The song that is played over the show's opening credits during Seasons 1 and 2 is a brief selection from "Canção do Mar" ("Song of the Sea"), by Portuguese singer songwriter Dulce Pontes. The piece was also used in the movie Primal Fear (1996), which was co-written by "Southland" creator Ann Biderman. A version recorded by British singer Sarah Brightman under the title "Harem" was a crossover hit for Brightman in 2003.
The LAPD badges worn by the characters have "LOS ANGELES" on the upper banner (above the image of L.A. City Hall) and the wearer's rank on the lower banner. This is the opposite of the design of actual LAPD badges, to avoid having a prop badge used to impersonate a real police officer.
"Southland" premiered on NBC as the Thursday night, mid-season replacement for ER (1994), which had ended its long run in the spring of 2009. A critical success, "Southland" was picked up by NBC for the 2009-2010 season. Also in 2009, NBC's agreement with The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (1992) host Jay Leno ended and his 11:35 pm time slot was given to Conan O'Brien, a clause that was a part of O'Brien's contract with the network. In a move to keep O'Brien and Leno, NBC created a new, nightly variety show at 10:00 pm for Leno, resulting in "Southland" losing its Thursday slot. Although "Southland" was tentatively moved to Saturday night at 10:00 pm and was to premiere in October of 2009, NBC canceled the show before it aired. TNT promptly picked it up and made it a part of its lineup of original programming.
The character played by Victor Alfieri, Victor Cifuentes, shares a name with Jimmy Smits' character from L.A. Law (1986) (although Smits' character's last name was spelled slightly differently, they are pronounced the same way).
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Shortly after the show's cancellation, Michael Cudlitz revealed in an interview that John Cooper in fact does not die at the shooting that closes the series, and if the show had got a sixth season, the opening shot would have been John at the hospital.
The character of Officer John Cooper (Michael Cudlitz) was established as gay in the very first episode, but in such a subtle way that some viewers did not catch it or maintained that he was straight until season 2, when Cooper told Ben that he frequented gay bars.