Michael Cudlitz has always called his TNT Southland character Officer John Cooper a "lovable a**hole" but also a "particular a**hole" when he's training, and his season five trainee is not only someone he does not particularly gel with but also someone whom he feels is not quite right for the job in general. Add that to the fact that personally, Cooper is kind of a mess, with his boyfriend leaving him and his post-rehab occasional drinking, and season five may be a turning point for Cooper. Not only may he be pushed to his limits with "the boots," but Cudlitz pointed out that he is assessing his life in a much larger way.
"It’s really a continuation of the “Legacy” episode last year, where its ‘What are you leaving behind?’ Now that John knows he’s physically fit, and he’s tired of dealing with these kids with the attitudes; he just wants to be a cop," Cudlitz said to LA TV Insider Examiner on set in Los Angeles.
"He’s assessing where he is in his career and in his life. He’s a middle-aged gay man with no prospects at this point. The relationship he had, which he was obviously afraid to commit to, he still doesn’t know if he made a mistake. That story’s not new, but you don’t see it between two men, usually."
And on the topic of Cooper's drinking? Cudlitz wouldn't spill just how bad it may get, but he did note "you should be as worried as you’re going to be worried. I mean, he’s a recovering addict; should he be drinking? John would tell you it’s none of your f*cking business[but] everybody in the program would go ‘Dude, you’re f*cking screwed'."
Additionally, a blast from Cooper's past in the form of his old training officer (guest star Gerald McRaney) gives him a harsh look into a potential future.
"You think Cooper’s a mess, [but] this guy is so gone; he’s so affected. He could tell you he's jaded or bitter or whatever, but I’ll just tell you he’s so affected by what his career was and where he ended up that he’s not handling anything well. John always looked at him as a father figure, and here’s this person that he loves as a family member just going down the tubes. How does he process that?" Cudlitz said.
Cooper is being pushed to his limits in new ways this season, but he still isn't at the point where he wants to just pack it all in and retire just yet. And we can all be thankful for that, right?
Southland airs on TNT on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m.
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