Southland Season Finale Review: "Graduation Day"

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As season three of Southland closed out, we saw Ben’s final day with his training officer. It was "Graduation Day" and little boot’s all grown up.

John’s downward spiral continued. His back hurt so badly he could barely walk, so Ben did the heavy lifting, sometimes literally. When Southland started three seasons ago, John was a hard-nosed cop and a tough training officer. Ben may not have always liked him, but he respected him.

Now? What little respect Ben had remaining for John he showed by drawing a line in the sand. Either he gets checked into rehab or Ben would tell their Watch Commander to give John a drug test. Putting his life on the line with a partner who wasn’t there to back him up was unacceptable. John’s the one who taught him that.

Poor John...

How about the perp who plunged to his death from the rooftop? It made me shiver. Watching as his legs kept moving as he fell, it was as though he were trying to run from his fate. It really disturbed me. Afterward, I couldn't get the scene out of my head.

The little boy whose father tattooed his chest was another frightening moment, as he stood there pretending to shoot John over and over again. How many times had that six-year old witnessed such hatred that he mimicked it so effortlessly?
Southland again reminded me how horrifying it must be to be despised simply because you exist.

It was both touching and entertaining to watch Dewey try to help the drug-addicted hooker who didn’t want to be helped.  It was nice to see Dewey care about someone else, even if he remained his annoying self.

Josie found out that Lydia was sleeping with her son in the worst possible way. When she picked up Lydia’s phone and found her own son sweet talking in her ear. That was a cringe-worthy moment. I loved the zinger she threw at Lydia about being forty when Lydia’s only thirty-six. In my opinion, Josie was overreacting to the age difference. Eight years didn’t seem that bad. Then again, it’s not my son. 

Nate’s killer is captured, shot and killed the same day that Sammy’s son is born. Naming the boy Nathaniel was a nice way to close out Nate’s story. 

At first I was surprised that Sammy wanted to be there for Leprachaun’s arrest because he did kidnap the man and made him dig his own grave. I was afraid that could still come back to bite Sammy, but he's a hot head and didn't think it through. I shouldn’t have been shocked that his need for revenge overruled his better sense. Having Sammy say Nate’s name over and over again as Leprachaun died was a powerful moment.

Sammy’s choice to go back to wearing a uniform felt right. Nate always seemed to be the brains behind that partnership. Watching Ben ride with Sammy should be entertaining in a whole new way.

I enjoyed this season of Southland more than the previous two. I thought TNT definitely found its groove with this show. Unfortunately, it has not yet been picked up for a fourth season. Go to TNT's Contact Us page and send them a message in support of the show.  Hopefully, we’ll get to see one of the best cop dramas on TV continue for years to come.


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (28 Votes)

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


This season of Southland was amazingly fantastic. TNT took a pretty good show and just made it the best cop show on TV. The writing and the actors are very talented and hopefully the show will get picked up, it would be a shame to let a great show like Southland end when there is still so much more stories to be told.


ITA with the first comment, your reviews are thoughtful, good take on the characters and performances....even with that li'l 'glitch' about why Sammy was there to witness Leprechaun's death. That it was serendipity made it even better, IMO. But there's so much packed into this show, all the time, it's difficult to catch each and every bit of each episode. Sometimes it's so realistic I'm a little queasy- but the realism carries over from the gripping, terrifying violent moments into the characters' relationships, which for me are the heart of the show. Excellent TV....two words that rarely go together.


Just want to start by saying that i really like your reviews, you do a good job reviewing Southland. But in regards to you saying how you felt about Sammy showing up for Leprachauns "arrest" was surprising, Sammy didn't know that they were arresting leprachaun, he was responding to an Officer Down call as was everyone else, he did not know that it was leprachaun who shot the officer, sammy was just looking for leprachaun earlier. I also agree with the suspect falling off the roof, and i commend southland for their realism, instead of making crappy special effects for that scene they used a real actor.. on a wire I hope. That fight scene with Ben on the roof had to be one of the most thrilling and edge of your seat scenes on tv this year by far. Great way to end the season though.

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Southland Season 3 Episode 10 Quotes

You'll always be a baby to us.


Sometimes you can't think about. You've just got to make that leap.