Southland Finale Recaplet: Down for the Count?

Southland Season 5 Recap John Cooper ShotSouthland signed off for the season – and possibly forever — on Wednesday night with a shocking, cliffhangery finale.

Let’s just say that star Michael Cudlitz’ tease that it would be a “satisfying, if not aggravating” episode came true.

So how exactly did our heroes go out? TVLine breaks it down partnership by partnership…

RELATED | Will Southland Return For a Fifth Season?

LYDIA AND RUBEN | Decked out in uniforms, the detectives spend the hour tracking down leads in the kidnapping of Hank and John and basically doing the job of the Robbery/Homicide Division. They eventually capture one of the tweakers involved. (The other was shot in the head by his own pal and thrown out of the car to become roadkill.) Ruben takes RHD’s glory, while Lydia eschews the press conference to spend time with her son and Russell, whom she’s starting to rely on quite a bit. “What are we doing here?” he asks, to which she replies, “I don’t know.”

BEN AND SAMMY | All the secrets Ben’s been keeping from Sammy come to a head as the latter officer attempts to track down a car connected to the break-in of his house. Ben gets to the car first, has it impounded and warns the owner – his girlfriend’s brother – to get out of town before slipping him a wad of cash. The thug calls Ben a “dirty cop” – with the path he’s been traveling down this season, it’s not an unfair label – and leaves Los Angeles. But the damage is done. Sammy finds out about the impounded car and his partner’s connection – he used his own badge number – leading to a violent confrontation. “We were partners,” Sammy yells pointedly during the fight. It’s very hard to imagine these two ever riding in the same car again.

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COOPER | This is where it gets brutal. After the events of last week’s episode, John is on desk duty and has to see a therapist. There’s also mentions of keeping weapons away from him. But the cop maintains that he’s OK, even if he walks out abruptly after his training officer asks him why he and Hank gave up their guns. And he’s moving full steam ahead on the baby train, telling his ex, “I see things clearly like I never have.” Unfortunately, she doesn’t want to have a baby with him. During the night, a neighbor’s noisy generator wakes up Cooper. He goes outside to turn it off and ends up in a verbal confrontations with the neighbors, one of whom has a gun. When the other one calls him a “pig,” John finally loses it and takes out the gun wielder. Then he beats the other one to a bloody pulp with the gun. He doesn’t stop, not even when the cops arrive and tell him to put his hands up. As he turns, they fire several shots into him(!) before realizing he is a cop. As he lies on the ground bleeding, the episode ends with Cooper’s fate up in the air.

Southland fans, what did you think of the dramatic hour? Grade it in the poll below and then hit the comments with your thoughts!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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61 Comments
  1. HOLY CRAP. Thats all there is to say about that finale. I hope the show gets renewed and John isnt dead.

  2. Andi says:

    I’m going to be so mad if this ends up being the series finale

  3. Natalie says:

    Hope that TPTB realize what an amazing drama this is & renew it. But it looks so slim with so many actors landing other gigs!

  4. Alex says:

    Why in God’s name would TNT cancel their BEST SERIES?????

  5. Scott says:

    I don’t believe Cooper could ever return as a cop even if he is not dead. Since he was the heart and soul of the series, sadly I think this is the end of this excellent show.

    • Snsetblaze says:

      He’d definitely be suspended at least, possibly fired, if he lived. The question is since he was off duty, would the guys who were beaten up have a suit against the LAPD.

      And both Ben and Sammy are becoming dirty cops.

    • tvfan says:

      I think this is a fine ending; may these excellent actors find gigs that showcase their talents!

    • John H. says:

      You just might be right… Cooper goes, the best character and the heart of the show goes.
      Hope Cudlitz gets an Emmy truly…

  6. Jack D. Wahl, Jr. says:

    Otherworldly! If a series had to go out, this one went out hard.

  7. ... says:

    It’s very frustrating that the finale ended on a cliffhanger (of sorts). I think it was in TVLine’s interview with Cudlitz where he mentions how they’ve been on the chopping block every season. Why, then, aren’t they doing their best to wrap things up at the end of their seasons? I get wanting to keep enough open threads just in case you come back, but this was a bit too open IMO.

  8. Didi says:

    They better bring this damn show back! But Scott is right, Cudlitz/Coop is the heart and soul of the show, especially after his journey this season. How could he be a cop again after beating the guy even if he does survive all those bullets? SouthLAnd is my favorite show, but it would not be the same without his character and I don’t know how much I would enjoy the show without him.

    Anyone else thought Coop almost pulled a suicide by cop move? Or at least punishment by cop for his guilt about his partner dying? They told him to raise his hands and instead, he swung them around. As a cop he knows proper procedure. Rewind and watch. Once I realized this, the ending became all the more tragic to me. :(

  9. This episode is awesome. South land is one of the best shows on tv and the writing and casting is perfect.

  10. c0rinne says:

    I’ve never liked Cooper, but I’m surprised they’d let him go out like that.

    That said, I doubt he’ll be dead if the show returns.

  11. Southland Fan says:

    The finale was amazing. I couldn’t believe the ending. However, if this is Southland’s last episode ever, it actually makes sense having John die. Throughout the season he has seen what retirement did to his mentor and realized that outside of the job he doesn’t have much of a life. He tried to start a family with his ex wife, but she didn’t want to, so he has nothing else. Thus, him committing suicide by cop over his guilt and lack of future is a tragic end, but makes sense for the character. I definitely don’t want the show to end, but at the same time, I don’t know how they would bring John’s character back into the fold if there was a new season. Like others have said, he is the heart and soul (it used to be Ben until he turned into a jackass this season) and it really wouldn’t be the same without him.

    • seattlejohn449 says:

      what if SouthLAnd explored him airing his issues with a police shrink while going through extensive physical therapy…then he opens a cop bar (serving an unofficial mentor role) and gets into a long-term relationship/gay marriage with a male cop?

  12. Lance says:

    They could pull a ” booby Ewing ” dream sequence and have coop wake up to the generator after dreaming getting shot. I hope they do something to keep the show and keep coop as a cop. Only way i can see is a cheesy dream sequence.

  13. Pat D. says:

    Wow…what an amazing ending. I hate to say it, but like others above, this seems like a very real end to the series. To make Coop come back in any form now would just cheapen the last episode. And like others have mentioned, I cant see how the show could come back without him next season.

    Just one thing that bothered me about the ending was how Cooper’s triumphant escape last week ultimately didnt matter. Or maybe that makes the tragedy of his (apparent) death even more poignant. Havent decided yet.

  14. Pat D. says:

    Also, I dunno if the writers intended this, but I ended up sympathizing with Ben over Sammy. Granted, Ben ended up “solving” the problem a very poor way, putting Sammy’s son in danger like that, but he was right—just because Sammy was feeling guilty and wanted to come clean, didnt give him the right to ruin his partner’s life after said partner had just saved his ass by backing his lie in the IA interviews.

    Sammy doesnt seem to get that his possible choice to turn in that tape in the future isnt *his* decision to make.

    But Ben was despicable in his attempt to secure the tape, and subsequently getting people hurt and killed in trying to cover the break-in up. I guess thats what they were going for—not letting the audience feel sure about who to root for.

    • Huckleberry says:

      I ended up siding with Ben too, but I also think that he should have just gone over to Sammy’s house and refused to leave until Sammy turned over the tape.

  15. Hope this is really not the end for Southland after five seasons but the finale was the best if not one of the best TV finales in recent years. Season Six is on the horizon.

  16. KJ Kennell says:

    This season was great! I did feel like Cooper tried the suicide by cop way out and that upsets me. He worked so hard to overcome his pill addiction and become that awesome cop. Sammy is my favorite and I’m glad he figured out that Ben set it all up. I cant wait to see season 6!

  17. kellynj says:

    I’ve adored SouthLAnd since NBC & if ever a show just keeps on rolling this is it. I’m always shocked & disappointed at the ratings numbers for excellent shows like SouthLAnd. I’m hoping TNT makes good decisions.

    The episode was incredible & Michael Cudlitz shows again that he’s being criminally overlooked at awards seasons. So hoping this goes as a season finale, NOT series. Have faith in the writers, they’ll reward us next Jan!

  18. Angie J says:

    John is such a complex character and has gone thru so much. To now die like this would be so tragic. His ex wife doesnt want to have a baby with him because she’s afraid. He’s come so close to death -it scared her. Seeing them work through that would be good. Maybe he can’t be a cop again or maybe he can. He’s so traumatized – do we just throw this cop away?? This series is probably one of the of the most complex on television right now. It would be ashamed to see it go. I think Regina King and Ben McKenzie have both accepted pilots for new shows, so who knows?? Their storylines are great and I’d love to see more next season.
    BTW whoever rated the finale a 1 is either brain dead or asleep.

    • Pat D. says:

      “Maybe he can’t be a cop again or maybe he can.”

      Well, it sure looked like he committed murder in that alley…

  19. White Bread says:

    Good way to end it. I think Coop went out the only way he wanted to go out, surrounded by fellow officers.

  20. Curious says:

    I was shocked to see how John Cooper’s final scenes went. I believe he is dying, not just injured. Having been a police officer for 30 years, though in a city NOTHING like LA, I was hoping John Cooper would retire after what happened to him and Lucero. I have watched this show for last 3 seasons and was hooked by the honesty and brutality that was shown….because it IS REAL.
    And I have loved Dewey’s character….because I have known many cops like him. Always made me laugh.

    • Snsetblaze says:

      I liked Dewey’s character as well although I always wondered why they booted him up to series regular and pretty much failed to give him a storyline.

  21. Deb says:

    This would be a good end to the series, not that I want it to end. With most of the leads having pilots, at least they may have new projects if the pilots are picked up. I’d be disappointed if Southland doesn’t come back for another season but at least it might shut up a few people.

  22. Fletcher says:

    SouthLAnd is like getting sucker punched by your best friend. And after that, when they give you a hand to pick you up, they slam a knee into your ribcage. And then they grab a bottle and break it over your head.
    And then you thank them for it and beg them to do it again.

    Please figure out how to bring SouthLAnd back for another season!

  23. John Leak says:

    great show. hope it doesn’t end at this point. Question, was John shot is the back. I thought he was shot in the chest area as he turned to face officers.

  24. RichieS says:

    John Cooper broke the gay stereotype propagated by Ryan Murphy characters.

  25. sparky says:

    Can anyone clarify exactly why Coops ex wife didnt want to have a baby wih him anymore? Was she afraid that he was too screwed up after what happened or the fact that he could die at any stage on the job and she would be on her own with a baby? I hated that part of the episode most – not that it was badly written but for the fact that John finally realized that there is more important things than the job and just like that it was gone. His reaction was heartbreaking too and in the end it was his breaking point….. As much as I would hate to see the show end I think it would be in keeping with his character if he went out like he did last night. That been said if they get renewed Ill be in front of my TV watching the next chapter. Either way give John Cudlitz and the writers some awards!!!! Top notch on both scores

    • Chester says:

      I agree that part was badly written. It came out of nowhere.

    • kellynj says:

      I thought that discussion had been one that his ex had brought up in the past, meaning at least over a year ago. John coming back to it now when it had been left that long ago could have been a shock to his ex & with what was going on when he brought it back up a couple of weeks ago, she was worried what it would do to him if she said no right away. When he pushed the discussion, she told him. I thought it tracked with her expression when he brought it up a couple of episodes ago IE – this was something I wanted, but no longer want.

  26. judy B says:

    Still reeling after last nights ending. So much that is so real for all the characters. I also think suicide-by-cop was Cooper’s intent and that makes me cry because he is my favorite character. I SO want to see the series continue.

  27. BrianR says:

    My DVR didn’t get the last 5 minutes because it started late.

    • seattlejohn449 says:

      TNT repeats it late night and the last 5 minutes are worth going online to find out when it will air again

  28. Sean says:

    Why cancel this show? With what we pay for TV and the crap that is on? Southland is the best thing on TV. Cant stand another year to wait on it though.

  29. Pat D. says:

    I wonder if this show could be brought back next season via Netflix or DirecTV, like they did with Damages and Arrested Development? Granted, I dont have either service, but it would be better than outright cancelling Southland.

  30. Ram510 says:

    Am I the only one that thinks Southland could live on without Cudlitz, King, Mckenzie? I feel like this show could bring I’m new officers and keep it going for many seasons. However I think they need more than 10 episodes, at least 13

    • RichieS says:

      How about the whole police force from Rookie Blue gets transferred from Toronto to L.A. and they call it North in Southland?

  31. shadester says:

    i think they will be renewed but i want to know is when its coming back because i have to know what happens!!

  32. Amy says:

    Awesome episode and a good season finale. A good finale if it does turn out to be the series finale. From a character stand point I was frustrated. I’m frustrated that Ben (while sympathetic) became a dirty cop. He is so far from where his character started. I’m frustrated with Sammy and his paranoia. I’m also sad that the end of John Cooper may be death by cop. I would have preferred he went out by the hands of the bad guy, it just seems wrong to have the moral cop go out because of a mistake during a trauma flashback (granted he could survive the incident IF there is a next season). I was happy with the potential for Lydia. I know Southland has never been about “happing endings” but I wish the WAY a few things went down could have been different. It’s sad to think the season/series ends with Dewey being the most moral/likeable cop (not detective) in the bunch.

  33. Terry says:

    TNT, please bring this show back!

  34. Mekisha Hale says:

    If this is the finale forever for TNT’s cop show “Southland” then something is truly wrong. I watch it and it’s very compelling drama for TNT Network. Which I don’t see any other on television that shows it so real as “Southland”. I do remember some time back that actress Regina King was about to start on a show for ABC network. And that gave me something to think about then. Was the show going away all together. Another actor was also given a part in a show for another network that starred on “Southland”. Then again it looked like it’s very possible that with people leaving the show and not told if it was returning gave me reason to think. There is a very good chance this show could end it’s season and it’s show for now on.
    Hopefully something could be cleared up about renewal of the show for TNT. And it’s just people doing other projects. But not meaning the show itself isn’t going anywhere. But in this television climate were in these days nothing lasts forever.

  35. Reblogged this on thehiltonburnellfiles and commented:
    Last night it was intense that John Cooper was shot by the cops. Great amazing finale.

  36. Ellie Root says:

    I just love Southland. I am hoping they will continue the series. I’ve watched from the very beginning and now I’m hooked. Please renew.

  37. Soreto says:

    All I did was a google search to check when the finale was. Huge spoiler by the title of this page. Thank you , I’ll visit again when i need something spoiled.

  38. Naomi A. Graff says:

    I hope they don’t end this show. Southland is one of the best shows ever.
    I Never thought that Cooper would end up shot!
    I’m so into the characters, I can’t wait to see the show each week.

  39. Bill Selvo says:

    Far and away the best show on TNT, although that bar is not too high. Rizzoli and Isles, you have to be kidding. Southland is almost AMC or premium cable worthy.

  40. Donrii says:

    Why the hell did they end it there my plans for wednesdays are boring as f—k i rather watch southland than do the crap we do nowadays BRING THE SHOW BACK!