EXCLUSIVE TV Goodness Q&A: Shawn Hatosy Discusses TNT’s Southland [INTERVIEW]
As you know, Southland is our favorite cop show. We had the opportunity to speak exclusively with Shawn HatosyÂ (Officer Sammy Bryant) about the evolution of his character, his volatile relationship with ex-wife Tammi, his deteriorating partnership with Sherman, and so much more. Check it out below.
TVGOODNESS: When the series started your character was a detective and now he’s a beat cop on patrol. Can you talk about the evolution of your character?
Shawn Hatosy:Â “I believe that Sammy sees himself as a very ethically correct guy. And even though he makes mistakes – and he did as a detective – he goes as close to the edge as possible and then inevitably his heart kind of takes over and he makes the right choices. There were many events that led him to the decision to go back [to patrol], but I think he believed that he could help the younger guys that were coming up. Guys like Ben Sherman. So, it creates a really great character basically. [Sammy’s] not just a great character on [his] own. Once you add Ben I think it really makes it tense and engaging.”
TVGOODNESS: Tammi and Sammy’s relationship has always been so volatile, but they seemed to love each other at the beginning of the series. How do you think things got so bad between them?
Shawn:Â “They were too young when they committed to each other, they weren’t fully formed individuals that knew what they wanted and that happens all the time. And when you compound that with the kind of work that Sammy does it just creates these very explosive relationships. Tammi isn’t the most rational person on television. They each have their flaws and when they’re mixed together it’s just combustible. Sometimes people end up in a relationship where it’s just easier to stay in it. Or they think it’s easier to stay in it than to do the right thing, which is to step away from each other. The worst part about it is they let it get to the point where they actually have a kid and you wish they could’ve figured it out and done it for the kid but they didn’t.”
TVGOODNESS: How has it been working with Emily BerglÂ (Tammi Bryant)?Â
Shawn:Â “Oh, it’s great. It’s great. Our television show has such a unique shooting style so it requires, demands excellent actors. [Emily and I] had two scenes this year, but the freedom that we have to create and find the truth in these scenes from beginning to middle to end, it’s incredible and she brings a lot to the character and a lot to the scenes so it’s wonderful.”
TVGOODNESS: Even with Tammi and Sammy going at each other on screenÂ we still really like that dynamic, even if it’s uncomfortable.Â
Shawn:Â “And it’s wonderfully morally ambiguous. You could probably poll 1000 viewers and maybe half of them would think that she’s right and half of them might think he’s right so that’s the kind of thing I like to produce. I like it when people are talking about it and they have strong opinions about it.”
TVGOODNESS: We like that every character is warts-and-all. How is it to play that?
Shawn: “You’re just trying to figure out what motivates [your character] and what inspires him to make the decisions that he makes. If you go back and look at the mistakes [Sammy’s] made, it’s taken awhile but he comes to the right place. And not to compare, but let me do it, if you look at Ben’s choices they’re from a very different place. And he doesn’t make the right choices. And he never comes to the [right choices] even when the circumstances and the answers are pretty obvious and easy. I think it’s a fascinating look at these guys because here is Ben, who was this wide-eyed rookie who joined the police to seemingly do good. He was so gung-ho and [had] this run and gun mentality and the job has changed him so much. And maybe it’s not just the job, I think you realize that there are things from his past that made him who he is but as he progressed as a patrol officer – and he’s done these questionable things – he’s climbing the ladder and he’s being rewarded for it. Sammy’s a decent guy with a pretty good heart, but it’s not happening that way. He’s made mistakes, like I said, but I think it’s a fascinating look at these two guys.”
TVGOODNESS: We love Sammy’s relationship with Ben McKenzie‘s Ben Sherman. It’s fun to watch even if they’re not getting along or if they’re in trouble or if they’re in conflict. That relationship has been deteriorating for a while now. Is there anything you can tell us about what’s coming up with them in tonight’s episode or in the finale?Â
Shawn:Â “Well, I wouldn’t want to ruin anything.”
TVGOODNESS: We don’t want that either.
Shawn: “It’s very clear that it’s heading in a direction. I look at Sammy’s choices again and again and I see people’s opinions. It’s funny how some people so loyally, blindly defend Ben even though it’s very clear that what he did is really messed up. But then I’ll see people stay stuff like, ‘Well, but Sammy’s a bad guy. He stole the money to get the plumbing fixed’ or whatever. And then I think about it and I’m like, well nobody actually saw Sammy take the money did they? It’s just your opinion and in the very next episode you see him working off-duty as a security guard and he’s admitted to Ben that he’s been doing it for a little while so who’s to say that he didn’t get the money that way. But people form these alliances with the characters just because of who they like.Â Sammy never said that he’s going to confess to IA. He said, ‘It’s just not right.’ He didn’t feel right about it. We don’t know what was gonna happen and we don’t know what he did or what his plan was but he never jeopardized Ben’s job. I mean, to do what Ben didâ€¦.”
TVGOODNESS: Are there any actors on the show you wish you had more scenes with?
Shawn:Â “Well, of course. I think maybe I’ve worked with Regina [King] in three scenes. We have forty-something episodes and I’ve actually spoken dialogue with Michael Cudlitz in one scene so yeah, that’s a bummer. One thing about this cast is that everybody is incredible and that’s the thing that is a shame. You don’t really get a chance to perform together.”
TVGOODNESS: How was Regina King as a director?
Shawn:Â “She excelled because she’s decisive. I thought her episode was wonderful, one of the best – if not the best – of the season. It was a powerful script. I think our show is at its best when there is a balance amongst the characters and everybody’s passing the ball around. I thought that episode in particular was really well-balanced. Her scene at the end with that serial killer, I thought it was phenomenal. ”
TVGOODNESS: We hope the show gets renewed for another season. If it is what would you like to see for your character?
Shawn:Â “These next two episodes are gonna clear a lot of stuff up for many of the [characters]. You’re gonna get some answers. It’s gonna be interesting. I’m with you, I hope [the show] gets picked up. It’s not often where you can say we’re doing something that’s really great. This is a good show, it’s fun to shoot, it’s creatively satisfying, people like it, and it’s on television which is a tough medium to do this kind of work. So I want it to go on forever. I’m so, so lucky. I don’t know, as far as what’s in store for Sammy as far as another season? I trust these writers. They’re very, very good. I can’t wait to see what they come up with.”
TVGOODNESS: Want to tell us anything else?
Shawn: “I just can’t wait for people to figure out this is the best cop show on TV.”
Neither can we. Part of our discussion with Shawn included social media. He loves going on Facebook and twitter during the airing of episodes to see how people are reacting. Below he discusses the Sammy/Ben dynamic in two episodes from season 4.
Episode: “Integrity Check”
Shawn: “Ben immediately thought that Sammy planted the crack pipe. I watched online and I watched the responses and everybody was like, ‘Sammy’s such a f*cked up guy.’ [The perp] is a bad guy and, of course, it turns out that it was because Ben didn’t pat down the car. It’s just these little things that make it really interesting.Â And then I look at some of the past stuff, like Sammy’s a bad cop or a crooked cop. Yeah, okay. His partner got killed right in front of him and he obtained information about this piece of sh*t who killed his partner, probably in a crappy way. He might have been reprimanded for it but wouldn’t have lost his job. So he takes the guy out to the desert, which was definitely wrong, but he didn’t kill him. He goes to that edge and then he comes back.”
Shawn: “There was this really awful gangbanger leader [who] was raping young girls in the community and killing people at will and taking their money. He was a really devilish character. We got into a foot pursuit and me and Ben got split up. As a cop you’re not supposed to leave your partner. So Sammy cuffed the guy to a pole or something and then went to do what he had to do because that’s his job. He’s supposed to make sure he’s got his partner’s back and then the members of the community – the community that this guy had been raping and stealing from – they came out and killed him while he was chained to this pole. And people say stuff like, ‘That makes Sammy a bad cop.’ Well, no, he was actually doing his job. He didn’t feel bad about it but it’s street justice. This guy got what was coming to him. It’s very easy for me to defend Sammy Bryant just because I’m making the choices and I can justify anything if given the right opportunity.”
Edited for content and space.
Southland’s season 5 finale airs tonight at 10/9c on TNT.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Interview: Henri Esteve on Grown-ish Season 3
An interview with Henri Esteve, who plays Javi on Freeform’s Grown-ish. He talks about his season three experience.
For All Mankind Season 2: Talking with Wrenn Schmidt, Krys Marshall, Jodi Balfour, and Sonya Walger [Exclusive]
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the hooks of For All Mankind is that it’s very much a story about the women of NASA. In Season 2, we explore the journeys of the women in the program, either through their own service or through their family affiliations. Four of those…
Rosy McEwen Talks The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Season Finale [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the season finale episodes.] How’s everyone after that finale? I will freely admit I got a little misty in episode eight as John told Sara why he loved her, and later that he wanted her despite what he might forfeit, and then at the end when he…
Rosy McEwen Talks The Alienist: Angel of Darkness [Exclusive]
Hands down, one of the best surprises of The Alienist: Angel of Darkness is that the serial killer this season has been front and center alongside the cast as a fully-formed character. We’ve watched Libby Hatch devolve from a prim, mild-mannered nurse to a woman in a rage hell-bent on…
The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Relationship Recap: John and Sara
[Warning: Spoilers for “Belly of the Beast” and “Memento Mori”] If you’ve read me for a while (thank you!), you know two things — I lean way, way in on the characters I adore and I loathe love geometry arcs. So, I’m torn about where we are and where we…
Louriza Tronco Talks The Order Season 2 [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers ahead for Season 2.] The Order’s second season is dark yet delightful entertainment on many levels, and one of its biggest sources of joy and snark is the sassy Gabrielle Dupres. Last season, she was assertive and deadly and fairly annoyed with the world. This season, she’s been…
Previewing Netflix’s Virgin River
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] Full disclosure: I have a Netflix account for my Mom, but I’m not a regular viewer. If I get a heads up on something, I’ll go look for it, but I don’t have a wander across its offerings, which, as I understand it, is how most…
Final Thoughts From the Killjoys Team [Exclusive]
This is the day of the week I’d normally hit you up with a Killjoys preview, but now that we’ve put the series to bed and released Team Awesome Force into the wild, I have one more treat for you–some final thoughts excerpted from my conversations with the Killjoys folks….
Michelle Lovretta Talks Wrapping Up Killjoys [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the series finale.] To quote Miss Jackson, “That’s the end?” Yes, friends, it is. And like I promised you, everything would be, was, and is alright. I went to the Killjoys source, series creator Michelle Lovretta, who wrote the last episode, to break down that delicious finale….
Luke Macfarlane Talks Killjoys Season 5 [Exclusive]
As Killjoys winds down its run, I’ve been extremely fortunate to chat this summer with our onscreen and offscreen faves. I’ve said here a few times that Luke Macfarlane was my introduction into the show, and in the intervening five years, he’s been very kind to chat with me for…
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…