NBC's new cop drama Southland features a gay cop.

Training Officer John Cooper (played by Michael Cudlitz) is not the effete character of yesteryear but a tough guy who pockets a big gun and happens to be gay.

Thursday's premiere episode revolved around rookie cop Ben Sherman (played by Ben McKenzie), a rich kid with a star-lawyer dad whose initiation into the Los Angeles force proves rocky at first. (But, lucky for us, Sherman looks good in those police blues and decides to stick around.)

The ER replacement is not about crime solving per se; it could be described as an intimate portrait of the men and women that fight crime everyday.

“What we're trying to do is different,” McKenzie told Entertainment Weekly. “It's not so much about the resolution of the crime. Who gets punished or doesn't, who goes to jail or not, but about the people who are working on it, the people that are first responders to it, the patrol officers in particular. How are their lives affected by seeing it, by being involved with it, by being involved with the crime. How does it affect them emotionally, on the job and off the job.”

It's Sherman's mentor, Training Officer Cooper, a rugged seasoned cop that turns out to be gay. We first gleam a bit of the gay in the show's premiere episode when the sharp-tongued cop turns to a gay bar after a hard day on the beat to unwind.

“He is a gay police officer,” executive producer John Wells tells EW, “[but] certainly at the LAPD that's not an extraordinary event. It will simply be a fact of his life.”