One year ago, the TNT police drama series Southland aired its Season 5 finale, which ended with a big cliffhanger when fan favorite John Cooper (Michael Cudlitz) was shot. One month later, TNT cancelled the series, leaving several questions unanswered, including the fate of John Cooper, whether or not Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie) can be forgiven, and if Lydia (Regina King) has found true happiness. Entertainment Weekly caught up with the Southland cast and crew to see if the prospect of a movie will happen, to give fans the proper ending they deserve.
Shawn Hatosy (Sammy Bryant) revealed that there was talk of a movie as the final season was wrapping up, thanks to the buzz that Veronica Mars was getting because of its successful Kickstarter campaign.
"There were some ramblings and rumblings about it when we were finishing up, because I think Veronica Mars made such a big deal on Kickstarter. We were like, 'Oh, if people will do that, they'd love to see this show turn into a movie!' We were very excitedly talking about how it would come to fruition, then I haven't heard from anybody in about a year."
Executive producer Christopher Chulack revealed that he had hoped to do a Kickstarter-funded movie, but nothing has happened thus far.
"I certainly had the hopes that maybe we could do a Kickstarter thing and get some money raised or that maybe TNT would say, 'Hey you're not picked up for a whole season, but come back and wrap it up. There was that hope flying around, but nothing came to fruition, and then that has since died down. That's not to say that I wouldn't still try to promote that idea, or if anybody wanted to get involved and raise money or try to go out and sell it hard, I'd certainly be on board with that."
"If there is a show geared towards being able to make a film, I think this group could do it for Southland."
Ben McKenzie revealed that he even has a story in mind about how these characters could come back together.
"That show in particular would be great to have a two-hour event - a school with an armed gunman inside and the entire group of Southland characters have to work together to defuse the situation - whatever the scenario is. You could do something really cool with the tactical-driven elements we tried to employ with the character stuff. We have established that that's a part of the show, those big events, and I feel like it would make sense to have a big, big event that brings us all together and kind of bonds us, has us have to work together."
Christopher Chulack revealed that he believes the show's writers could wrap up the show properly in a two-hour movie, but that doesn't mean it will wrap up every unresolved issue.
"I think it would be like a finale. I think you could come right back and do it in the same format and then integrate a common thread. Or maybe everybody else is doing their separate thing, and [we] just have the characters overlap in their daily work. That's what made the show interesting: Sometimes we had a real singular driving story, but usually everybody had their own thing going on and it kind of paralleled everybody else's life or it was a metaphor for what was going on in somebody else's area. The concept of Southland was, 'Who are these men and women who work in this interesting job and how does the diversity in their personalities affect how they float in society carrying a gun and a badge and affect how they are on the job carrying a badge and a gun?' That's why I think the show was fun."
The producer also added that the movie would likely take place "a little further down the line" from the series finale. However, no matter how much time has passed, Shawn Hatosy revealed that Sammy's partnership with Ben will still be over.
"That [relationship] is over. Once Sammy decided to go back on patrol, he was pretty confident in the cop he was or he is, so [he decided] to head back and try to give these guys some sort of insight as to what they're going to face and the decisions and how to face them. It sort of blew up in his face with Ben, but it's all a learning experience. I think that that's his goal as a police officer. I always enjoyed the fact that there was that line that he would sometimes maybe go over, but in the end, he knows who he is and he's ultimately a decent guy. He's had his issues, but he wants to make the right decisions."
Ben McKenzie revealed that even if Sammy and Ben's relationship is done, the finale could still explore a number of exiting possibilities.
"There's endless material there. I think we were getting to a place where you'd seen [Ben] fall down the mineshaft into true self-obsession in terms of he's no longer able to separate his career from what he ought to do. Everything is built around protecting himself and protecting his career and working his way up the ladder, which leads him into making choices that are morally pretty reprehensible, so I would say if you picked him up in the future, it would be interesting for me if he had actually succeeded in terms of moving up the ladder but his personal life is still in shambles. But you could jump forward and he could've maybe put those demons to rest. I think you could go any number of different directions with that. It really depends on where we pick him up and where he is in his career. Is he a detective now? Is he already starting into the upper echelon of the LAPD officer ranks? Is he moving into being a captain or something like that?"
The actor also revealed that his favorite idea is one that they explored when the show was still on the air, with Ben Sherman joining SWAT.
"I think that would be fantastic. That's always been a very exciting idea for me, to throw that character into yet another incredibly challenging environment where he is yet again the new kid on the block, the one who has the most to learn and has to learn it quickly. And I think SWAT [is] the closest thing within the LAPD to the actual military - the way that it's run, the way that it has to be obsessed with tactics and training and protocol. That kind of attention to detail and military precision, I think, would really appeal to him. And so if you jumped ahead and he was in that environment already or getting his feet wet into it, I think that sort of ups the bar a little bit and could be a really great jumping-off point. Maybe there's a scenario like [a school shooting] and SWAT is called in and all of a sudden you realize that Ben Sherman is actually a member of SWAT."
Christopher Chulack also revealed that be believes John Cooper is still alive. Here's what Michael Cudlitz had to say about the opportunity to play this beloved character again.
"I would think there would have to be a massive change, even if he was given some sort of pass. I always thought that Cooper lived and then all of his suspicions were actually confirmed, that we actually found not just the one gun that I knocked out of the other guy's hand, but another gun. The other guy was packing another gun behind him in his waistband, and then we found possibly a bunch of other weapons inside the house and it was a drug situation. His instincts were all correct, [but] his way of dealing with it was completely out of line, thus confirming that he should not have been on duty, he should not have been carrying a weapon, like his captain told him. So where does he go from there? Does he go and train at the academy? Does he totally remove himself from law enforcement? Because that does complete him, that is something that he lives for and defines him in a lot of ways. He's very much alive, very much dealing with his past as he has been from day one."
Another story idea Christopher Chulack wants to explore is what happened to Dewey Dudek (C. Thomas Howell).'
"I want to come back and see if Dewey got fired from the LAPD for being such a knucklehead."
As of now, there are no official plans in the works for a Southland movie, but the entire cast is on board to return if it comes together. Christopher Chulack hinted that they may explore putting this together as an independent movie, but nothing is in motion at this time. However, Michael Cudlitz revealed that he is confident Southland will be back in some way, shape or form.
"I don't have any doubt that there will be some sort of next installment."