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'Southland' behind the scenes: On the street with Ben McKenzie, Michael Cudlitz, and more! -- VIDEO

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Ben McKenzie

If there’s one thing you  need when following the cast of Southland around the sprawling landscape of Los Angeles for two days (err, besides a pair of soundproof headphones to block out the gunshots), it’s a collapsible chair. Once the cast arrives at the Chinatown base camp in the morning to read their daily call sheet, there’s really no telling what brand of insanity the day will bring. Invading an ob/gyn office full of pregnant extras in Boyle Heights? Sounds like Thursday. Heading down to South Central to chase fake criminals down a very real (and dangerous after dark) section of Compton? Just another Friday for star Benjamin McKenzie.

EW was on the scene (er…many scenes) with McKenzie, Shawn Hatosy, Michael Cudlitz, and new addition Lucy Liu for a wild two days of shooting TNT’s authentic drama. Watch below to find out who in the cast is the best shot, and hear the stars tease what’s yet to come over the deafening roar of gunshots. MILD SPOILERS AHEAD!

The scenes above will air later in the season, but EW was also able to screen tonight’s can’t-miss episode, “Legacy,” which sets the stage for a lot of the action we saw being shot. Get ready for some nearly-nude Hatosy as Sherman and Bryant have an old-school prank-off that rivals anything you’ve seen from the Jersey Shore cast. (“We work very closely with the people at Jersey Shore to dovetail our plot lines as often as possible,” quipped McKenzie.)

But underneath the silliness, there’s some serious trouble brewing: Bryant learns a hard lesson when his reluctant witness takes a bullet, and Adams (Regina King) faces a murder case that hits very close to home. Still, the real shocker comes when the mostly-closeted Cooper (Cudlitz) has to talk a suicidal gay teen off the ledge — and what he says, on the day of his 20th anniversary with the force, reveals much about this private character that had previously been deeply hidden.

Southland airs tonight at 10 p.m. E.T.

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