It sure is fun to write about this kind of thing. Many thanks to all who read and put up with my strange ramblings. ;)
As we head into tomorrow's Grand Finale for Season 5 of "SouthLAnd" there are so many questions swirling about concerning Officer Ben and his ultimate fate. Here are some things that must be taken into consideration:
1. Does Ben McKenzie want to stay with the show?
2. If Ben McKenzie does want to stay with the show, is there any possible way his character can remain a cop?
3. Do the "SouthLAnd" creators/producers believe there is any sort of chance the show will be renewed?
4. What kind of mood do the creators/producers of the show want to leave us in at the end of tomorrow night's episode, regardless of whether or not they think "SouthLAnd" will be renewed?
Keeping these issues in mind, there are so many directions the story can take in regard to Officer Ben Sherman. Infinite directions... And if you don't believe me, then you don't have a wild and crazy imagination like I do. And you are fortunate.
Mr. McKenzie has stated that, if "SouthLAnd" is renewed, he wants to remain. I will take his word for it. There is no other option at this point. I am not a telepath, and I have not seen any evidence that Mr. McKenzie enjoys telling fibs. Of course, this may be purposeful misdirection. He may have been ordered to make this statement by the Big Wigs of the show. After all, if we all knew he was leaving, audience anticipation of the big finale would not be nearly so great, leading to a drop in ratings, which this particular show DOES NOT NEED. So, Mr. McKenzie and the "SouthLAnd" Big Wigs may be engaging in a bit of a Cold-War-style misinformation campaign. You know? Like when Oliver North said that Ronald Reagan really had no idea about that whole business with the arms and stuff. Or when JFK and his peeps reassured us all that the whole missile thing with Cuba was just an easily resolvable teeny tiny misunderstanding. Or when we were told that -- make no mistake about it -- Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. And I think Mr. McKenzie would be quite capable of doing this sort of thing in the service of the show. Why? Because Mr. McKenzie has all the attributes that would have made him an excellent spy during the Cold War. He is intelligent and clever and charming and faithful to what he believes in. He also gives the impression of being a rather quiet person (a.k.a. -- he seems to be able to Keep His Trap Shut when necessary). And he likes sports, appreciating the necessity of occasionally "taking one for the team."
So, maybe Mr. McKenzie is, in fact, leaving the show. If this is the case, whether Ben Sherman will be left alive or dead at the end of it all remains to be seen. I think it could go either way.
BUT, what if "SouthLAnd" is renewed and my Cold-War conspiracy theory is a bunch of hogwash and Mr. McKenzie stays? What then? Some seem to think that Ben Sherman could not possibly remain as a character after all the crap he has been up to. I disagree. I think there are still many possibilities for his development in the story.
Yes, Ben Sherman will probably not be staying in that cop outfit. (Which, in itself, is a tragedy. Sigh...) I think the only way Officer Ben can remain in uniform is if Sammy gives him a complete and utter pass, which -- I admit -- is doubtful. Why would Sammy let Ben off the hook after he finds out (which he probably will) that Ben is responsible for the break-in? Because Sammy himself would have to "fess up" to I.A. about his own lies in order to bring to light the things Officer Ben has done. Sammy may choose to keep his mouth shut. If this is the case, Sammy and Ben will, in all likelihood, not be "SammyandBen" any longer, but Ben could remain in uniform. Officer Ben will also, in order to remain a cop, have to avoid being "found out" for the other illegal things he has done -- such as murdering the pimp. And if he does manage to dodge all of these proverbial bullets, he will most likely do some other dumb-ass thing (he seems unable to help himself) which may prove to be his demise. It could be very interesting, story-wise, to let Ben Sherman remain an officer with the LAPD.
To me, though, the most likely scenario is that Officer Ben will be "taken down" somehow. Sammy is going to be in that chopper in tomorrow night's episode, and I really think he's going to be chasing his old buddy Officer Ben. Will he catch him? I don't know. It might be a cliffhanger.
But, if Officer Ben is arrested and if the show is renewed and if Ben McKenzie wants to remain with it, I think there could be a very compelling story-line involving the character of Ben Sherman. No longer Officer Ben, just Ben Sherman. Why do I believe this? Because Chris Chulak and at least one person with the last name of Whedon are involved. These people are interested in telling stories, not just about cops chasing bad guys, but about the human condition, about soul struggles. And there is no better story involving the struggle of a man as he grapples with himself than the story of Ben Sherman. I think it could be quite a ride.
I can't wait for tomorrow night. I'm hoping y'all will join me.