Southland “Identity” Review

“LAPD officers spend every shift trying to help people who often don’t even know they need help. Some days the trying works better than others.”

In ‘Identity’ the cops of Southland try to figure out who they are — or who someone else is. Sherman decides to follow Sammy’s advice and move further away from the city in an attempt to put some distance between his work and home lives. Lydia realises she’s pregnant and hides it from her co-workers, while also deciding whether or not she’s prepared to be a mother. And Tang and Cooper try to find a way to get an old Marine veteran some ID so he can reenter the housing system.

Much like last week, I’m not sure how I feel about this episode of Southland. It was better than last week, but something didn’t quite fit and I think it may be Lydia. Don’t get me wrong, I like Lydia, but her plot lines some weeks are quite bland — and this week was no different. The case she and Rueben investigated was clear from the beginning. Of course it was the daughter and not the mother who killed the man. And naturally the motivation was sex and cheating. It was an obvious and lazy plot.

What about Lydia’s pregnancy? To be completely honest, I’m not sure why the viewer should care. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, as Lydia’s mother says, she’s going it alone. There’s no family drama (a la Sammy and Tammi) and Lydia’s a strong enough figure that I can’t worry about her as a single mother because the chances are she’ll be completely fine. Secondly, I much prefer seeing Lydia worry about other people’s kids. Every time Lydia deals with a young girl in need, she’s considerate and tender. As a viewer, I don’t want to see Lydia juggling a baby and work. I want to see her out there, making other lives better. That’s what she does best.

Thankfully this episode had quite a lot of humor. From Dewey and Sherman teasing Sammy about shooting the dog (and the amusing vet’s office scene where Sherman was laughing like a loon), to Cooper debating with the cops from another division about who gets to deal with a train track death (judging by which body parts are where!), this was definitely one of the lighter episodes that Southland has had to date.

I think my favourite part of the episode was probably Tom Smith. Okay, so Tang’s motivation for helping him (her dad was a marine) was kind of weak and cliched, but Tom was a great character and absolutely adorable. And I kind of like that it wasn’t a big happy ending with him going back into accommodation. He is who he is, and if that’s a homeless guy with no ID instead of a homed guy with a fake Yoga Om ID, so be it.

What did you think of ‘Identity’? Let us know in the comments below!