SouthLAnd: Can I Get a Little More Dewey With That?
Call me a SouthLAnd convert.
TNT’s cop show about Los Angeles police officers and detectives is fast-paced, well-written, fascinating and has an unusually live feel about it – even if the stories are fictional.
The show’s now in its fourth year, although I just came across it in no small part because I learned that one of my favorite actors, C. Thomas Howell, has a role in it.
And like most things that I get hooked on, I found out he was in the show by talking to him on Twitter.
I first remember Howell from way back in the dark ages, when I was in junior high school. He played Pony Boy in the Outsiders, ended up as a teen idol and pictures of him were spread across many a notebook, including a few of my own.
I also remember him in Red Dawn and The Hitcher, but after that he sort of popped off my radar until he appeared on Criminal Minds as The Reaper, which most fans agree was the best bad guy on the show … pretty much ever.
The Reaper is a serial killer psychopath who terrorizes the city of Boston, my homeland, and our beloved BAU team over the course of several episodes. He’s a far cry from Pony Boy and Howell brings him to life in a wonderfully creepy and nuanced way.
A couple years ago I remember introducing a friend of mine to the Criminal Minds Reaper episodes and, after I told her about my junior high crush – she already knew I had a thing for Thomas Gibson’s Hotch – she looked at me when the two characters were fighting and said “this is hard for you, isn’t it?”
Hard and great all at the same time.
And apparently the two of them beat the heck out of each other during filming.
Anyway, about a month ago the Criminal Minds fans on Twitter told me that Howell had an account, so I started Tweeting at him.
To my surprise, he’s actually been very responsive. He’s nice to his fans, posts a good amount of behind the scenes pictures and the guy’s pretty damned funny to boot.
And after hearing him talk about his role on SouthLAnd I decided to check it out. And I pretty much devoured the first three seasons in about two weeks.
I guess I liked it.
The show’s great. I find myself looking forward to the action and the character development almost as much as I do for new episodes of Criminal Minds.
And that’s not just cause Howell is on it – although I love his character, Officer Dewey Dudek.
Actors Michael Cudlitz, Regina King, Ben McKenzie, Shawn Hatosy and others bring to life multi-faceted cops learning on the job and struggling with things like drug addiction, death and betrayal.
It can be very serious at times.
And then there’s Howell’s Dewey. He’s hilarious, completely inappropriate, struggling with some issues of his own and as Cudlitz’ character calls him “an acquired taste.”
Howell was meant for this role. He pulls it off so well he has fans rolling around laughing every week he’s on there.
But he’s not just comic relief. There are subtleties in Howell’s portrayal that indicate there’s more to Dewey – and I hope the show gives Howell a bigger role and lets him look more deeply into the character’s quirky soul.
Right now, he’s just on sporadically. If TNT is smart, they’ll make him a regular cast member and give him more screen time.
Folks I talk to out there in the Internet world just love watching him.
Which brings me back to the Twitter thing.
Howell’s fairly new to it, but he’s picked it up fast and he’s been a great ambassador for the show.
He and other cast members have been Tweeting to fans during the first few episodes this season, and we’re loving it.
It reminds me of what the Criminal Minds Twitterverse was like when the actors on that show were on the service more often.
I hope Howell and the other actors keep hanging out with us fans of SouthLAnd.
Here’s a list if you want to follow along:
C. Thomas Howell, @cthomashowell
Michael Cudlitz, @cudlitz
Regina King, @reginaking
Ben McKenzie, @ben_mckenzie
Shawn Hatosy, @shawnhatosy
(I also have a curated list here: explodingegg/southland/)
As I was writing this I went looking for some clips on YouTube of Dewey, and I came across this video – which is one of those fan videos to music – but it’s pretty cool so I thought I’d share it:
Do yourself a favor and check out the show at 10 p.m. on Tuesdays on TNT. And while your at it, feel free to nag TNT’s show account @Southland_TNT and tell them we want #MoreDewey on #Southland!
P.S. I built a Twitter FAQ site to go with Howell’s profile. Check it out: http://cthomashowell.info/