Does Ben McKenzie Miss His Poolhouse?

‘Tis a long way from The O.C, Ryan Atwood.

NBC’s trash TNT’s treasure, Southland premiered its third season last night.  Ben McKenzie, who traded in Sandy Cohen’s Rover for a badge on the cop drama, talked to the Wall Street Journal about filming on location in Los Angeles and what a cable network is really like.

McKenzie plays a rookie cop assigned to training officer John Cooper (Michael Cudlitz or Tony Miller to my 90210 peeps. Brenda’s promdatewhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat).   Officer Cooper’s got a bit of a prescription drug problem, and we’ll begin to see the repercussions of his abuse this season.  We’ll also see how it affects his relationship with McKenzie’s character, Ben Sherman.

The show is shot mostly on location in Los Angeles, which requires more concentration than if it were shot on a set.  There’s all sorts of riff raff to filter out, but it does make for better television.  McKenzie told the WSJ, “We don’t overcover scenes. We just roll. It ends up becoming very guerrilla-style, like a moving play. But the main challenge is to concentrate because there’s so much coming at you so fast.”

So what makes shooting for a cable network like TNT different than their old home, NBC?  The freedom to run with an idea, for one thing.  Says McKenzie, “What makes it different than most procedural cops shows on network TV is that we’re portraying a world that’s morally ambiguous. We don’t let our main characters off the hook by providing a nice capper at the end of the episodes where we catch the bad guy and they did it for the wrong reason and the cops can go home and sleep quietly in their beds.”

Did you catch last night’s premiere?  Tell us what you thought.  AAAAND did you know that TNT will be airing reruns of the premiere episode all week?