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The Best Episodes of Southland

Every episode of Southland ranked from best to worst. Let's dive into the Best Episodes of Southland!

A raw and authentic look into the Los Angeles crime scene, going far inside the lives of cops, criminals, victims and their families. The show centers on four main characters: Officer John Cooper, a seasoned cop who will have to prove himself again after recovering from surgery; Officer Ben Sherman, who still has much to learn after recently completing his training rotation; Detective Lydia Adams, whose unending caseload hits closer to home; and Sammy Bryant, a former detective who decided to go back to being a uniform cop after the traumatic death of his partner.


Top Episode Highlight

The best episode of "Southland" is "Chaos", rated 9.1/10 from 545 user votes. It was directed by N/A and written by N/A. "Chaos" aired on 4/10/2013 and is rated 0.3 point(s) higher than the second highest rated, "Code 4".

  • Chaos
    9.1/10 545 votes

    #1 - Chaos

    Season 5 Episode 9 - Aired 2013-04-10

    Chaos prevails in the city of angels when Cooper and Lucero are kidnapped and held hostage by a pair of tweakers. All of our cops join the frantic search to find their brothers in blue before it is too late. Sammy searches for Strokeface. Ben tries to throw Sammy off the trail while simultaneously dealing with an increasingly irrational Brooke.

    Director: N/A

    Writer: N/A

  • Code 4
    8.8/10 371 votes

    #2 - Code 4

    Season 3 Episode 4 - Aired 2011-01-25

    Ben learns the hard way, some valuable lessons about the importance of following established procedure and protocol, Lydia's current murder investigation takes an unexpected turn, and Nate and Sammy are unprepared when a group of people they encounter turns into a violent mob.

    Director: Félix Enríquez Alcalá

    Writer: Diana Son

  • Reckoning
    8.7/10 496 votes

    #3 - Reckoning

    Season 5 Episode 10 - Aired 2013-04-17

    John copes with the aftermath of his kidnapping. Sammy closes in on the real robbers. Lydia continues to pursue John’s kidnappers and becomes more intimate with Russell.

    Director: N/A

    Writer: N/A

  • Graduation Day
    8.6/10 277 votes

    #4 - Graduation Day

    Season 3 Episode 10 - Aired 2011-03-08

    On Ben's final day as a rookie, he decides to force John to get the surgery he needs to relieve his back pain which, in turn, will end his need for painkillers. Meanwhile, Josie discovers that her son is the man Lydia has been seeing. Elsewhere, Sammy decides to go back to regular patrol.

    Director: Christopher Chulack

    Writer: N/A

  • Derailed
    8.5/10 378 votes

    #5 - Derailed

    Season 1 Episode 7 - Aired 2009-05-21

    When Sammy discovers Marta has made bail, and fearing another attempt will be made on Janilla's life, he arranges to have her stay with Lydia, but Janilla's safety is compromised after she visits her old neighborhood. Meanwhile, Sal continues to spy on his daughter's activities, Dewey flips out when Chickie confronts him about his drinking problem, and Russell is caught in the middle when he attempts to defuse an ongoing domestic battle between a neighbor and his wife.

    Director: Christopher Chulack

    Writer: Ann Biderman

  • U-Boat
    8.5/10 315 votes

    #6 - U-Boat

    Season 2 Episode 3 - Aired 2010-03-16

    Ben, assigned to work on his own for the first time, responds to a call about a 9-year old girl who wandered off and finds himself emotionally distraught over a woman who is being harassed by an ex-lover with a tendency towards violence against women. Lydia and Rene spend the day checking assisting Brianna, the mother of the baby found crawling down the street. Over in Gangs, Detective Gil Puente leads the task force to take down ex-banger Trinny Day, but clashes with Sal and Sammy who find him loud and abrasive. When Chickie is assigned to ride with John for the day, he discovers she has no "command presence" and has lost her edge, suggesting it may be time for her to get out of police work.

    Director: Christopher Chulack

    Writer: Ann Biderman

  • Maximum Deployment
    8.5/10 292 votes

    #7 - Maximum Deployment

    Season 2 Episode 6 - Aired 2010-04-06

    John, Ben, and Chickie are sent out as part of a maximum deployment to capture the “Canyon Rapist,” a perp who's been impersonating a cop. Russell is back, but on light duty as he continues to struggle with his recovery after being shot. While working a double-homicide with his old partner, Lydia, he discovers he's no longer up for the job. Sal plans a special night out to commemorate his wife's promotion, but their evening is ruined when their daughter reveals Sal’s affair with TV news reporter Mia Sanchez. Chickie gets a chance to prove to herself -- and others -- that she still has what it takes to be a good cop.

    Director: N/A

    Writer: N/A

  • Legacy
    8.5/10 260 votes

    #8 - Legacy

    Season 4 Episode 5 - Aired 2012-02-14

    John tries to save a suicidal teen in a situation that hits extremely close to home, and Sammy convinces a former addict to be an informant, with devastating consequences. Meanwhile, Jessica gets a visit from someone from her past, and Lydia and Ruben investigate a home invasion that appears to have been staged to cover up a murder.

    Director: N/A

    Writer: N/A

  • Integrity Check
    8.5/10 270 votes

    #9 - Integrity Check

    Season 4 Episode 6 - Aired 2012-02-21

    Lydia dons a uniform and hits the streets when the shift is short a supervisor and she must fill in. Meanwhile, John and Jessica are stuck with a film crew tagging along on their calls. Elsewhere, Ben infuriates Sammy when he implies Sammy planted evidence.

    Director: Christopher Chulack

    Writer: N/A

  • What Makes Sammy Run?
    8.4/10 308 votes

    #10 - What Makes Sammy Run?

    Season 2 Episode 5 - Aired 2010-03-30

    After two men murder a man in a crowded nightclub, Nate discovers his daughter was an eyewitness. Meanwhile, tensions rise between Sal and Gil on the gang task force, and Sammy confronts his wife, Tammi, after discovering she has been photographing gang members.

    Director: Félix Enríquez Alcalá

    Writer: N/A

  • Wednesday
    8.4/10 306 votes

    #11 - Wednesday

    Season 4 Episode 1 - Aired 2012-01-17

    John returns to duty after recuperating from back surgery and meets his new partner, Officer Jessica Tang, a tough and disciplined cop with her own set of baggage from working the streets. Lydia, whose new partner is Detective Ruben Robinson, can't seem to escape helping a former CI who seems unable to stay out of danger, Ben, Sammy and Dewey chase an armed man into an elementary school, and Ben bumps heads with an intense street cop whose cynical attitude is affecting their work.

    Director: Christopher Chulack

    Writer: N/A

  • Thursday
    8.4/10 271 votes

    #12 - Thursday

    Season 4 Episode 10 - Aired 2012-03-20

    It's the last day on patrol for Tang, as she prepares to move to another precinct as sergeant. But first she wants to tie up some loose ends on the beat. Lydia is pressured to make a decision about the extent of her police duties during the rest of her pregnancy. With Sammy recovering from injuries, Ben and Dewey are partnered together. But Ben is bent on tracking down the prostitute he's been trying to help and then getting her and her daughter away from the abusive pimp controlling their lives.

    Director: Christopher Chulack

    Writer: N/A

  • The Felix Paradox
    8.4/10 247 votes

    #13 - The Felix Paradox

    Season 5 Episode 8 - Aired 2013-04-03

    The funeral of a major drug dealer brings gangsters of all kinds out of the woodwork, there is chaos in the streets but as our cops learn sometimes the greatest threats come from within. Lydia and Ruben investigate the drug related murder of Sgt. Hill’s son; they discover police corruption in the process and clash over how to handle it. Ben suspects that Sammy did not destroy the tape and decides to take matters into his own hands with tragic consequences. John sinks farther into his loneliness.

    Director: N/A

    Writer: N/A

  • Failure Drill
    8.3/10 258 votes

    #14 - Failure Drill

    Season 3 Episode 9 - Aired 2011-03-01

    As John's back pain worsens, so does his drug problem, and Ben, about to finish his training period, is gravely concerned about him. Meanwhile, when a man wielding an automatic weapon goes on a killing spree inside a factory, Josie gets injured and Lydia must go after him alone. Elsewhere, Sammy decides to take a more active roll in the upcoming birth of his child..

    Director: N/A

    Writer: N/A

  • Phase Three
    8.2/10 324 votes

    #15 - Phase Three

    Season 2 Episode 1 - Aired 2010-03-02

    Lydia and her new partner, Detective Rene Cordero, investigate the disappearance of an elderly man. Meanwhile, Nate and Sammy investigate a freeway shooting and inadvertently threaten the integrity of a major undercover operation. Elsewhere, Chickie finds herself in the middle of a mini-riot after her new partner panics and takes a shot at a 13-year-old boy.

    Director: Christopher Chulack

    Writer: John Wells, Ann Biderman

  • The Winds
    8.2/10 268 votes

    #16 - The Winds

    Season 3 Episode 5 - Aired 2011-02-01

    When a rape victim hires a lawyer and refuses to talk with the two detectives unless her lawyer is present, Lydia and Josie want to know why. Meanwhile, John strikes up an unlikely friendship with a boy who returned home after a sleepover, only to discover his parents had packed up and moved during the night, abandoning him and leaving him to fend for himself, Later on, John begins to feel the stress over the prospect of testifying at his father's upcoming parole board hearing, but he doesn't realize his testifying will open up an emotional can of worms that he's not prepared for.

    Director: Nelson McCormick

    Writer: Mitchell Burgess, Robin Green

  • Sideways
    8.2/10 256 votes

    #17 - Sideways

    Season 3 Episode 7 - Aired 2011-02-15

    When crime scene photos from the case of the celebrity suspected of murdering his estranged wife show up on the internet, all of the first responders are suspended, including Lydia and Josie. Further investigation proves the photos were the unauthorized pictures taken by Lydia using her phone, and she's shocked when she learns who was responsible for the leak. Meanwhile, Sammy fails to pick the right guy from the line-up for Nate's murderer, and Dewey and Chickie are involved in a high-speed chase that ends in disaster.

    Director: Allison Anders

    Writer: N/A

  • Risk
    8.2/10 240 votes

    #18 - Risk

    Season 4 Episode 9 - Aired 2012-03-13

    Ben finds himself heading down a slippery slope as he attempts to help the daughter of a prostitute, putting him in hot water with the woman's pimp. Lydia and Ruben investigate the murder of a gang-banger who may have been killed over a graffiti tag. Tang faces more questions about her shooting of an innocent bystander, which could determine whether she gets promoted to sergeant.

    Director: N/A

    Writer: N/A

  • Off Duty
    8.2/10 224 votes

    #19 - Off Duty

    Season 5 Episode 5 - Aired 2013-03-13

    John is forced to think about what life will hold for him once he leaves the LAPD. Lydia connects with a man she sent to death row earlier in her career. Much to his chagrin, Sammy becomes a tabloid celebrity for the day after a very public act of heroism. Ben makes a dubious decision to get a drug dealer arrested. And a foot pursuit puts Dewey in danger.

    Director: N/A

    Writer: N/A

  • Fixing a Hole
    8.1/10 261 votes

    #20 - Fixing a Hole

    Season 3 Episode 8 - Aired 2011-02-22

    Sammy seeks answers in the desert, Lydia and Josie babysit an important alcoholic witness before a murder trial, and John and Ben go against procedure to help a child in need.

    Director: Christopher Chulack

    Writer: N/A

  • Heat
    8.1/10 262 votes

    #21 - Heat

    Season 5 Episode 2 - Aired 2013-02-20

    After Mendoza is injured in a drive-by, Ben takes it upon himself to solve the case, much to Sammy's dismay. Lydia regains her footing as a detective while investigating the murder of a female boxer's husband. Tensions between Cooper and Steele finally come to a head during a traffic stop-gone-sideways.

    Director: N/A

    Writer: N/A

  • Bleed Out
    8.1/10 308 votes

    #22 - Bleed Out

    Season 5 Episode 6 - Aired 2013-03-20

    The day’s events bring all of our cops face to face with some of their greatest fears. The death of a baby shakes Lydia to her core. Sammy is questioned by I.A. about his altercation with Tammi. A difficult day on the job causes Cooper to seek solace in Hicks but finds none. Ben becomes more deeply involved with Brooke while continuing to see Elena.

    Director: N/A

    Writer: N/A

  • Heroes
    8.1/10 321 votes

    #23 - Heroes

    Season 5 Episode 7 - Aired 2013-03-27

    John takes drastic measures to try to save Hicks while being confronted with demons from his past. Sammy’s lie about the tape weighs heavily on his conscious. Lydia and Ruben track down a John Doe. Ben’s relationship with Elena becomes more serious.

    Director: N/A

    Writer: N/A

  • Unknown Trouble
    8.0/10 567 votes

    #24 - Unknown Trouble

    Season 1 Episode 1 - Aired 2009-04-09

    On his first day, rookie officer Ben Sherman is assigned to veteran cop John Cooper, his no-nonsense training officer. After being involved in a fatal shooting, Ben already begins questioning his career choice. Detectives Sammy Bryant and Nate Moretta try to convince a young teen to testify after learning she is an eyewitness in the attempted murder of a boy who was mistaken for a gang member. Meanwhile, Detective Lydia Adams investigates the disappearance of a young girl.

    Director: Christopher Chulack

    Writer: Ann Biderman

  • Let It Snow
    8.0/10 298 votes

    #25 - Let It Snow

    Season 3 Episode 1 - Aired 2011-01-04

    Lydia endures a stressful adjustment period with her new partner, Detective Josie Ochoa, as they investigate the disappearance of an illegal immigrant. Meanwhile, Russell must learn to adapt to a new desk job, Sammy and Nate look for the killer of two gangbangers, Ben catches the eye of an attractive woman, and John struggles with increasing back pain.

    Director: Christopher Chulack

    Writer: John Wells, Ann Biderman