Pilot Review: Shades of Blue

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Liotta and Lopez struggle with right and wrong on Shades of Blue. (c) NBC 2016

Premiering Tuesday, August 2 at 8.30pm on Universal Channel is a brand new police crime series that sees all-rounder Jennifer Lopez go toe-to-toe with screen veteran Ray Liotta.  Titled Shades of Blue, the series delves into the corruptness within a Brooklyn police department led by Liotta’s Lieutenant Matt Wozniak.

What starts out as a cover up involving a skittish rookie with a touchy trigger finger and a drug dealer playing video games quickly evolves into an all-out undercover operation involving Lopez’s cash strapped Harlee Santos against her tight-knit crew of officers.

Harlee must find the line between protecting those she works with, her own family and giving the FBI what they need.  It’s not an easy task for Harlee as Wozniak is quick on the mark to note a mole within his crew.

As a whole, Shades of Blue doesn’t really bring anything new to the police procedurals that have flooded our screens over the years involving crooked cops but there is enough twisty plot moments within the first handful of episodes that actually keep the show slightly riveting.  Especially with the question of how much information on her crew Harlee keeps to herself and how much she hands out to the FBI while Wozniak is on the hunt for the mole in his crew.  Sadly though, once you’re past episode three, the series begins to stray away from its main story and offer up filler weekly cases and a somewhat unnecessary look into Harlee’s home life and her unruly teenage daughter.

Liotta, playing crooked cop dedicated to his team, is in his element here.  He tears through every scene he appears in, ready to lay some smack down and dole out some tough talking. While it works for Liotta, he is easily outshone by star Lopez…but not in a good way.

The ‘real’ problem with Shades of Blue is in fact Lopez herself.  It’s not that she is a bad actress or over-acts or anything like that because actually Lopez does hold her own against Liotta and fast talking Drea de Matteo (as officer Tess Nazario).  It’s that..well…it’s Jennifer Lopez.  Curves in all the right places, her perfectly tousled bob flowing effortlessly in the breeze as she totes her gun and flashes her badge in gritty and grungy NYC.  If anything, Lopez is basically one big distraction through no real fault of her own.

You’ll like it if: You enjoy serialized cop dramas with a gritty feel and some interesting plot twists.

You’ll hate it if: You enjoy heavily fleshed out police/crime dramas that delve deeply into character development while maintaining a steady pace to the main story line.

Shades of Blue begins  Tuesday, August 2 at 8.30pm on Universal Channel .

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