ben mckenzie southland 320 2 Will 'Southland' be canceled? Ben McKenzie cast in CBS pilot 'Advocates'“Southland” star Benjamin McKenzie has signed on for a leading role in CBS’s “Advocates” pilot, just in case “Southland” does not return for a sixth season.

McKenzie will play Henry Bird, a male ex-con who is released after 16 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He teams up with a female lawyer, who has yet to be cast, as “victim advocates.” Essentially, they stretch the law a bit to right injustices in the legal system and to fight for the underdogs. “Advocates” is from “The Mentalist” executive producer Bruno Heller. McKenzie’s character is described as “quietly determined.”

So what does this mean for “Southland”? McKenzie’s “Advocates” role is in second position to the underrated cop drama, meaning that if “Southland” does return, McKenzie will go right back to playing Officer Ben Sherman and his role on “Advocates” will have to be re-cast.

Warner Bros. produces both “Southland” and “Advocates,” so one could reasonably assume that McKenzie’s casting means that the studio is fairly confident that “Southland,” currently airing its fifth season, won’t return for Season 6.

McKenzie, for his part, remains loyal to the TNT drama he’s on now and has no intention of leaving until the show is over. “To clarify: I am doing “Advocates” in second position to #SouthLAnd. If picked up for a sixth season, I am doing that. #SouthLAnd forever,” he tweeted on Tuesday. “I’m honored to be a part of the best cop show on TV (IMHO). I hope and pray it returns. Nothing would make me happier. #SouthLAnd forever.”

His casting was first reported by Deadline.

Posted by:Carina MacKenzie