Southland “God’s Work” Review

“Cops are often asked if they believe they’re doing God’s work. Officer Ben Sherman is just trying to do the job without losing his soul.”

In this week’s Southland, ‘God’s Work’, Lydia and Ruben investigate the possible suicide of a woman who fell to her death. But when it’s learned that she’s a nanny and the kids in her care are missing, the suicide turns into a murder. The kids are found safe, but is their father the murderer?

Tang and Cooper deal with a rape victim who shot a man believing he was trying to attack her. Cooper discovers the real reason for the man running after her — she’d left her keys behind in a store and he was trying to return them. While Cooper is none too sympathetic to the woman’s distress, Tang urges the woman to tell the truth about her situation. It’s fairly hypocritical advice given what follows.

Meanwhile, Sherman and Sammy clear prostitutes out of a house they’d been squatting in. The prostitutes are bailed within hours, but Sherman’s concerned about the thirteen year old daughter of one of the women, Amber. He tries to convince Amber to leave town with her daughter, but she refuses. Later, Sherman learns that the pimp has set Amber’s daughter to work the streets. He manages to find the girl and she’s taken into care by the DCFS, but Sherman still isn’t satisfied. After work, he follows the pimp and attacks him — stopping only when Sammy turns up unexpectedly.

This episode was pretty good. It was definitely a pleasing improvement over the last few weeks. Even Lydia didn’t annoy me — apparently the way to make me like her pregnancy storyline is to have her mother around being awesome. Thanks to her mother we also found out who the father of Lydia’s child is — her married ex-boyfriend. I’m not sure how I feel about Lydia cheating, partly because I’m not a fan of those storylines unless they’re done very well and partly because we know so little about Lydia’s romantic exploits that it doesn’t really seem to matter, but at least her pregnancy was tolerable this week.

Tang was pretty atrocious. Hear me out — I understand her reasons for doing what she did and I appreciate that she helped that woman out by telling her to tell the truth. But I also completely understood Cooper’s upset over the situation. Tang not telling the truth about the kid’s gun to keep her job is one (bad) thing, but actively lying in order to get a promotion is another thing altogether. I loved Tang and her partnership with Cooper and it feels like between last week and this her character has been ruined completely.

At least Sherman was amazing. He’s been intolerable for most of this season with tales of his sexual exploits and his general inability to not be an ass for more than fifteen minutes of an episode at a time. But this week showed us some of the old Sherman, the one who just wanted to do the right thing. His attempts to help Amber’s daughter and his attack on the pimp were reminders of why Sherman was such a good character in the previous seasons. I’m hoping like hell that he doesn’t turn back into his asshole season 4 self next week.

What did you think of ‘God’s Work’? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!