Shawn Hatosy has well over 50 television and film credits under his belt, but these days he's known as Detective Bryant on TNT’s hit series Southland. Hatosy has been hitting the streets of Los Angeles for the fifth season of the show. “I think that the character Sammy Bryant is dealing with his partner, who is continuing to exhibit shady behavior,” he told Uinterview exclusively, “so I think that’s one of the most prominent elements of season five.”



Hatosy, 37, who was born in rural Maryland, knew he wanted to be a actor from a young age. He first appeared on the television series Homicide: Life on the Street in 1995 and moved to New York to act full-time. His most recent film credits include Public Enemies in 2009 starring alongside Johnny Depp, Channing Tatum and Christian Bale.

Southland airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on TNT.

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Q: What do you expect from your character, Detective Bryant, this season? How is he going to evolve? - Uinterview

I think that the character Sammy Bryant is dealing with his partner [played by Ben McKenzie], who is continuing to exhibit shady behavior, so I think that is one of the most prominent elements in season five, but then he’s also dealing with a custody situation with his ex-wife Tammi and that is something that is jeopardizing his police work.

Q: What about for the show generally? What plotlines can you hint to us about? - Uinterview

Well, I think the one thing that I enjoy as an actor is the personal lives of the characters. It’s not just about the crime, but we also give a little bit of a look into what it feels like to go home after dealing with Los Angeles and all the craziness that exists there, and going home and being alone, you know, the loneliness. One thing that we’re exploring this year is Sammy and Tammi, and now they’re separated. Everybody knows Tammi is not the most dateable person. I think Sammy feels a big responsibility to his son, and when there’s a threat that may not be there, Tammi is trying to take the kid away. What will Sammy do to protect him? We’ve seen how far he’ll go in his police work, but how far will he go when it comes to his own kid.

Q: Southland was famously canceled by NBC years back, and then got picked up by TNT. How has that affected the show and the types of subjects you’ve been able to tackle due to the fact that you’re on cable? - Uinterview

Well, there really is no comparison, I think. NBC's decision to cancel us — there were many factors but mainly the one was that we were going to have to be on at 9 p.m., and this show was always a 10 p.m. show. That was our time slot. That second season, when we ended, the show that we had always intended was a fairly dark show, and that was not a problem for TNT, it’s cable. Where it has affected us is that our cast has dwindled down, we had like eight regulars before, and now we have four. But the result is, I think the show is a little bit more leaner and now focuses on these four characters. But to me, and I think most people would agree, it’s a better show. It’s tight and now in our fifth year. I am more confident than I’ve ever been and I think the show knows exactly what it is. We’re not looking to define ourselves, I think it has been defined pretty clearly. It’s a confident show. It’s a very good show.

Q: You’ve filmed in a lot of gritty L.A neighborhoods. Have you had any rough experiences while doing that? - Uinterview

Yeah, that’s what makes it fun. First of all, the style of shooting, we have a very loose camera style and that’s the right design, because we’re shooting in so many locations in one day that we really can only be there for a short amount of time. We have to be prepared, so the look is designed to feel loose, but it’s also because we have to do it, be that way. But yeah, we’ll go to be in a different neighborhood. If we’re shooting outside of a house where a gangbanger lives, and we see people that live in that neighborhood poking their heads out, or joining us, we don’t make them go away, we embrace it. As you can imagine in Los Angeles, there are a ton of crazy things. Just the other day, for the first time the L.A.P.D. let us shoot at the Central Division, which is an enormous police station in downtown L.A. We were there shooting a scene and all of sudden they were like, “OK, clear back! Clear back! They’re bringing somebody in!” So we had to move someone back, while they brought somebody in who was in handcuffs, and just wasted, but he was spitting everywhere, he was so angry and upset, he was spitting all over the walls, screaming, it was pretty disgusting.

Q: Being an actor in LA, there are probably a lot of neighborhoods you’ve never been to before. Was that an eye opening experience for you? - Uinterview

It is, but now I feel like I’ve been to every neighborhood. The cops know the streets the most, especially in their division of their district. We kind of take a lot of liberties, we go all over the place. Supposedly, we’re at a gang division, but we’re in Hollywood, of course. But I certainly know the streets better than I did five years ago, I know a lot of neighborhood stuff. I know a lot of great restaurants.

Q: How is your relationship with Ben McKenzie. How do you guys work together as actors? - Uinterview

This show is interesting because there are four of us, but I only work with Ben. I think I’ve been in one scene with Michael Cudiltz, and maybe like two or three times before in a scene with Regina [King], and that’s pretty crazy since we’ve been around for 40 episodes. Ben and I have now done 12-13 episodes together, and we’ve become very close. It’s fun, man, we’re out there on the streets, and there’s not a lot of time to sit around and sit in our chairs and drink lattes. It’s a pretty tight show and we’re on our feet a lot. It’s good, we have pretty good times. The other day he scratched my face in a scene, it couldn’t have been placed more perfectly right on the center of my nose. I have the scab. I look like Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. It was because he didn’t cut his fingernails. So, we have this ongoing joke where I tell him his nails are too long. But we’ve spent so much time together that this is the type of thing we have with each another. My nose is still bloody that you can’t even fucking cover it for all the other rest of the episodes to shoot. He then did a scene with an actor, who came in and had a stunt to do, and the guy scratched his face, and he was complaining about it, he was like, “You don’t scratch the main character’s face. You don’t just do that!” And I looked at him with my big red nose and was like, 'Yeah!'

Q: How did you grow up and get into acting? - Uinterview

Well, I grew up in Maryland, in a small town. I started acting when I was in sixth grade. I just wanted to try it, and my parents were supportive. They let me audition, and took me to play practices and rehearsals that I was involved in. I was one of those kids who did commercials when I was I don’t know, 13, 14. By that time I graduated high school, I had a number of credits and had done a ton of theater. Just local theater and high school theater. But when I graduated high school, I immediately knew that that was what I was going to do. I auditioned for a show called Homicide, that’s shot in Maryland. I did a part of that. Basically with those two credits, I moved to New York and pretty much started working as soon as I got there. But it’s not a typical story. It’s been pretty consistent.