In Pursuit, on Wheels and on Foot

When it comes to current series, perhaps the most often mentioned is TNT’s Los Angeles beat-cops-and-detectives drama, “Southland,” which began its fifth season this month. Civilians may not be able to gauge the show’s verisimilitude with any certainty, but television watchers can attest that it feels more real than any other cop series at the moment.

This is partly a matter of technique — an expert melding of hand-held camera work and jittery editing to achieve a restless immediacy — and partly a matter of writing. Under the supervision of the executive producers Christopher Chulack and John Wells (who worked together on another show cops profess to like, “Third Watch”), the dialogue is mostly plain-spoken, and the story lines, which give the patrol officers equal time with the detectives, have a carefully constructed appearance of everyday randomness.

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