Southland Review: "Discretion"

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Ben’s demons came back to haunt him on the latest installment of Southland.

Discretion” showed us that even though this cop may be all grown up with a badge and a gun, there is a beaten, traumatized 10-year old that still exists and he may be Ben’s downfall.

I felt for Ben as he tried to control his warring emotions, with little success. His barely controlled rage impaired his judgment not only when dealing with his mother’s rapist, but also in every decision he made during the episode.

Ben and his Mother

I was a little surprised he didn’t tell John about the rapist being set free. I suppose he wasn’t sure how is partner would react. Of course, I understood when John told him, “I will not risk my job and my pension over you.” Ben hid the information from him, then acted recklessly, putting John in harm's way.

If Ben had confided in him at the start, John’s reaction may have been different.

The case of the bloodied chainsaw was great. Simple accident or decapitated body, the results could have gone either way. It made me wonder how often companies that rent this type of equipment run into this issue: finding unknown substances caught in the blades once the machine is returned. Scary.

Elsewhere, Lydia and Josie’s thinly veiled annoyance with one another is really amusing. They are both so strong and independent, neither of them know how to back down and let the other lead. It’s nice to see them gain a grudging respect for each other as they come at their cases from different points of view.

I was surprised Lydia didn’t loan Russell the money he needed. I suppose Josie’s words really bothered her. But she and Russell are good friends and it isn’t like he’s gambling or drinking it away. He’s going through a messy divorce and his accounts have been frozen. I think that’s when a good friend steps up and helps, no?

When Lydia said she wouldn’t loan him the money because she doesn’t want to mess up their friendship “with money stuff,” it was already too late. Pretty sure she just did.

And Sammy is just spiraling out of control, not that I can blame him. With his pregnant wife living in his house with another man and refusing to take a paternity test, I don’t know how long Nate can help him hold it together. I doubt we’ve seen the worst of this situation. I wonder if Sammy will survive it.

Do you think Lydia’s right and I’m wrong about the “money stuff?” What did you think of John’s reaction when Ben lost it with their suspect? Am I overreacting about Sammy’s fate?


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (17 Votes)

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


I love this show! I do not watch much of anything that is on TV because most of it is all fluff and no substance. Southland is a show that is surreal in it's sense of portraying the realism of the lives of Police Officers in L.A. I don't care at times for the language and moral incongruity that is replete throughout the show BUT that is real life on the streets! And yes, the ending hit me like a left hook I did not see coming. I really liked Kevin Alejandro's character. The senseless of the incident and his very untimely death was admittedly very emotional! I hope the bastard that killed him gets the same amount of violence done to him in a future episode. Great storytelling - great show! The best crime drama to come along in over a decade!


Did I misunderstand something? The rapist, as it turns out, wasn't a rapist at all? Little Ben walked in on Mom getting it on with one of dad's clients/associates? I'll need to rewatch this. I understand Lydia not lending to Russell, but it was one of those decisions that has to be made by the mind and not by the heart. Sometimes, for the right reasons, you need to let the ice flow in your veins instead of blood. Others won't understand, but it makes the best sense for your own self-preservation. I was happy to see Josie eat crow for a change. Bitch is annoying me... Also, Tammy needs to die. She should have died last season. I can't be around people like that who cast uncertainty and anxiety wherever they walk. UGH. Poor Sammy :(


I don't get why he couldn't enter his house anyway. It's his. He pays for the place. He should have got his stuff. I guess there's a legal issue here that I don't understand....But say the woman just went and changed the locks because she was nuts, shouldn't he be able to get into his own house? The money issue...well, that's when a friend DOES step up. I think it was supposed to show that Josie's getting to her. Good episode. Though the Ben crying moment was fricking terrible. I hope he doesn't try that kind of acting again....Aiggghhh! And they telegraphed the "guy uses the illegal gun" moment something fierce. The extraneous, but damned funny and real "Man Running with his cock in his hand" bit made up for it.

Whipped by damon

I'm on the fence about the money issue, I can see both sides but I really did think she would come through. I'm worried about Sammy too, he never was good at handling his wife's troubles before and now that she's screwed him over he's just going to spiral further. Oh and poor Ben, I understand John's reaction but honestly, isn't Ben risking his career too by not letting their sergeant know about John's addiction to pain killers, it affects John's work and could very well get someone killed. Ben def. has a way to go if he wants to stay on the right side of the law and be a good cop but you do understand where he is coming from! Once again...a great episode this week!


Sammy should have booted the slut from the house once he found out about the afair...hell, its as much his as hers - and he had every right to smash the window. I would have either a) changed the locks again, b) cleaned my stuff out while she was gone - including the tv or c) cleaned the place out and stopped paying the mortgage.


totally agree with you about the money issue.

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Southland Season 3 Episode 3 Quotes

All cops have to make judgment calls they hope they won't regret. No cop ever bats a thousand.


Lydia: I am really happy for her though 'cause she's got this guy. He treats her nice. He's great. I just never thought that when my 62 year old Mom moved back in that she'd be having more sex than me.
Russell: Well, she couldn't be having less.