Southland returns for a fourth season Tuesday on cabler TNT.

Southland, which stars Michael Cudlitz, Benjamin McKenzie, Regina King and Shawn Hatosy, originally premiered on NBC, but the network axed the series right before the start of its second season, prompting TNT to pick up the Los Angeles-based crime drama.

Cudlitz's tough-as-nails characters of training officer John Cooper has broken new ground in series television, yet his sexuality has been mostly overlooked throughout the show's first three seasons.

Producers haven't ruminated much on Cooper's sexuality, opting instead to focus on his fall from grace at the hands of an addiction to pain killers. In fact, so little time had been devoted to Cooper's personal life that many fans of the show were surprised last season to see him stumble out of the bed he shares with boyfriend Caesar.

But Caesar didn't just appear in Cooper's bed; the pair shared an intimate moment under a cascade of Memorial Day fireworks at the end of season one.

Last we saw of Cooper he had entered a clinic for treatment.

Cudlitz has said that he considers his character's sexuality a reflection of his humanity.

“If I play this character honestly, and he's looking for all the things that most humans are looking for, which is human connection and to find love and to be happy, then I think that I am, by extension, doing the right thing for the gay community,” he told the Boston Herald last year.