EXCLUSIVE: Kevin Alejandro Asks What Makes Sammy Run? in Southland Episode 2.05
The man behind Detective Nate Moretta reveals more about the final two episodes of Southland
Southland has proven itself to be one of the best cop dramas ever produced for television. With an explosive second season nearing its end, each new episode has been better than the last. It truly is must-see TV. Sadly, year two of this action-packed procedural was cut short when NBC decided to cancel the show just six episodes into its fall shooting schedule. Those six episodes are currently running on TNT, where the series has continued to amass a rabid fanbase. This Thursday, March 30th, brings us Episode 2.05: "What Makes Sammy Run?". And it's a very important episode for gang Detectives Nate Moretta (Kevin Alejandro) and Sammy Bryant (Shawn Hatosy). When two gangsters open fire in a crowded club and kill a couple of local bangers, it is revealed that one of them has a connection to an officer. Meanwhile, tensions rise between Sal (Michael McGrady) and Gil (Laz Alonso) on the gang task force, while Sammy must confront his wife, Tammi (Emily Bergl), after discovering that she has been out photographing gang members.
Then, on April 6th, it all comes to an end with Episode 2.06: Maxium Deployment, which finds John (Michael Cudlitz) getting an unexpected request from his ex-wife just as he, Ben (Ben McKenzie) and Chickie (Arija Bareikis) are sent out as part of a maximum deployment to capture the "Canyon Rapist," a perp who has been impersonating a cop. Lydia (Regina King) gets re-partnered with Russell for a double-homicide case. And Sal (Michael McGrady) gives his wife Susan (Denise Crosby) a special gift to commemorate her promotion, but their night turns into a disaster when their daughter reveals Sal's ongoing affair with TV news reporter Mia Sanchez (Lisa Vidal).
What can we expect to see out of these two explosive final episodes? And what does the future have in store for Southland? We recently caught up with Detective Nate Moretta himself, (Kevin Alejandro), to find out more about the series and its fate on TNT. Here is our conversation:
First question of the day: What is the scoop on the return of Southland? When will you guys be heading back into production? Or is episodes 5 and 6 of season two the last we will see of Detective Nate and his partner Sammy?
Kevin Alejandro: We're hoping we get renewed. We haven't heard anything. We are all on pins and needles waiting to hear what TNT decides. I hope that these last two upcoming episodes aren't all we're ever going to see. No one has come to me. I don't know what is going on at this point. I know that Ann Biderman had some stories and outlines ready to go for season three. All I'm hearing right now is that it looks very positive. We'll just have to wait and see.
Will there be resolution to the Trinny Day storyline that is currently playing out? Or is that one of the loose threads that got left dangling in the wind when the series was cancelled?
Kevin Alejandro: You can count on a little bit of resolution in what is about to unfold. There will be a lot of questions that do get answered. But there will also be some things that are left unanswered. Just in the hopes of grabbing people and wanting them to want more from this.
You've been away from the show for a while. Is it going to be hard to return once they announce season three is a-go?
Kevin Alejandro: I don't think so at all. The way they run it, they allotted us some time during the first season to do some research. We did some ride alongs, and took some classes. They did the same thing before we started the second season. If we get picked up again, I'm betting they would once again allot us some time to go to classes, and to refresh our memories. They would allow us time to flex those tired muscles. As we all watch the show now, as it airs, and we go back on that journey, it brings us right there to the moment everything happened for real. I'm just ready to go, dude. I am ready to jump into that suit and get on with it.
How does Nate's relationship with his sister continue to evolve throughout these last two episodes? And is that another story thread that isn't going to be so easily tied up in the next two weeks?
Kevin Alejandro: This is one of those things that isn't tied up so easily. The huge thing was how we lied to her. How she is actually Nate's daughter, and not really his sister. That whole underlining thing right there adds so much substance to this guy. And the dynamic between the two characters. It can only be tapped into throughout a longer season. More time needs to be devoted to it. There is a lot more about this relationship that should be told. If we go on, this story will find its voice. There is more to be explored by everyone.
That storyline also intersects with the Trinny Day storyline. Will there be a resolution as far as Nate's daughter's involvement with Day's investigation?
Kevin Alejandro: Yeah, man. That is resolved. Nate's daughter is involved with Trinny Day. We get to see how deeply she is involved. And how that affects Nate, and his job, and his life at home with his daughter. That's what makes this upcoming episode so explosive. "What Makes Sammy Run?" You get to go through two journeys. You are running with Sammy. And you are running with Nate. You get to see them going through their parallel lives. They are both going through something that is very different. But it is equally emotional, and just as intense.
How has your relationship with Shawn Hatosy evolved throughout this series' two season run? And how would you like to see it evolve in the future?
Kevin Alejandro: Oh, man. Working with Shawn Hatosy as an actor is amazing. I have learned so much from him. He is so real. And on point. That, in itself, adds into a really great dynamic between the two characters. He's sort of that way in real life. He's a hot head. He's ready to go. He leads with a lot of emotion. Nate is a little more headstrong. He's by the book. He's that kind of guy. It brings a really great dynamic to these two characters. I would just like TNT to pick us up again. So we can explore that relationship to its fullest. It is endless. The amount of things Sammy and Nate could get into. We have so much chemistry, and we could just rock it.
Sammy and Tammi's relationship is absolutely fascinating to me. Did you get to work with Emily Bergl on this Thursday's episode? Or is she still sort of removed from the rest of the cast.
Kevin Alejandro: I have only worked with her once. It was at C. Thomas Howell's retirement party. She is awesome. She is so great. So far, in the way it's been set up, she is just in that world. She is locked in Sammy's universe. It's more of a home thing with her. Emily lives in New York, and she comes into town to shoot the show every now and again. There is a core group of people, which are the detectives and the police officers. Even though our storylines don't always intersect, we do all still get to see each other quite often.
How invested have you become in the show on a personal level? There are some episodes where we don't see Nate and Sammy at all. Do you make sure to watch those episodes?
Kevin Alejandro: Absolutely. It's a great show, and its really smart. All of us as people, and as actors, as well as the writers and the directors, and the entire crew, are going through this journey together. We want the same outcome. Because of that, we are all invested in every aspect of the show. It's a smart show, and its very cool. We do watch it. I'll see a certain episode, and I will text one of the actors, and we will discuss how it went. What we all thought about it. It remains very collaborative.
Are you ever bummed when Nate and Sammy aren't in a certain episode?
Kevin Alejandro: No. Not really, man. It's a big show. With the formula they put together, it doesn't ever feel like they have to rush through a story. Or stick us in a plot just to stick us in there. The formula they have right now really works in giving each character room and time to breath. And it gives the audience that same breathing space. You can get attached to one certain character, and you can get drawn into just that life. On that level. Then move onto the next guy. You aren't hit over the head, or thrown a bunch of punches. I love the formula they have worked out for us. It really works for this particular show.
That's the sad, frustrating thing for fans. There is such a wealth of information here to explore. And we might never get to see that.
Kevin Alejandro: Yes. Because they shoot it this way, all of the characters evolve. At the end of the season, you will see each character and how vulnerable and how exposed they have all been. There is so much more to grow on. As audience members, we are going to be left with this feeling of, "Oh, I need to see more! I need to see more of these guys and what happens to them." Its being left up to the imagination as to where this group of characters could eventually go. Hopefully TNT will pick it up, so that we can put everything into order.
Thursday's episode involves a gang shooting. From what I understand, you work pretty closely with the Crips. How have some of those individuals helped you with your character and what the show is trying to achieve?
Kevin Alejandro: That's their lives on screen. It helps tremendously. In the first season, when we did this huge bust where the gang was smuggling guns and bulletproof vests? One of the gang members wasn't doing the scene like I told him to do it. He refused. He said, "That's not how we would do this." It's really interesting to hear about who they are, and what they've been through. A lot of the relationships with the extras that we have are between off-duty or retired police officers and gang members. It's interesting to watch that interaction between them. They have their own chemistry, and their own energy. I learned quite a lot from watching those guys interact. It was interesting to talk to them on all levels.
You guys utilize Echo Park quite frequently in the show. What do you feel it brings to the atmosphere of this series?
Kevin Alejandro: It is a necessity. Chris Chulack does such a great job of using Los Angeles as a backdrop. He uses it in a way that people don't see it. The show gives you LA in a way you'd never imagine it looking. But its there. You can be in the toughest, roughest part of the city, and look over your shoulder, and see the most amazing skyline. The way they use the locations is amazing.
Do you feel that if everything had to end here with episode six of season two, that this is a nice send off? Will you be satisfied with this as the series finale?
Kevin Alejandro: Absolutely. I lot of questions will be answered. But like I said earlier, a lot of questions won't be answered. Which will make everyone want to grab ahold and figure out what is going on next. It's a nice balance. It's a nice place for the show to end.
Is there anything else we can do to urge TNT to keep this great series on the air?
Kevin Alejandro: The fans have already done so much. They have been so supportive. We are all very appreciative of that. Please continue to watch. I don't know what it's going to take. Just keep going at it. And thank you!
Episode 2.05: "What Makes Sammy Run?" airs this Tuesday, March 30th, and the season two finale Episode 2.06: Maxium Deployment debuts on April 6th. If you want more Southland, send your emails to TNT.