In the season 5 premiere of Southland, Officer John Cooper clashes with his new boot, Gary Steele, a vet from Afghanistan. Lydia struggles to balance detective work and motherhood. Ben Sherman falls in with a sketchy crowd of cops, while Sammy Bryant is trapped in a hellish custody battle with Tammi.
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.
A breakdown in the LAPD's dispatch system makes a difficult job even harder for the cops, all of whom are already grappling with communication issues. Lydia, in a moment of weakness, reaches out to her old flame, Terrell. John is assigned a new partner; Ben and Sammy's partnership is strained just as Ben makes a romantic connection on the job.
A victim slow cooked to the bone has Lydia and Reuben tracking down the killer. A day full of strange calls helps John and Lucero settle into their new found friendship. A bizarre bank robbery see's the prime suspects throwing money out into the streets as they make their escape, with Ben and Sammy responding to the case.
John's decision to leave the LAPD suddenly becomes real when he realizes what his life will hold for him. Lydia begins corresponding with a man she'd sent to death row earlier in her career. Sammy is involved in a heroic act and becomes a local celebrity. Ben is about to get a drug dealer arrested but has a dubious decision to make. Dewey is put in danger when pursuing someone on foot.
Lydia is shook to the core when she investigates the death of a baby. Sammy gets called in for questioning over his spit with Tammi. Cooper seeks solace from Hicks after a difficult day but doesn't get anything. Ben and Brooke step things up a notch even though he continues to see Elena.
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.
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.
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.
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.