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Kara’s 2012 TV Goodness All-Stars: Lucy Liu, Southland 

Photo Credit: TNT
Photo Credit: TNT

I’ve been a hardcore Southland fan since the beginning. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I’ve been a hardcore Southland fan since it’s been on TNT. I can’t even remember hearing about it when it premiered on NBC, but after it moved to TNT I became hooked. I love the ever-evolving story of these LA cops. Their struggles are deeply personal and unlike anything I’ve seen on a cop show before. I found myself really caring about these people and whether or not they were happy in their personal and professional lives. So when I heard that Lucy Liu was on board for season 4 I was beyond excited. I knew this would be a different kind of role for her and I couldn’t wait to see what she would do with it. I think it’s a bit of an understatement to say she blew me away.

Southland is one of my favorite shows (in case you didn’t know) and I love that characters come and go – I feel like that’s real life. I was excited to see her Officer Jessica Tang paired with Michael Cudlitz‘s John Cooper. I loved them together. Even though Liu is tiny, I totally believed her as this badass cop who could hold her own against anyone. I loved her attitude, I loved her outlook, I loved learning her backstory. I even liked seeing her screw up. We all have bad days, but when a cop’s day turns to hell they might end up letting the bad guy go or wounding or even killing the wrong person. And they have to live with the consequences of that. They have to think about what they did wrong and how things may have turned out differently if they made a different choice.

Photo Credit: TNT
Photo Credit: TNT

I have to give a lot of credit to the writers and producers of the show for coming up with a character like this. But mostly I’m going to give credit to Lucy Liu for bringing Jessica Tang to life. I loved some of the looks she gave to her male colleagues – especially when there were being sexist (I’m talking to you Dewey) or just plain stupid. I like that this woman knows a thing or two about food. I like that she was going through a divorce and angling for a new job as if it was just a normal part of life, which it is. I like that when she finally had a confrontation with John about her mistake, she comes across as a real person. And I have to give Liu credit for making me believe. I was with her on that rooftop, or when she backed John up and saved his life, or when she introduced him to a new culinary experience. The best kinds of characters make you feel something – anger, hate, sympathy. Whatever it is, they just make you feel. And care about them. I did hope Liu was going to stick around for more than one season; I’m kind of disappointed that she didn’t. But I love that I got to know and spend time with this character, that I understood a little more about my fellow humans because of her struggles. And that’s all you can ask for, right?

Southland season 5 returns in February 2013.

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