By Rachel Yang
August 02, 2020 at 11:00 AM EDT
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With many audiences reevaluating the messages of cop shows lately, given the widespread protests against police brutality, actor Ben McKenzie says Southland will stand the test of time.

For one, he says, the drama series never glorified law enforcement.

"It's interesting now with everything going on, people are seeing cop shows in a different light," he says on the latest episode of PeopleTV's Couch Surfing. "But Southland I think will still hold up… It did not deal in easy answers of 'The cops are always right. The cops are always the heroes.' It was not that simple."

McKenzie, who starred as Officer Ben Sherman in the 2009-2013 series, says the show tried to keep its portrayal as raw as possible. They shot on the streets of Los Angeles and did their own stunts, which McKenzie says were filmed very loosely.

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In one fight scene between him and costar Shawn Hatosy, for instance, McKenzie says director and executive producer Chris Chulack only told the actors to plan the first move and keep the fight going however they wanted.

"[He] said basically, 'You guys do the thing, and then let's work on the first move, and the after the first move — which I guess is the punch by Shawn —you're just going to roll with it,'" McKenzie tells host Lola Ogunnaike. "You're just going to figure it out. Don't hit each other in the face, but just grapple with each other.' So that's what I did."

As for Southland's legacy, McKenzie says he hopes future cop shows will take a page from the series.

"I'm proud of what Southland did," he says. "And I certainly hope people will reference it somewhat in the future."

Related content:

Southland

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