Episode Title: "Graduation Day"
Writers: John Well and Heather Zuhlke
Director: Christopher Chulack
Officer Sherman (Ben McKenzie) is chasing down a suspect when we see him leap across a rooftop.
Cut to nine hours earlier. Officer Cooper (Michael Cudlitz) wakes up in pain while Detective Adams (Regina King) wakes up next to Ochoa’s son, Rodrigo (Lombardo Boyar). She tells him they need to let his mother/her partner know they’re seeing each other. Later that day, Ochoa (Jenny Gago) answers Adams’ phone while she’s investigating a crime scene, only to hear hear Rodrigo on the other end. She questions Adams about how long she’s been "screwing" her son. Adams apologizes and offers to end the relationship. But Ochoa won’t have her son blaming his mother for getting him dumped. The pair investigates the kidnapping of a child by a day laborer as the tension between them builds. Adams asks Ochoa if she’ll be able to continue working with her to which she responds, "I don’t know."
At the precinct, the "boots" are sent off on their last day as trainees. Sherman heads out with Cooper, who’s giving him the silent treatment. After a long day on the beat, the two spot the day laborer from Ochoa and Adams’ case. He makes a break for it and Sherman runs after him, leading to a rooftop chase, in which the "boot" leaps between two rooftops, as Cooper struggles to follow him. He catches up with the suspect and the two engage in a tussle.
The perp makes a break for it but winds up slamming against the side of a roof after a bad jump and falls to his death. Moments later, Sherman berates Cooper, who’s rifling through the case the suspect left behind in search of pills. He threatens to report Cooper if he doesn’t go to rehab that night. Later, Sherman drops Cooper off at the hospital, where the senior officer thanks his trainee.
Out on patrol, despite Chickie’s (Arija Bareikis) protests, Dewey (C. Thomas Howell) insists on checking up on a crack whore whose become his pet project. After repeated attempts to talk sense to the troubled woman, Dewey leaves her, passed out on a bench.
Detective Bryant (Shawn Hatosy) learns that the suspect he failed to identify in Moretta’s murder has a warrant out on him for assault. He goes out in search of the man, known as "Leprechaun" while his ex-wife is on the verge of giving birth. He makes it to the hospital in time to hold his new son. Later, while questioning an associate of "Leprechaun’s" a call comes in regarding a downed officer. Bryant and his new parent, Det. Puente (Laz Alonso), race to the scene where moments later, Leprechaun is shot down. Bryant leans over the dying man, repeating Nate Moretta’s name over and over again before the thug dies. He later asks to go back in uniform and patrol the street.
Well, you can’t say there wasn’t closure in this season three finale. While I was expecting major fireworks and a nasty cliffhanger, the only lingering question in my mind is whether or not Ochoa will get over Adams "screwing" her son.
Bryant got to deliver "Leprechaun" his last rites, as he lay dying from a fellow police officer’s bullet. And it seems he’s found some common ground between his ex-wife, Tammy and her boyfriend/photography instructor, in his newborn son, Nathaniel.
Sherman graduates from boot camp with his last day as a trainee, one he’ll never forget. And Cooper finally goes to rehab, after his "boot" gives him an ultimatum.
Of course, that’s not to say there isn’t anything to look forward to next season. With Bryant wanting to take it back to the streets as a beat cop, his vengeance for Moretta may guide him into some dangerous territory. And now that’s he’s a father, how much, if at all, will his priorities shift? He saw what happened to his partner’s family. Will he takes those same risks himself, now aware of the consequences?
How will life as bona fide police officer change for Sherman? I know I’m going to miss the non-buddy cop exchanges between him and Cooper. And then there’s Cooper. Will rehab stick? Will he ever come out of the closet? Maybe he’ll start drinking the twelve-step Kool Aid Dewey’s chugging down.
Honestly, I don’t mind the rather quiet (for "Southland," that is) ending to this season. We can put these characters and their troubles to bed for a while, knowing each is on a path to something new, that will ultimately spin them into another complex web of emotional struggles and personal sagas.
But that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to miss the hell out this show for the next nine months.
Crave Online Rating: 9 out of 10.