Shawn Hatosy, Ben McKenzie Finding Levity, Good Guy Times, on ‘Southland’

Ben McKenzie, Shawn Hatosy

Fans of TNT’s critically-admired “Southland” police drama can expect to see things lighten up some for Shawn Hatosy’s character on the new season of the show launching Jan. 17.

Last season, his Detective Sammy Bryant went into a tailspin following his partner’s death in a gang shooting.  But now, back to being a uniformed patrol cop, Bryant is partnered with Ben McKenzie’s  Officer Ben Sherman, and they’ve developed “a certain levity that was missing,” he says.  “This is an opportunity for us to see cops in a very masculine setting, at their best and having fun — in their element and enjoying themselves.”

Hatosy notes, “When I first came on ‘Southland,’ I thought that being a detective was going to be cool, and it was.  I was resistant to the idea of changing into a street cop — until I saw what the episodes were looking like.  Yeah, I like driving on the show, and driving fast, and taking sharp turns and driving up alleys.  I haven’t experienced all this before.  It’s just as fun as it looks.”  In fact,  “For me, it’s a whole new character.  I think he’s never been more comfortable than he is now.  This suits him better.”

Hatosy himself has undergone changes, too.  “When I started on ‘Southland,’ I had just quit smoking and I was 30 pounds heavier — I couldn’t believe it.  If you don’t smoke, don’t start,” he digresses.  “Now I’ve had three seasons of getting into shape.  We’re a cast that is very in shape.  The show requires a lot of physicality,” he says of the series, on which Lucy Liu makes her debut the 17th.

“The style is our own.  The cameras we use are small and mobile and we do things that other shows can’t do.  Yeah, we get doubled sometimes, jumping off tall buildings and things like that, but we do a lot of our own  stunts.”