HCTV Well, done, John Wells, Ann Biderman and the "Southland" team.

Thursday's first-season finale ended a few storylines — such as that of prime witness Janila (Carla Jeffrey), who I liked very much in the premiere and will really miss — and opened up a few more, including the utter breakdown of troubled Officer Billy Dewey (C. Thomas Howell).

While not highly rated, "Southland" has turned out to be a solidly crafted, BenMcKenzie2 compelling, character-rich police drama in the tradition of "Hill Street Blues" and "Third Watch" (Wells' previous folks-in-uniform show).

It's not all flash and dazzle and high concepts and superpowers (not that there's anything wrong with those, of course). Instead, it's a ReginaKing grown-up cop show for grown-up cop-show fans.

The subject of the show's initial buzz, Ben McKenzie, as rookie Officer Ben Sherman, still manages to make the most of his relatively small amount of dialogue. That boy does hangdog look like nobody's bidness.

Also, Regina King, as Detective Adams, rocks a 12-gauge something fierce. You go, girl!

On a final note, totally knew Det. Clarke (Tom Everett Scott) was going to get gunned down the moment he headed across the TomEverettScott street. Maybe it's learning to read camera angles and scene pacing, maybe it's just having spent way too many hours of my life watching cop shows.

Or maybe I'm just a TV pessimist, always expecting the worst-case scenario. At least I'm seldom disappointed, as worst-case scenarios often make the best dramatic TV.

Not saying it wasn't the big drama finish the creators intended, but instead of being shocked by it, I was waiting for it. It's not a feeling I enjoy.

Still looking forward to new episodes this fall, Fridays at 9 p.m. Eastern/Pacific, 8 p.m. Central.

Posted by:Kate O'Hare