Po­lice show makes the grade

The Press - The Box - - FRONT PAGE - WILL HARVIE

De­cem­ber and Jan­uary are tra­di­tion­ally slow months for New Zealand tele­vi­sion. The big se­ries have wrapped up and net­works are hold­ing their new pro­gram­ming for launches in early Fe­bru­ary. But nuggets can still be found, and TV One fills a gap at 9.30pm Mon­days with South­land.

The first episode was es­pe­cially good: rookie cop Ben Sher­man (Ben­jamin Mcken­zie) is thrust into the un­gen­tle hands of po­lice train­ing of­fi­cer John Cooper (Michael Cudlitz) to learn sur­vival on the mean streets of south Los An­ge­les.

‘‘You do what they teach you in the academy, you will die,’’ the pro tells the rookie.

Mean­while, de­tec­tive Ly­dia Adams (Regina King) solves a child ab­duc­tion.

The pi­lot had one the strong­est end­ings I’ve seen in years. It was mean, gritty and sur­pris­ing.

The se­ries was mis­treated by Amer­i­can net­work NBC, which aired an ini­tial seven episodes and or­dered a sec­ond se­ries, but then got cold feet and canned it mid-pro­duc­tion. US cable chan­nel TNT then bought the rights, fin­ished the sec­ond sea­son, aired a third and will launch the fourth in Jan­uary.

Give a South­land a go. It’s promis­ing.

If you missed the first episodes, find them on tvnz.co.nz’s on de­mand ser­vice.

South­land: Is Ben Sher­man, left, strong enough to po­lice south Los An­ge­les?

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