Kevin Alejandro Dishes on Tonight's Emotional ‘Southland!’

Tonight’s all-new episode of TNT’s riveting drama Southlandwhich focuses on Mexican actor Kevin Alejandro—promises to be one of the best of the season. I called Kevin up to get the inside scoop on the episode and his thoughts on the future of Southland.

I’m loving Southland! What’s coming up for your character, Detective Nate Moretta this season?
There’s a lot of great stuff happening. Tonight's episode is called “What Makes Sammy Run?” and it really goes into Sammy (Shawn Hatosy) and my character Nate—the detectives. We’re doing surveillance on this Black gang and Mexican gang and how they’re sort of working together, and trying to figure out what’s going on. A lot unfolds. You get to go through a big journey with us—high action, and a lot of good stuff. It’s a very emotional episode.

I’ve been waiting for an episode that focuses on Nate all season! I guess this is it!

Yeah, yeah it is! It’s really strong. It focuses a lot on myself, and Shawn’s character, Sammy. He goes through something and I go through something, and you see how my personal life affects my work and my work affects my personal life. And the same thing with Sammy—you get to really understand who these people are. I’m in it a lot, so hopefully people will enjoy it. It’s one of my favorite ones. I just watched it the other night. It’s really good!

TNT is doing a great job of promoting Southland! Everywhere I look, there’s a huge billboard or a TV commercial reminding me to watch…

I was saying this earlier: I don’t think I’ve ever been part of a show that they’ve pushed so hard. It’s really amazing to see all these ads in TV Guide, and all the promos on television, and the billboards. They’re doing an amazing job!

How many more episodes of the show will be airing this season?
After next week, there will be 3 more.

Are you currently shooting any new episodes?
No. They haven’t made a decision as to whether or not we’re going to come back for another season. So we’re all just sitting in the wings, kind of hoping.

If TNT renews Southland for a second season, will changes be made to the writing staff and producers?
I think it would probably stay the same, because that’s kind of the formula that makes our show what it is.

Your show got some bad press last year when the pilot episode featured so many Latinos and Blacks as criminals, and an all-White police force. Do you think the show has done a better job this season with the introduction of actors like Clifton Collins Jr. and Amaury Nolasco?
I think they’ve responded to the feedback that they’ve gotten pretty well, and tried to create a nice, evenly balanced cast, while also trying to accommodate what the audience wants to see as well. We’re trying to show you what is out there, what does really happen. All of these stories come from the mouths of real police officers, and real detectives, so we’re recreating what they tell us. Our goal was never to show Latinos and Blacks in a bad light. Our goal was to show you what is going on—the reality of what is out there.

How is working on Southland different working on True Blood?
They’re worlds apart! The style of Southland is, we try to keep it as close to real as possible and obviously True Blood is vampires and that kind of stuff. My attraction to them both is how opposite the characters were and how opposite the shows were. I’m getting an opportunity to do two great shows.

Were you a fan of True Blood before you were hired to join the show?
Yeah. It was really cool to be part of something that I really like. I’m flattered, and honored.

Are you having a good time working with Nelsan Ellis (Lafayette)?
Dude, he’s a great actor! He’s got chops—he’s a Julliard boy. I learned a lot from him. He’s a great, great person.