In Shades Of Blue, the audience will have a hard time deciding who to root for – the corrupt cops who keep drugs away from schools or the honest ones trying to nab them for accepting dirty money.
Harlee Santos (Jennifer Lopez) is one of the corrupt. Along with her trusty boss Matt Wozniak (Ray Liotta) and teammates, Harlee agrees to do some dirty police work in exchange for cash. As a single mother living and working in New York City, it seems like the best way to keep paying for her daughter’s private school education.
Everything changes from the moment Harlee accepts a bag of money from a bookie. She hears police sirens closing in and, in a bid to protect herself, she tries to arrest the bookie and accuses the guy of bribery.
It turns out the bookie is part of an FBI investigation team led by Robert Stahl (Warren Kole). He tells Harlee to cooperate with the FBI to gather enough evidence to charge Matt for corruption, or it’s Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200 and Go Directly To Jail for her.
Harlee reluctantly agrees although she knows that it will be dangerous to go against her boss with his unpredictable mood swings. Matt eventually finds out that he has a mole in his team and will stop at nothing to expose this person. His first suspect? Harlee, because he figures that she has the most to lose at this point in her life.
Now this is where the show becomes exciting – just how far will Harlee go to keep her boss from finding out that she’s working for the FBI? In one episode, we see Harlee scalding her arm just to botch a lie detector test with Matt. In another episode, she goes through his papers. When he finds out, Harlee says she’s just making some copies from his archives for Assistant District Attorney James Nava (Gino Anthony Pesi).
Then Matt goes to see James with the papers he thought the ADA needed, and guess what … James says he has no idea what Matt is talking about. In one of the show’s most tense moments, Matt meets Harlee at a pier and points a gun at her, saying that he doesn’t know who to trust anymore. Harlee proves that she’s not a mole by, uhh … taking off her clothes to show that she is not wearing a wire. He believes her, for the moment.
And just when you think you’ve got Harlee figured out, she plays the FBI by helping to cover Matt’s tracks. You see, Harlee owes him big time as he helped put her abusive ex-boyfriend in jail. The show does have a lot of intriguing reveals to keep the viewers on the hook.
However, Shades Of Blue does not do enough to keep the momentum going. After one exciting or nerve-wracking sequence, it drifts into the dramatic. We see Harlee struggling to keep up with her daughter, Matt haunted by his own child’s suicide …
Then there’s Harlee’s teammate Tess (Drea de Matteo), who is going after her husband’s young lover; and another colleague, Carlos (Vincent Laresca), who tries to make sure Tess doesn’t kill anyone. Did we mention that Harlee’s FBI handler Robert has quite the obsession with her? Oh, and Harlee also finds the time to be intimate with James – yes, the ADA from a while back, in case you lost track.
Gosh, people. No wonder there’s so much crime in the city. Then again, it could be Harlee’s way of trying to prevent James from looking into her ex-boyfriend’s appeal to be released from prison.
Are you still with me?
It also doesn’t help that the audience always seems to be brought in at the tail end of a crime in progress, such as Matt handing out dirty money to his teammates at a bar. The show doesn’t let us in on what transpired and how he got that cash.
Shades Of Blue is for you if you don’t mind that it has more drama than crime.
Hopefully, the pace will pick up and we will get more exciting action sequences. Plus, I’m sure there are many fans of Lopez who wouldn’t mind going … undercover with her.
Shades Of Blue airs every Tuesday at 9pm on Universal HD (HyppTV Ch 612).