Happy Monday! Hope you all had a great weekend. Mine was awesome. Spent it with about 100 people who were connected to the "Band of Brothers" project I did a few years back. Truly an amazing experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Anyway, this week we received a lot of questions. I have to say it is very cool to see how everyone is picking up on all the subtleties of the story telling and getting emotionally invested in these characters.

Just for the record, I will not be answering any questions that will contain spoiler info. Please don't ask things like "What is going to happen to ...?" I just won't ever answer it.

That being said, we had a lot of great questions this week. Some repeat questions about Lydia's old/new partner. And then we had some repeat random questions. Once again let's start with a lightning round.

Yes, John is gay.

Yes, we did train and do ride-alongs.

Yes, we shoot mostly on location in LA.

Now on to the most asked question of the week. Here are a few samples:

Question from Michael Saiz
I was confused with the pairing up of Detective Lydia Adams with another detective. Was this show filmed earlier and shown out of order? I was a bit confused.

Question from Shelly Olton
What happened to Papi? I thought he was going to be a regular...Not warming to this new guy.

Question from Kadren Knos
What happened to Lyd's partner??

Question from Amina Aeberli
Yeah, Mike ..I was wondering the same thing...they just stuck that guy in there!

This question of Lydia's partner has come up a lot this week. I hope I can help answer it but I am not sure it will be a satisfying answer.

The writers/producers were just trying to see if you were in fact paying attention .... OK, maybe that's not what happened.

SouthLAnd strives for a realistic look into the world of law enforcement. Lydia's partner is out of commission for a while so she is kind of partner-less. Typically in a large dept. when this happens you will float around and potentially have different partners until a good fit is achieved. This week she happened to be with "Suarez." I always just figured, "It didn't work out." When I read the script I thought it was kinda cool that they did not address the new partner issue. In retrospect, I think the audience deserved some kind of closure. This is obvious by all the feedback we have been getting. In defense: I also feel we are skating a very thin line doing things from a story telling perspective that have never been done before ... Sometimes it's not a home run.
Question from Yusef Taylor
Without giving too much away, Mike, is there a specific episode that you are particularly interested in filming because of the conflict and resolution within the characters? Maybe one that will have us talking for weeks?

And BTW, this show is f*cking BEAUTIFUL!!! Keep it up!!!

Tough question ... I really do love working on SouthLAnd. I think there have been scenes in every episode that I am proud of and let me be very clear, they are not just "John Cooper" scenes. We have an amazing cast and I am very proud to be part of this group. Honestly, I have a hard time separating episodes in my head since these are "ongoing" lives we are following ... But I would have to say my favorite scenes to date are John with Ben on the curb at the end of "Phase Three," and a scene that you will see this week with Shawn's character, Sammy ... He's amazing in the scene and it will definitely stick with you.
Question from Khristopher Ranger
Did John come out to Ben in the car during this week's episode? I was a little confused there.

Question from Heather Hocter
Can you talk about Coopers reaction to Dewey in rehab. He seems to have no problem with going, but when he gets there he is so angry with Dewey. There seemed to be a lot going on for Cooper in regards to Dewey. Can you explain how you played the scene and what you thought Cooper was internally experiencing?

Also, can you tell us about the scene where Cooper comes out to Ben. Do you think that Cooper intended to tell Ben all along, and that is why he invited him to come to the funeral with him, as to have a way to bring it up? Or do you think Cooper asked Ben to come because he wanted a friend with him? It was an amazing scene and episode. The writing and acting were all top notch!

And I cannot tell you how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE this show and can't wait to hear that it is renewed for next season!

A lot is going on in the scenes with Dewey. John is starting to process his own addiction issues. Dewey is essentially "the ghost of Christmas future" ... To hear Dewey talk honestly about his addiction scares the hell out of John. Don't forget John is also burying a friend today who killed himself because he could no longer handle the lies he was living. John has some tough choices ahead.

As far as Ben going out to the desert, I think it came up that John was going to visit Dewey and Ben asked to come along. That gesture was huge. I think John just felt the time was right. I don't think it was planned.
Question from Maya Eakins
Oh yeah, my questions are: Will you ever take on police spousal abuse? When will Ben and Lydia hook up? Why is Lydia so obsessed with Russell? Why is Sammy's wife so crazy?

Regardless of the future, please know that this is a great show!!!



Because he's her partner.

Crazy is fun to watch ... Right?

Thank you ... LOL!!
Question from Elrond Lawrence
Michael, watching Southland is a family event here. We love Cooper's great lines, especially episode 1 where the rich kid says, "Do you know who my father is?" and you reply, "What, your mother never told you?" Do you have a favorite quote? TIA.

"You're a cop because you don't know how not to be one. If you feel that way you're a cop. If you don't, you're not ... You decide." Ann is amazing!
Question from Joan Fiesta
How much time generally lapses in the SouthLAnd timelines between episodes? A lot seems to happen between episodes for the characters that we are not privy to. It's an interesting story-telling technique, but kind of disjointed.

For example, using this week's episode: Sherman and Cooper seem to be somewhat close, beyond the FTO/Recruit friendship. This would have had to be developed beyond what we see. The conversation after the funeral left a lot of questions for me as to Sherman's knowledge of Cooper's being gay. Was Cooper just dropping brick-like clues or is he out to Sherman?

Do the directors and writers give you the back stories that the viewers do not see on camera? Or are you, as an actor, left to your own devices when you receive the script, to create the back story for your character?

Sorry, long drawn out question, but I find the storytelling to be fascinating. It's nice not being spoon-fed everything.

Thank you, Joan. One of things we strive for is realistic story telling. At times this means that character development can be slow and other times the characters seem to be contradicting themselves. We as people contradict ourselves all the time in order to make a point or because our circumstances have changed. I can see how this might come across as disjointed but I feel the cumulative effect is very satisfying. John Wells described it once as "Less of a narrative, more like a musical composition." It is not what we are used to seeing on television.

The time between episodes varies. Sometimes weeks, sometimes days pass between episodes. It all depends on the story Ann is telling.

As far as the closeness between John and Ben, yes they are getting closer. They are becoming "partners." Ben is not just someone who John is training but someone who John can count on ... But, let us not forget that John has many years on the job and his training takes on many forms.

Yes ... This is the first time John has spoken to Ben about being gay.

Each characters back-story evolves as the show moves forward. In television it is an ongoing process. The trick is not to paint yourself into a corner. On SouthLAnd we do collaborate with the writers. I have worked in situations similar to this before and I have also worked in situations where the whole thing is in the creator's head. Both ways can work brilliantly.
Question from Nicole Quezada
Michael, how did you interpret John's harsh words for Chickie in "U-Boat," when previously he's always been pretty gentle with her? Was his anger truly meant for her, or do you think it was misdirected (either actually intended for Dewey, or a result John's own self-doubt or self-loathing in regards to his growing problem, or something completely other)?

Also, "The Runner" seemed to mark quite the growth in John and Ben's relationship! How do you think John views Ben at this stage in his training, and in their partnership?

In respect and admiration for you and your fellow cast and crew,

The answer to this question is very complicated but I will try to be short and clear. I think in John's mind Chickie is at a point in her career where she can go either way. She is an exceptional officer in a moment of crisis. No one trusts her so no one will ride with her. This, I have been told, is the beginning of the end for a patrol officer. You need to trust everyone who has your back and right now, no one trusts her. My guess is that Dewey always took charge and always kept her under his thumb. After a while some things become habit.

John cares for Chickie deeply. He has defended her in the past because he believes she has amazing potential. Her actions disappoint him to the point of betrayal. Chickie needs a little tough love. Let's hope it's enough. In short, she needs to get her sh*t together.

This week's episode will answer most of you next question. John sees amazing potential in Ben. But trust me, we all have a lot to learn.
Question from Rebecca Younathan
I heard Ben McKenzie say that while you guys were filming, a gun was actually taken off of somebody and they were arrested. So has anything else happened while you were filming that really made you thankful for cops?

That was a very interesting day -- also one of the most exciting days of the whole shoot. The energy of the crowd coupled with the energy of the incident going on down the block was pretty amazing. I have always had the utmost respect for law enforcement. I think, what this experience has given me is a better understanding of what officers actually go through on a day-to-day basis. I can also say that most people out there have no idea of the stresses that these men and women encounter.
Question from Torrance Johnson Larsen
Will there be any insight into Cooper's family? Who did his father rape and murder? Is his mother still around? Does he have siblings? Kids, even? And when did his father commit this crime? Was Cooper the one to arrest him?

Great question, Torrance. We will be going deeper into the lives of all the characters... But, you will have to wait to get those answers.
OK, this concludes our time together. Remember, the questions are coming not only from Facebook but also some other bloggers sites. If I don't get to your question it is only because I'm doing approx. 10 a week. If I didn't get to your question this week, just re-submit it next week. Thank you again for all the support ... I might surprise some of you by answering you directly.

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