Shawn Hatosy talks Season 3 of SOUTHLAND

I don’t know what you’re doing at 10/9c tonight, but if you’re in the mood for riveting drama with a cast of characters that we all know and love, it’s best that you tune into the season 3 premiere of SOUTHLAND on TNT. The show that was a hit for NBC, inexplicably canceled by NBC, and then picked up by TNT to air the remaining NBC-produced episodes, promises a season packed with more action, more grit, and even more drama focusing on our favorite beat cops and detectives in LA.

Season 3 kicks off a few months after we last saw John Cooper and company, back in the swing of things.  Regina King’s Lydia is dealing with an aggressive new partner.  John has his issues, Ben’s trying to help him and hide the problems all at ones, and Sammy is dealing once again with his slightly unstable emotions, both professionally and personally.  The show continues to produce the drama that I love, and the premiere ends with a beautiful scene on the Bryant’s front porch that sets the stage for an incredible year.

To celebrate the premiere, I spent some time talking with newlywed Shawn Hatosy, the man behind Sammy Bryant, about what’s coming in the new season: how it’s different, why the fans are so important, and why people should tune in. Read on to learn all about it, and don’t forget to set your DVRs!

I watched the season premiere and all I kept thinking was how great the show is, has been, and I’m sure will continue to be!
I agree!  I am so glad that you liked it.  I’m so damn proud of the show.  I’m excited.  I can’t wait for it to air [laughs], like when is it going to air!

I’ve heard the same thing from a lot of fans, you know, when will this air?  The fans are so passionate about it, the cast is so passionate about it.  I feel like this is a show, unlike others, that is truly deep in everyone’s hearts.
I agree.  I’m so excited to be in this relationship with TNT.  They gave us life.  This show belongs on TNT.  We’re lucky to be there.  Just thank you to TNT.

What I noticed too is that from the get go in the first few episodes that I saw, the show seems to really embrace the idea that you’re on basic cable.  It’s very exciting.
The six that aired last season, were handled by NBC.  And while I’m very proud of those, their presence was felt.  These are the shows that we were trying to make, but kept getting notes.  TNT is kind of allowing us to make the show that we want to make.  Whether it fails or it succeeds, they’re not trying to change it, and I just am so thankful.  I’ll do whatever.  I’ll wear a TShirt, I’ll paint my car, whatever!  TNT rules.  All hail TNT.

What’s different about shooting, back on set this season?  How is everyone approaching this year?
We’re all glowing.  We’re just, every time we see each other, we’re smiling and giggling.  We’re happy.  It’s a powerful TV show, and we take pride in it.  It’s authentic and real.  We go out to the darkest, realest, scariest [laughs] locations in South Central. We’re not set decorating.  We use the street exactly like you would see it if you drove down it today.  We create authentic drama.  It’s very much like live theater.  We don’t do things over and over again.  What you see is pretty much what we did once or twice.  And that’s why it feels the way that it does.  My hats off to John Wells and Chris Chulack, and Ann Biderman for coming up with this concept and following through.  I’ve heard it before, you know, “This is what we’re going to do,” but we actually do it.  We all take pride in it.

What I’ve seen with a lot of procedurals, cop shows, etc, you have a cop who kind of says “Gosh darnit” because they can’t truly explore what someone might say in an “angry” or “intense” situation.  I love that you just get bleeped on the show, and move on.
I know, it’s funny, you would think that having the kind of freedom to do that, you’d embrace it.  The thing is, once you’re allowed to say fuck on TV, it kind of comes out too much.  Whenever it comes out, it’s like “fuck, I gotta stop saying this.”

And then all of a sudden all of your dialogue is bleeped.
Yeah, because you want to be heard!  And that’s another thing that when doing a scene, when you don’t feel like there’s any limit, it is very freeing creatively.

Do you have a favorite thing about Sammy, or the storylines that he goes through?
I enjoyed immediately first of all that he’s extremely emotional and can’t really control his emotions really well. He sort of just reacts and doesn’t really think about anything, he just goes with it. As an actor, that’s a lot of fun.  There’s just a lot of variety and range in Sammy.  His highs are high and his lows are low.  You can’t ask for a better character as an actor.  I responded to his passion for the troubled youth and that for me is the foundation for him, that basically is the emotional center for this character.

Last season, there was some tension between Sammy and Kevin’s character, Nate.  Are we back to normal after that, will it be revisited?
I think that, you know, with cops, and partners, you don’t really have that much control. It is what it is.  People come in and go out.  I know you’re talking about the Laz Alonso character last year, it sort of became a love triangle, vying for each other’s attention, and Sammy was the odd man out.  And I did like that tension.  This season is a little bit more about Sammy is in trouble because of his beautifully messed up personal life, and he needs somebody to lean on, and he needs support and he goes to his partner.  He has it at work, and he has it outside of work, which I think is a beautiful thing.

Speaking of that beautifully messed up relationship – how great is Emily (Bergl)?  The scenes with Sammy and Tammi – it’s so painful, but they’re my favorites.
Yeah [laughs], it’s always like what else could she possibly do wrong?  And when is he going to explode.  She gets away with murder.

Because he gets so emotional!  You wonder when he’s going to flip that switch, and just freak.
I know!

What can you tease about this season and why people should watch?
It’s important to talk about how much the support of the fans really was instrumental in getting us renewed.  The fans said, we love what you’re doing, PLEASE keep doing it, and TNT responded.  I’m so appreciative, and I love the fact that we have Facebook where we can see what people are saying, and I read it.  I love talking about SOUTHLAND, so they wanted this show and Season 3, we deliver it.  I promise you.  Not only do we deliver what we were doing, but it’s better.  I swear to God, it’s better!  You will not be disappointed.  It’s an emotional aggressive television show, and I promise that you’re going to love it.

You mention that you read people’s feedback and comments.  I think it’s great that you and the cast are so vocal on Twitter and other places.  It gives fans a sense of ownership.  I don’t think I’ve heard a bad word said about SOUTHLAND.
It’s true. I understand that, and it is the fans’ show.  I give it to them.  It’s theirs.  We all are doing it together, and TNT is part of that.  It brings a smile to my face.

We got to see you a bit on DEXTER this season.  Love the crazy mess of Boyd Fowler.
I am telling you, and I’ve done a lot of things, but I’m surprised by how many people watch DEXTER.  I sort of tried to create something that didn’t look like me.  On the street, people, they love DEXTER, and they know Boyd Fowler!

What else do you have coming up?
This is it! I’m actually getting married.  Between the planning of the wedding and SOUTHLAND, I’m pretty busy.