Shades of Blue Pilot Review

Shades of Blue Pilot Review

Every year, a host of new cop shows are introduced by various channels, but almost none are able to garner the response they desire. Therefore, it is very rare for a cop show to be engaging from the start and then actually get better as it moves forward. Hopefully, Shades of Blue is exactly this kind of gem; after all, it has in its leading role, the charismatic and powerful Jennifer Lopez. Playing the role of Harlee Santos, an NYPD detective, our girl has done something very bad, even if she doesn’t perceive it in this way. Nonetheless, the audience is left wondering if the sin is worth it.

It doesn’t take longer than five minutes for Shades of Blue to tip its hand; we see our protagonist, bruises and blood marking her beautiful face while she tapes a confession in a dark room stating her belief; the end will justify the means. However, unluckily for her, she isn’t able to justify it. Time for a flashback now. Two weeks earlier, our Harlee Santos is confidently strutting across the screen and seems to be a completely different person. She is cool and collected not to mention very knowledgeable about the sexual habits of flowers. How do we know that? On her way to a crime scene with her partner, Michael Loman (Dayo Okeniyi), she basically gives him a bio lesson.

It is probably going to take the entire season for the story to unfold; how this hot-shot cop Harlee became the shivering mess Harlee of present day that we saw in the episode’s beginning. After getting a tip about a drug crime, Loman and Harlee visit a seedy apartment and they hear shots fired just as they near it. Loman barges into the door with guns blazing and kills the would-be-attacker while Harlee sees an accomplice escaping from the window.

She turns to her partner and they both realize that the shots fired were on a video game and an innocent man has just been killed by Loman for playing his Nintendo too loudly. Loman is about to faint, but Harlee realizes that their tip was solid because there is a duffel bag containing heroin on the table. She acts quickly by putting a bullet in Loman and one in the door with the deceased’s gun to fabricate evidence that the dealer shot first. By the time backup arrives, Loman and Harlee are back to normal.

She takes Loman back to the station and they go over their story during the ride. Once she has dropped him off, she goes to her boxing coach for a sparring session, gets cleaned up and goes to her favorite hangout. She is not the least bit bothered with her day’s activities that included evidence tampering, wrongful killings and police misconduct. But, when she is leaving the bar, she meets Loman who is finding it a bit difficult to deal with the corruption. He wants to confess, but she tells him about her daughter Cristina (Sarah Jeffrey).

Harlee tells him that they are now family as he is her partner so he cannot put their daughter in danger. J. Lo truly shines in this moment and shows us she is still capable of delivering eloquent performances. She convinces herself and Loman that it wasn’t a ‘bad’ crime as the victim was a drug dealer anyway, but we all know that someone’s occupation doesn’t justify their murder. We see a very guilty picture in her ability of tampering with evidence and convincing her partner to lie. While Loman is feeling guilty and wants to confess, he doesn’t feel that bad to suffer from any consequences.

The next morning, Harlee has to meet with Internal Affairs, but meets first with Matt Wozniak (Ray Liotta) her lieutenant. They share a deep bond and history and she confesses to him that her financial woes are rising as she is unable to afford her daughter’s tuition. He assures her that he is working on something big and she won’t have to worry longer. That comforting thought gets her through the IA debrief and she and Loman are cleared of any wrongdoing. It doesn’t take long for the real Woz to step out.

He has an understanding with Raul Mendez, a gang leader who stays out of Woz district in exchange for the latter looking the other day. However, he broke his word as the suspect who escaped in the shooting was Earl Barlow (Robbie Tann) who worked for him. Woz reminds Mendez of their agreement by pouring human cremains on his face when they meet in front of a funeral home. Elsewhere, Harlee is making an illegal deal too. She is negotiating with a pot grower to pay up or she will bust him. Squad cars arrive as he hands her cash.

She tries to make it appear as a sting, which backfires because he is FBI and she has been stung. Special Agent Robert Stahl (Warren Kole) of the FBI Anti-Corruption Task Force uses Harlee’s weakness i.e. Cristina for convincing her to become a mole and report on her squad. Later, she and Woz get a tip about the window jumper and they find him. Since he is the only witness of Loman’s shooting, Woz delivers him to Mendez and he is dealt with for his betrayal. Harlee gets a check for $10,000 for her part in the cover up.

We also find that Woz is in touch with Donnie Pomp (Michael Esper) an Internal Affairs agent and they are colluding to keep the record clean. Woz is all about keeping Harlee safe. She attends a barbecue with her daughter at Woz’s place where he corners her in the garage. For a minute, Harlee believes he has found out about her deal with Stahl as he is taking about a rat on the team, breach of trust and betrayal. Harlee goes to withdraw her gun, but then Woz asks for her help to find the traitor and she agrees.

The premise is interesting for now and the plot thickens; Shades of Blue might just end up surprising you.

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