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Criminal Justice

LAPD TV Drama Airs 2nd Episode Tonight

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An ad for NBC's Southland in last week's LA Times became the focus of controversy. Nevertheless, the show got some good play out of that and did pretty well in the ratings.

Despite the advertisement, an LA Times review of the show didn't go over gloriously. "The pilot seems to prefer a more narrow and predictable slice of Los Angeles, one in which a mostly white police force takes on the crimes of the city's grittier (read: mostly nonwhite and immigrant) neighborhoods," wrote Mary McNamara. "Otherwise, there isn't anything here that we haven't seen before, and L.A. is -- at least in the pilot -- once again confined mostly to its urban core, which seems needlessly limiting."

But she continued to hold out hope for future episodes that maybe they will show Los Angeles' true geography as the show's description reads: "From the beaches of Malibu to the streets of East Los Angeles..." The LAPD doesn't patrol Malibu or the unincorporated East LA, but let's just hope that just marketing and not going to play a major role in the script. Besides that, it'd be nice to see a range of Los Angeles from the more unusual neighborhoods like Shadow Hills in the Valley or the well known but rarely in the spotlight San Pedro.

Over at the New York Times, Alessandra Stanley gave it her initial approval: "[Last] Thursday’s pilot is one of the most gripping opening episodes of any network crime series. That’s partly because “Southland” leaves behind the hokey forensics fetishes of “CSI” and the soap-opera anguish of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”; it bypasses the trend of eccentric, mind-reading detectives in favor of the harsh realism and moral ambiguities of cable shows like “The Shield” and “Rescue Me” and even, to a point, “The Wire.”

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And by gripping, she really meant it. Below is a clip literally ripped from the headlines, but done in a more realistic way. Here, a Black teenager walks of a DASH bus in South LA and is asked by a group of Latinos what neighborhood he's from. You know what happens next:

As listed in TV Junkie, Southland airs tonight at 10 p.m. on NBC. A baby girl will be found in the middle of a city intersection.