympathetic toward the elderly man’s situation, and wants to give him a break. Without a car, the elderly man won’t be able to get his groceries or go to the doctor.

John is unperturbed and orders Gary to give the citation and impound the vehicle.

They end up going to the elderly man’s house later on, where they find him dead on an armchair – having committed suicide.

Gary: Guy’s probably barely surviving off his Social Security.
John: You think I did it just to be an asshole?
Gary: Yes, sir.

They go to an ice cream parlor on their break and a middle-aged woman, annoyed because she thinks her taxpayer dollars are being wasted, tells John, “While you’re standing around, there are crimes being committed.” John calmly lectures her – telling her that cops are human just like everybody else – before leaving the parlor with two pistachio nut ice cream cones.

Later, they stop a car and a man gets out and starts firing at them. John shoots the man dead, while Gary is frozen in place behind the car – clearly frightened by the experience.

The event turns out to be the final nail in the coffin of that partnership, as John walks away with Gary’s badge.

Lydia and Ruben
Lydia (Regina King) is trying to get back into shape and lose the baby weight, which means putting a stop to breast-feeding much to the chagrin of her mother. She gets a text about a homicide in the Hills and she and Ruben (Dorian Missick) go to investigate.

Side note: Lydia and Ruben have one of my favorite relationships on the show. I love their teamwork, their friendship, and the actors have great chemistry.

Anyways, they question the victim’s wife, a female boxer, and quickly discover that she’s responsible for his murder.

When they go to confront her, she runs off and Lydia chases after her – replaying the first scene of the episode. Lydia tackles her to the ground and while the wife fights back, Lydia manages to hold her down and they arrest her.

That night, Lydia goes out with friends. She’s having a great time, telling them stories from work, when suddenly Ruben shows up – a solemn expression on his face. Immediately, Lydia knows something is wrong.

The episode ends with Lydia finding out her mother has passed away. Holding baby Christopher, she watches from the porch as her mother is taken away by the ambulance.

Regina King’s performance is heartbreaking, and the episode leaves you feeling absolutely chilled. I’m waiting for Ben and Sammy’s partnership to implode, as well. It’s not looking good for the two of them, with the way things have been going so far.

We get to meet John’s new partner in the next episode, so look out for that.

Memorable Quotes

Lydia: Coming to work is the easy part of my day. I’ll take dead bodies over a screaming baby any time.
They both stink.
At least the bodies are quiet.

Sammy: Being a cop doesn’t change who you are or make you a better person.

Gary: All we’re doing here is dispersing crime. People hate you – like that lady in the ice cream shop, man… We’re all just numbers here. Why would I risk my life for this? You have to be crazy to want this job. It’s not worth dying for.

Rating: A

What did you think of the episode?