By Samantha Highfill
February 13, 2013 at 07:57 PM EST
Doug Hyun/TNT
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  • TV Show
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For those of you who don’t know what Southland is, it’s an expertly executed TNT drama about cops in L.A. starring the likes of Michael Cudlitz, Shawn Hatosy, Regina King, and Ben McKenzie. The show presents a sometimes shockingly realistic portrayal of being a cop in the perhaps not-so-appropriately named City of Angels. From the in-your-face camera angles to the inner demons of the characters themselves, Southland is known for being gritty and dramatic, and the fifth season opener is no different.

But just in case the stories — and Ben’s arm muscles — aren’t convincing you to tune in, here are my top five reasons why you should catch tonight’s show:

Cooper is back in all of his wonderful, complicated glory: The John Cooper that you fell in love with in season 1 is back. With a new boot to push around, he’s as snarky as ever. And with a new man in his life, he’s as complex and as secretive as ever.

Babypalooza: Nothing complicates a show quite like babies, and now that Sammy and Lydia are both new parents, things are going to get, well, complicated.

Tammi is still crazy: We thought that we had gotten rid of Tammi for good before she told Sammy about her pregnancy, and now, Sammy’s ex is also his baby mama. She is, as always, up to something, and we hate her. But more than anything, we love to hate her.

Chad Michael Murray’s not-so-great influence: Ben Sherman was already headed down a slippery slope last season, and thanks to Chad Michael Murray’s Dave Mendoza, Ben’s downfall doesn’t look like it’s going to turn around anytime soon. Hint: There are strippers involved.

Ben and Sammy’s growing partnership: After the chaotic and polarizing events of last season, these two have really settled into being partners, which means that they know way too much about each other, and that leads to the tension, occasional bursts of anger, and genuinely touching moments of friendship that keep us watching.

The fifth season of Southland premieres on TNT tonight at 10/9c. Maybe I’ll see you there.

Read more:

‘Southland’: ‘Major Dad’ will play … — EXCLUSIVE

Ken Tucker’s Top 20 TV shows of 2012: Here are the second ten, from ‘Parenthood’ to ‘Bent’

TNT announces return dates for ‘Dallas,’ ‘Southland,’ more

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  • In Season
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