Detective Lydia Adams (Regina King) has a tendency to go through her partners quickly from season to season on TNT's Southland, but it looks like Ruben (Dorian Missick) is sticking around for a potentially long haul. The two have become friends, in addition to professional partners, and as we spend more time in the car with them, we will see that friendship deepen and evolve as they're comfortable saying things to each other that others wouldn't.
"His feathers don’t get ruffled. He’s tough, too, but he’s more suave, and it’s the perfect complement for Lydia. She says what she says, and it’s all right. It’s a great thing to see," King said when LA TV Insider Examiner caught up with her on set in Los Angeles.
"For Lydia, through him we can get to know the human side of her. You see the hard side of her, and you see her going through crappy things, and then we move onto the next crappy thing or the next moment in life, but through Ruben, we do see that she does smile."
Missick was circling Southland seasons before being cast as Ruben, but he considers himself lucky that he didn't get the earlier roles for which he was up because this is the one that has proven to have the most meat.
"I think the main reason Ruben was able to stick around because they have a genuine friendship that we saw the beginnings of at the end of last season, and then if you made it to episode two [this year], there’s kind of a major moment that builds you up hardcore. Either you’re going to be best buddies or you’re not going to talk at all after that. This season is really exciting because we get to explore that—their two-step, as we’ve been calling it," Missick said.
Now that Lydia is a new mom, juggling the baby and her intense career, Ruben has a lot of advice to give on that end, as well. King admitted that Lydia doesn't see herself as a mother first, but over time she is kind of forced into becoming a better mother though the necessity of the situation.
"I would say that her mental state prior to what happens in episode two is just doubting her choice," King said.
"I feel like she’s in that space most of the time, all the way to the point where she doesn’t want to go in her house. That’s big. And for most mothers, even though it’s tough being a new mom, it pretty much comes natural…you still look at the baby, and you’re like ‘Oh my God!’ The fact that you’ve only had thirty minutes of sleep seems to go out the door. But there are a lot of mothers that do experience what Lydia’s experiencing, and we were very clear that was the direction we wanted to go once it was decided that Lydia would become pregnant."
But King likes that Lydia is flawed in that way, although she shared that exploring her personal life further, as this season will do, exposes some very human details behind what we had pre-judged or misassumed as flaws ("I thought it was so terrible that she had an affair with a married man, but we learn in this season that it’s beyond just having an affair…there’s some history there, and there’s another opportunity to get to know Lydia more," King used as an example). Ruben having ample experience in both parenthood and a long-term, committed, loving relationship, though, will be with her the whole way, at times piping up with a piece of commentary the audience might have found themselves thinking. He might just be the most well-adjusted and grounded character in the series.
"He wants to lead by example. I think it’s for two reasons. He sees how easy it is to have an unstable home life in this unstable world they work in, and also, you’ve got to sit around in a car with someone everyday. [He] would like the home life to be peaceful so he doesn’t have to bring that home to his wife, too!" Missick said.
Southland airs on TNT on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m.
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