Post Mortem: Southland Producer Weighs In on [Spoiler]'s Fate and the Current Renewal Odds
Southland Finale Recaplet: Down for the Count?
Southland‘s shocking finale left viewers’ jaws on the floor and one character’s fate up in the air.
With the gritty police drama on the bubble, what will happen to one of the LAPD’s finest could remain a mystery forever if the cancellation axe comes swinging down. So TVLine went to executive producer Jonathan Lisco, who also penned the hour, for
comfort answers about the future of the bullet-ridden Cooper and the show.
TVLINE | That was a bold ending, especially considering the show’s future is up in the air.
It was bold. But I hope you’ll agree that every season, at least that I’ve been associated with the show, we’ve done our best to give our audience an extremely satisfying finale — you have to put satisfying in quotes sometimes if it’s a dark ending that you wish didn’t happen because part of it’s being compelling — that could both be a season ender as well as possibly a series ender. The reason we do that is because of how much we value our audience, and because we’ve never been able to predict whether the show is going to get canceled or renewed.
TVLINE | When John gets shot, should viewers be taking it as this is the end for him?
I don’t think so at all. We’ve had many discussions about this in the writers room and on set. John has rebounded from so many challenges over the seasons, so it’s very possible that he could come back in some capacity, and even as a policeman. You might say, “How is that possible? He crossed a line.” Well, look at the character of Dewey. He’s “only” crashed about eight cop cars in his life. He was openly a drunk on the force, although you might argue that the LAPD has become more squared away and more regulated over the years. Yet Dewey is still an extremely respected cop. John’s gone through an odyssey this season that not only police people, but also your average person, could identity as extremely trying. If he’s guilty of anything, [it's] not being aware of how much pain he was in, not seeking help. The possibility for him to be rehabilitated and be a character in Season 6 is certainly on the table.
TVLINE | So even after he assaults someone like that, he can still be a cop?
That’s to be determined. That’s the drama that you’d want to play out next season. I’m sure you’d have people on both sides of that argument. It’d be yet another odyssey for John to try to get his badge back. Would he succeed? You’ll have to tune in. Anything is possible. Yes, there may be criminal charges against John. If he gets out of it, if he doesn’t, it’ll be interesting to see what happens. We all believe that he’s certainly a viable character to have on the show again — and an equally compelling one.
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TVLINE | One theory circulating online is that John wanted to get shot when he turned around. He didn’t put his hands up. Care to comment?
We value the ambiguity with which that moment is viewed. It’s really interesting that some viewers believe John committed “suicide by cop,” and other very loyal viewers believe that he was in such a surreal haze [that] he simply wasn’t aware of what he was doing and forgot to drop the gun. I’m not going to answer that for you because in typical Southland style, we don’t hand you on a silver platter what to think. That’s one of the things that most of our viewers love about the show. … The irony of him being taken out by cops when he has a moment of feeling real despair is classic Southland. Did he do it on purpose? Did he want to leave this earth? Or was he just in a surreal haze? That’s something that every viewer is going to have to decide for themselves.