Today’s cuppa: coffee-shop coffee (with good conversation!)

southlandreturn-103836-001.jpgOn the LAPD drama “Southland,” airing Tuesdays on TNT, Michael Cudlitz (right) plays veteran Officer John Cooper, who’s trying to prepare rookie Officer Ben Sherman (Benjamin McKenzie, left) to survive as a cop on the mean streets of Los Angeles.

A while ago on Twitter, after doing a “Southland” set visit that resulted in this feature story, I tentatively suggested that Cudlitz — who projects a tough, no-nonsense image on the show — should be on ABC’s ballroom-dancing competition show “Dancing With the Stars.”

The new season — cycle 12 — of “DWTS” begins in March, and the new cast has yet to be announced. ABC is even soliciting viewer suggestions on the Website.

This was his reaction (he RTed — retweeted — my original tweet, adding a comment of his own on the front end) …

Michael Cudlitz Trouble maker. Lol. //RT @: I would suggest @ B on , but I’m afraid he’d hurt me. 😉 Actually not, but it’s fun 2 say so.

But several tweeters seemed interested in the prospect — so I next took the question to the man who spends his working days in a police car with Cudlitz.

“Oh, yeah,”
said McKenzie when asked if Cudlitz needs to trip the light fantastic. “I just want to say that I have personally seen Michael dance on numerous occasions, and he’s really underselling himself. He’s being modest, which is his way of being, but he is a phenomenal dancer. I wouldn’t lead you astray. He’s pretty great.”

It was hard to tell if the deadpan McKenzie was being serious or had his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, but I decided to play along.

Asked if Cudlitz might be better at the classic ballroom or Latin dances, McKenzie said, “Well,  ballroom is probably the way he first learned, because he’s technically very precise, but he has that flava — not flavor, flava — that I think would really translate into a South American kind of looser vibe.

 “I think he’s a double threat. He can go either way. He’s going to surprise some people. I, for one, would like to second that emotion and get him on ‘Dancing With the Stars.’ That would be phenomenal.”

But McKenzie had some conditions that would need to be fulfilled if he were ever to consider going on ‘Dancing.’

“No,” he said, “not unless Michael really mentored and tutored me. If you could promise me that Michael Cudlitz would teach me to dance in a pretty rigorous course of three or four months, maybe — but only under those circumstances. Otherwise, I don’t think I’d be good enough.”

So there you have it. Either McKenzie was completely full of hot air or he sincerely wants his bestest buddy to lace up those dancing shoes.

Posted by:Kate O'Hare