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Shades of Blue

Crime . Drama
 

Harlee Santos is a charismatic single mother and resourceful detective at the heart of a tight-knit crew of Brooklyn detectives, led by enigmatic Lieutenant Matt Wozniak, who often leads the team to step outside the limitations of the law in order to effectively protect their precinct and their own.As a big illegal job looms on the horizon, the FBI catches Harlee in the act and pits her against her own unit. As a newly turned informant, she struggles to safeguard her on-the-job family and avoid arrest in order to stay with her daughter. Harlee engages in a perilous dance with her FBI handler, Special Agent Stahl, who develops an unhealthy obsession with her. Meanwhile, Wozniak, acting as the unit's patriarch, begins an all-consuming hunt for the informant. Pressure mounts as the crew struggles to perform their brand of street justice under FBI watch.

 
Status: Running
TV Channel: NBC
  • Verne Gay

    Get past the tough-to-buy setup of the premiere, and Shades improves. The star? Initially tough to buy, too, but also improves.

    Newsday Full Review
  • Matt Zoller Seitz

    The whole cast is pretty much perfect for the story Shades of Blue is trying to tell. Lopez makes a fine lead--she's tough and unsentimental here, and even though they've made her look gorgeous, you don't necessarily think of her as a glamorous character. But it's Liotta's show.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Tirdad Derakhshani

    It is hardly as revolutionary as ABC's extraordinary American Crime, which upends the crime-show genre entirely. But the terrific writing and wonderful performances in Shades make it one of the year's most promising new dramas.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Vicki Hyman

    Yes, this is "The Shield," with more gloss and less shock, and the story starts to strain as Harlee's FBI handler Warren Kole (Robert Stahl) shows an unhealthy interest in his undercover agent and the series worryingly starts to veer into "Enough"/"The Boy Next Door" territory. But the increasingly fraught dance between Harlee and Wozniak is absorbing and even occasionally nail-biting, and certainly reason enough to give Shades a shot.

    Newark Star-Ledger Full Review
  • Mark A. Perigard

    The worse things get--and they get very bad--Lopez gets much better, withdrawing into herself, growing ever more still, as her character must spin lie after lie to stay ahead, to stay alive. Academy Award-winner Barry Levinson directed the first two episodes, and they are unusually taut. De Matteo makes a welcome return to series TV, but her character’s escalating marital woes seem a distraction.

    Boston Herald Full Review
  • Jeff Korbelik

    Shades is not stellar--it’s a little over the top in playing up the conflict--it has some grit to it. If anything, it’s kind of fun seeing Lopez kick some butt and take no prisoners.

    The Lincoln Journal Star Full Review
  • David Wiegand

    There’s little doubt that Shades of Blue would not stand out from the other TV cop shows were it not for Lopez. She’s so good, you can’t help wishing someone would write her a better show.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Kevin Fallon

    You begin to accept, even adore, these wooden aspects of the show as a litany of twists begin entering at whiplash pace.... [Lopez] and the rest of the show’s creative team make you care about what happens to Harlee while still making you feel like she’s in real danger.

    The Daily Beast Full Review
  • Hank Stuever

    Shades of Blue certainly isn’t shy about hauling out some of the tropiest tropes about cops who find themselves wearing a wire. Still, there’s something compelling and worth watching here--mainly Lopez’s enthusiastic and determined performance. Liotta also has a lot left to give.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Neil Genzlinger

    It has the occasional police chase, shooting and so on, because even dirty cops have to enforce the law now and again. But it’s about gray-area choices, not about catching perps. Ms. Lopez and Mr. Liotta pair well, and the early episodes certainly have a pulse. The key will be how long the conceit holds up.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Ben Travers

    Sometimes it slips into episodic trappings inherent in most cop shows, but it mostly sticks to the mission at hand as it slowly unravels its leading lady.

    Indiewire Full Review
  • Melissa Maerz

    The ensemble cast outshines the material, especially with Liotta, Drea de Matteo (The Sopranos), and Vincent Laresca (Graceland) playing Lopez’s buddies in blue.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Alan Sepinwall

    Created by Adi Hasak, with the first two episodes directed by Barry Levinson (whose previous NBC cop show, "Homicide," helped inspire the likes of "The Wire" and "The Shield"), is competent but uninspired, and often more concerned with flattering its glamorous star than telling the best possible version of this story.

    Hitfix Full Review
  • Robert Rorke

    The scenes between Liotta and Lopez provide a two-fold tension, as you can see Harlee become unhinged and Lopez quiver in the company of a more talented performer.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Ken Tucker

    Throughout everything, Lopez gives a solid performance — perhaps the best dramatic work she’s done since her first-rate film, Out of Sight (1998). Liotta is excellent as well.... But Shades of Blue’s biggeset problem is this: beyond Lopez and Liotta, the rest of the cops are bland clichés (de Matteo’s marital-woes subplot is particularly trite), and as the series proceeds, Harlee’s efforts to keep her FBI-informant status a secret from her co-workers becomes very strained.

    Yahoo TV Full Review
  • Brian Lowry

    Shades of Blue is reasonably compelling by that measure [helping lure viewers into the program’s serialized plot], and clips along smartly enough (eight episodes were made available) that the show should inspire some return business if it can generate the requisite sampling. Nevertheless, it’s too bad Blue couldn’t bring at least a few new, more colorful hues to a crime drama that paints, ultimately, with a rather familiar palette.

    Variety Full Review
  • Ed Bark

    Just OK, even with the first two episodes directed by the still esteemed Barry Levinson (Rain Man, Diner). This is a series that tends too often tends to drag rather than pull viewers along.

    Uncle Barky Full Review
  • Molly Eichel

    Shades Of Blue doesn’t have the same balls that The Shield did by making the central figure a person who could do truly reprehensible things, yet still dare you to like him. But it’s not a slog to watch thanks to Lopez and Liotta.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Mary McNamara

    Lopez does a decent enough job--on top of the single-mom angle, Harlee also has a traumatic back story--but it's Liotta who will make or break Shades of Blue.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Robert Bianco

    [Lopez] lights up the screen and almost manages to carry this show over its repetitive plot hurdles. But almost is not enough.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Scott D. Pierce

    It's not a bad entry in the genre, although it's hardly ground-breaking. It's a twist on the genre, but not enough of a twist. It feels like umpteen other cop shows.

    The Salt Lake Tribune Full Review
  • Chris Cabin

    Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that Shades of Blue has no shading in character or story, and is more interested in reiterating transposed views of family values than dealing with the tough and often very ugly subject matter it purports to confront.

    Collider Full Review
  • Josh Bell

    These cops are not even particularly good at corruption, with Harlee and her colleagues frequently making up clumsy lies that instantly fall apart, in order to cover their tracks from previous, flimsy fabrications. The subplots about the other detectives in the unit (aside from Harlee and Woz) are especially thin, and anything about the characters’ personal lives is a tedious waste of time.

    Las Vegas Weekly Full Review
  • Matthew Gilbert

    Shades of Blue moves at a brisk pace, like “Scandal” and “How to Get Away With Murder,” so that you don’t have time to think through the details. And the script is filled with bits of wit that, like ad slogans, fly by and entertain even when they’re not particularly fitting or informative.... But as the serialized plot thickens and the characters become inconsistent, the show’s flaws become unavoidable and its excesses absurd.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Brian Tallerico

    If there’s any reason to watch Shades of Blue, it’s the vulnerable, effective work by Lopez, balanced by the gritty, blue-collar characterization by Liotta. They’re both great. It’s just the rest of the show that lets them down.

    RogerEbert.com Full Review
  • Don Kaplan

    It all feels very been-there-done that and likely would have been much better had it been a gutsy, raw, warts and all cable show.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Dan Fienberg

    Shades of Blue is a reminder of what a strong screen presence Lopez has really always been ... but also what a fine actress she can be, shifting between strength and vulnerability with ease. The downside is that Shades of Blue is, as a whole, not a very good show.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    There are moments when Shades of Blue feels like more than the sum of its recycled parts but then there's a manipulative, tension-filled scene that tacks in just the direction a savvy viewer could predict.

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Willa Paskin

    Shades of Blue is a wannabe edgy cop show, starring a leading lady who avoids edge, airing on a network with an aversion to edge. Still, it keeps trying.

    Slate Full Review
  • Mitchel Broussard

    It’s too repetitive and lackadaisical in dealing with the premise’s been-there-done-that feel (if it ever does), and dips into dark drama are misfires nearly across the board.

    We Got This Covered Full Review

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Episode Guide For Show: Shades of Blue
1