The series premiere of Southland was really more about introducing us to its cast of characters than any important plot details, so let's take this recap individual-by-individual:
Ben Sherman: It's his first day as a on the job. Sherman is assigned to tough training officer John Cooper. Saying perhaps a dozen words the entire episode, Sherman must deal with Cooper's taunts, most of which are based around the fact that the newbie appears to be from a rich family. His dad is an important lawyer. Soon enough, though, Sherman proves his toughness: he shoots a bad guy that had fired a few bullets into a cop.
Ben is shaken up by this incident. He's clearly a sensitive guy. But by the end of the episode, as he's sitting at the hospital and speaking with the sister of a young boy who got shot, Sherman tells her that, yes, he is a cop; he won't be quitting the force any time soon.
John Cooper: He's a veteran, hard-nosed officer. He gives Sherman a hard time, but he also ends up writing him a glowing review following Sherman's first day and the aforementioned shooting incident. Cooper just wants to make sure his partner can handle the tough streets of L.A. At the very end of the hour, we see Cooper in a bar, drowning the difficult day in a beer. The camera pans back and he's surrounded by men. It's a gay bar.
Lydia Adams: She's on the case of an abducted - and, eventually, murdered - 10-year old girl. Adams is clearly a veteran, intelligent detective, one that seems to control her partner Russel Clarke. Adams is also seen at home, speaking to her mother. The latter is never seen, but it appears as though Adams takes care of her.
Russel Clarke: Adams' partner. We don't see much of this detective at all, except for a scene where he tries to comfort the grieving mother of the aforementioned girl.
Detectives Sammy Bryant and Nate Moretta: These two are partners. They appear to work crimes in a similar fashion, as each communicates well with young witnesses to a shooting. But this pair has contrasting home lives: Moretta is happily married with a daughter; while Bryant is seen on the phone with his rather crazy wife.
Detectives Daniel Salinger and Chickie Brown: Also partners. Salinger makes many sexist comments toward Brown, who takes them well. She wants to eventually work for SWAT. Salinger is the cop that gets shot, immediately preceeding Sherman firing back on the criminal that fired the gun.
Overall, we liked Southland. It tries a bit too hard to be gritty, especially when compared to anyone that's watched truly gritty shows such as NYPD Blue and The Shield. The bleeping of curse words is also asinine, a failed attempt to make the series seem real. We know it's a TV show, NBC.
Still, we'll be tuning in next week. Will you?