In a move that will no doubt make fans of TNT’s Southland a little nervous, the CBS drama pilot The Advocates has cast Ben McKenzie as its male lead. McKenzie has played Officer Ben Sherman on Southland for the past four seasons (Southland is currently three episodes into season five), and while the show is critically praised, it has never performed spectacularly in the ratings department. TNT has yet to make a decision on the future of the show, and so the casting as McKenzie as the lead in a new pilot may be an early sign of cancellation in Southland’s future.
McKenzie will star alongside True Blood alumna Brit Morgan in the pilot, written by Bruno Heller and directed by David Nutter. The Advocates will tell the story of the relationship between lawyer Shannon Carter and ex-con Henry Bird (McKenzie) as they team up as “victim advocates” to fight for the underdogs of society. Henry Bird is described as a quiet and determined man who is freed after enduring 16 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Morgan did a guest spot on Southland last year opposite of McKenzie, and on The Advocates she will play the role of Henry’s tattooed and peirced sister Rose.