'Southland' heads back on patrol at TNT

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Michael Cudlitz, Ben McKenzie and Regina King star

Michael Cudlitz, Ben McKenzie and Regina King star in the television series SOUTHLAND, now on the TNT channel and beginning on March 9, 2010. Photo Credit: Trae Patton/NBC Universal/

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THE SHOW "Southland"

WHEN | WHERE Tuesday at 10 p.m. on TNT

REASON TO WATCH Brand new episodes of a fine cop show, and - special bonus - Amaury Nolasco (Sucre of "Prison Break") joins the cast.

WHAT'S NEW Only a handful of episodes actually aired on NBC before the network mysteriously - ummm, Jay Leno's not-dearly departed show - forced it off. Tuesday night is the start of something entirely new. These six episodes were produced for NBC, Thursdays at 10, but never aired.

THE EPISODE Det. Lydia Adams (Regina King) gets a new partner - cocky, dashing and ambitious Det. Rene Guerrero (Nolasco). In the last episode, her former partner Det. Russell Clarke (Tom Everett Scott) was shot.The new guy is far too slick, while she remains deeply loyal to the old. Meanwhile, Officer Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie) is halfway through his probationary period, and the department has awarded him "phase three," which means "you get to ride in the car by yourself," says his forever-hard-bitten partner, John Cooper (Michael Cudlitz). "But just because the department thinks you're ready doesn't mean I do." There's a kidnapping that Guerrero and Adams investigate.

MY SAY No point in pouring acid into NBC's gaping and self-inflicted "It's 10 p.m.: Do you know where your dramas are?" wound, but it did have a fine new show with "Southland" which it did cancel after a criminally short run. So let's concentrate on the positive. TNT had the brains to pick up this excellent cop drama, and now you and some devoted fans are the beneficiaries.

BOTTOM LINE Here's to a long and fruitful run in the new home. Tuesday night proves exactly why "Southland" deserves one.

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