Southland Review: "Code 4"

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Holy smoke!  I never saw it coming. 

The end of tonight’s Southland just blew me away. The irony of “Code 4” became crystal clear when Nate gives the no-assistance sign to the chopper overhead.  He thinks the situation is under control as he jokes with a man about his new tattoos. Then, just as he steps away, someone slams him in the back of the head with something.  A bat maybe? 

As in real life, it all happened so fast it was hard to tell what the weapon was when Hell broke loose.

Code 4 Scene

Shawn Hatosy (Sammy) was stellar in that scene.  I could feel his terror as the once-controlled crowd became an angry mob. It was horrifying to watch Sammy desperately trying to drag Nate to safety amidst the presence of people intent on stomping on his already-bleeding and unconscious body.  I’ve watched the scene twice now and I don’t think I can watch it a third time.

Nate’s death was not what I expected.  At the beginning of this episode, I would have picked Sammy as the character in the most danger, but
Southland surprised me.  I love it when a show can do that. Nate was a complex character with a lot more story to tell and I'm gonna miss him.

The humor in this episode is what made the tragic ending all the more surprising.  It was comical to see how Ben’s ego drove him to make one mistake after another.  Like the cuffed suspect who takes off when Ben turns his back on him.  Loved John’s line,  “Why run when you can drive?  One more thing they didn’t teach you at the academy.”

Or the crazed man high on PCP, standing in the middle of the street in his underwear with multiple taser wires hanging from him.  Even when Ben seems to save the day, it still backfires when he fails to secure the prisoner properly.  It was a hellish day to be Ben overall.

Despite the humor, John’s point was valid.  This isn’t fraternity hazing, regardless of what Ben might think.  This is a job where overconfidence will get you or someone else killed.  Better he find that out sooner than later.

I missed Josie this week, as the show had her in court and off screen.  I enjoy her give and take with Lydia.  It’s fun to see those two get on one another’s nerves.

Watching Nate’s wife fall apart in Sammy’s arms was a heartbreaking way to end the episode.  What do you think the aftermath of this tragedy will be?  Do you think Sammy will actually pull it together and get his life on track?  I doubt it.  My guess is that his guilt over Nate’s death will send him spiraling out of control. 

This was one of my favorite episodes of Southland so far.  Where did it rank for you?


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (122 Votes)

C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.


Nate's killer was gunning for him. It wasn't random. As soon as Nate gets out of the car, the killer, a thin guy in black blue jeans a white t shirt and black blue jeans starts across the street. I think he has extensive neck tattoos but I won't swear to that. It's not a bat, it looks like a tie road with a bunch of big ugly bolts and washers at the end. He comes up and is met by a plaid shirt guy...And then you can see the weapon come out from behind his leg. It wasn't one of the guys Nate and Sammy were talking to. It seems his identity will be important in this arc, as during Sammy's desperate attempt to get Nate to the car, the killer gets four close ups. He'll be caught, ladies and gentlemen. I don't recognize the guy from the show....but he'll be caught.


So ironic, watching Nate signal the chopper code 4-everythings cool-then the baseball bat. Watching Sammy trying to protect him. So real, how things can spiral out of control so fast when you're a cop. Amazing episode, top 5 in my opinion.


I wish Sammy would have shot a few more of those guys. At the start of the show I thought maybe his wife lost her baby, then when they got out of the car I kind of knew what was gonna happen.


As I posted in the spoiler thread about this episode, I figured it was going to be Nate because--he's on True Blood now, and he can't do both shows at once, I would imagine... I haven't seen this episode yet but I've been bracing for it because SouthLAnd doesn't do ANYTHING half-assed, and I knew this was going to hurt when I watched it :(


Why Nate?I thought he was the best,didnt see it coming,i was like in shock,trying to figure out what just happen? boy I will miss Nate he was the best so down to earth....


I knew someone was going to die this season, as was mentioned on this website perviously, but I was not expecting it to be this soon, nor for it to be Nate. Even in the flashback part at the beginning I kept saying that there is no way nate is going to die. Definitely one of the best, if not the best, episodes of the show. And I agree with AnneMarie, best show currently on television.


Best show on television, hands down. If you haven't seen the first season, I highly recommend it.

Whipped by damon

That was rough, I never saw it coming, I love Nate, I never thought he was the one in danger! That scene was gut wrenching and so real, Southland just brings it, every week, it really shows us the danger the police deal with every day! I don't think I could watch that scene again!


As a wife of a South Florida Law Enforcement Officer, this episode really hit home, especially in the wake of the loss of two Miami-Dade Police Officers and the St. Petersburg Officers. I know that this episode was filmed well in advence but it's ironic it aired this week.


I coldn't agree more. I was so SHOCKED when I saw Nate go down, and in the end when his wife screams... we knew it! We were asking why Nate? Could it be realted to that eye witness in that episode who id'd "spider"? Nate will be missed, he was my favorite next to Sherman.

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Southland Season 3 Episode 4 Quotes

Save the chivalry for Buckingham Palace. There's no place for it on the street.


Most of us go to work every day with a pretty good idea of what's going to happen. As Detective Bryant would be reminded today, cops never do.