Spoiler alert: Do not read this story if you have not seen Tuesday night's episode of "Southland."
Blame the pain that "Southland" inflicted on you Tuesday night on the vampires, America.
When the lovable Nate Moretta died quickly and shockingly from a blow to the head with a metal pipe, "Southland" viewers immediately took to the show's Facebook page and Twitter to express grief and outrage. That a police officer would eventually lose his or her life on this gritty and realistic Los Angeles police drama was inevitable, but why the cool-headed, sexy young father and best friend to his unhinged partner, Sammy Bryant (Shawn Hatosy)?
"Not Nate!" the Internet wailed in unison.
But, sadly, it had to be Nate. And the behind-the-scenes story probably won't make you feel better about losing him.
Kevin Alejandro, who played Nate, took on a role on "True Blood" when it was unclear if "Southland" would find a new home after NBC canceled it. Then TNT bought "Southland," and although both series tried to work out their schedules so that Alejandro could be a fine cop on "Southland" and a hot gay witch on "True Blood," it proved impossible.
"We were in the dark and I was freaking out about what was happening with 'Southland,'" Alejandro said in a telephone interview Wednesday morning. "And during that time, I was offered a regular role on 'True Blood' and I talked to ['Southland' executive producers] Chris Chulack and John Wells, and all of us were in the dark, and they were very, very good and understood that I have a family. We all agreed to let me out to try to pursue that, just to see what was better for my career. They genuinely showed that they cared about me. And then shortly after I signed on with 'True Blood,' the show was picked up for another season and so we struggled and struggled to try to get the schedules to work. It was just too much conflict."
The schedules aligned enough so that Alejandro could appear in the first four episodes of this season. So the writers got to work on developing Nate and Sammy's partnership and friendship so that the viewers would feel the impact of Nate's loss even more. Like many of the stories on "Southland," Nate's death was born out of a true Los Angeles incident in which a police officer died during a routine stop at the end of his shift.