Ben McKenzie and Michael Cudlitz from TNT's "Southland" talked to OnTheRedCarpet.com about what makes the show different from other cop dramas and demonstrate that dramatic does not mean being void of a sense of humor.
"Southland" follows LAPD officers policing the sometimes gritty streets of Los Angeles and the show's main relationship is between rookie officer Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie) and his partner and training officer John Cooper (Michael Cudlitz).
"We tend to see how the crime effects the officers personally as well as their interpersonal relationships," Cudlitz explains of the show. "The idea that John is gay and that's a problem in his life is not the case, probably him being gay is the one thing that he's come to terms with and is going right in his life. And he's sorting out the rest."
The actors spent a lot of their time training for their roles as police officers doing ride-alongs with the real LAPD and they also interact with off-duty police officers who act as extras on the TV show. But McKenzie isn't about to trade in acting for a life on the force.
"I think it's a very hard job that I don't know that I'd have the patience for," McKenzie said. "The thing that I've noticed, that I would be frustrated by if I were a cop, is that things don't actually change as much as you'd like them to change. You affect a small amount of change and you're able to change the small things, which ultimately can be important but a lot of the stuff you can't actually fix."
Ben McKenzie might be most well-known for his character Brian Atwood on "The O.C." but he thinks that the move from juvenile delinquent to crime-fighting cop wasn't the most difficult transition for his fans.
"A lot of cops watched 'The O.C.' they don't talk about it but it wasn't just 13-year-old girls, it was a lot of middle-aged men, from law enforcement, who love to watch a show about teenagers and prom and asking the girl out," McKenzie explained. "It's actually kind of just crossed the divide here. And a lot of my fans from 'The O.C.' have, I think followed me. There are a lot of hard, jaded 15-year-old girls out there who love a cop show. Love to see a guy bust some heads and pop some pain pills."
You can catch "Southland" at 10 p.m. ET on TNT.