At First Glance: “Shades of Blue”

You can’t escape the cop drama. Like the perpetrators on the cop dramas, there’s always another police procedural that manages to entrap you like a common thief. A bit much there? Well, so are all these cop shows.

The upcoming NBCUniversal Television series “Shades of Blue”, seems to have a lot of compelling drama and potentially interesting characters, but most everything else is what we’ve seen before in some form or another.

This police drama stars Jennifer Lopez (“Lila & Eve”, “The Boy Next Door”), Ray Liota (“Texas Rising”, “Kill the Messenger”), Drea de Mateo (“Dark Places”, “Sex, Death and Bowling”), Warren Kole (“Stalker”, “White Collar”), Dayo Okeniyi (“Terminator Genisys”, “Endless Love”), Vincent Laresca (“Hot Pursuit”, “Better Call Saul”), and Sarah Jeffery (“Rogue”, “Descendants”).

The series was created by Adi Hasak (“3 Days to Kill”, “From Paris with Love”).

The series is set to debut on Jan. 7, 2016 on NBC.
I think I missed the news on this. Somehow it didn’t seem all that important or worth my time in any fashion. Yes, Lopez is Lopez, which is also weird to write, but that doesn’t really mean a whole lot. Her track record, in general, is really a toss up. Her name recognition, along with that of Liota and De Mateo, is only going to get NBC so far. As of right now, I’m not any more convinced.

It’s a police procedural. That fact no one can argue. However, the thing that’s trying to set itself apart is that it’s about a corrupt cop, working for the good guys (FBI) to take down at least one other corrupt cop. Where haven’t we seen that before? Nowhere, you say? You’d pretty much be right. That’s really my sole question I have. What new approach can be taken with this show?

It’s a drama. Okay. I see that. I do believe, based on the little we got, this is going to have a lot of dramatic moments. Personal moments for Lopez’s character, that don’t merely stem from her work as an informant and cop. She’s a mother, so there’s the drama that, but also the added drama of what she has to do to survive and provide for her kid. Plenty can be done there, but at the same time, we’re probably going to be stuck with the usual. Then there’s the obvious drama that comes from Lopez being friends with Liota for a long time. So, seemingly, there’s a lot being offered. I see it as wanting to be interesting, but I feel it’s mostly a bunch of intrigue. Once you see what’s really there, you’ll discovered you’ve been misled.

Another area that could be a major letdown, at least with Lopez and Liota, the two big reasons you’d be watching, is that their characters aren’t all that you hoped for. By the time the trailer ended, I was pretty much set on the idea that this series has some compelling characters. However, this could also be because they’re both immoral characters, to one degree or another. If this is the case, then I don’t feel that I’ll be convinced this show is worth it in any capacity. This is definitely the reason why pilots exist, and are shot in some amount, before a series is ordered. Of late we’ve had a few shows that have each been given an immediate series order, but failed in a lot of ways to live up to the expectations. So they were rightly cancelled. This series could just be another example of this. I’m not fully hoping this show will fail, but I’m not expecting a lot of things from it.

I changed my mind, sort of. I went back to see if I missed anything in the trailer, and I didn’t. There are so many scenes that play out in the most annoying and obvious ways, that I know how they’re going to end or what outcome they’ll be when seen in context. This now gives me even less hope than I had before, which I didn’t think was possible. Everything is set up that I’m now wondering how this is going to be a series let alone a one season anything. It’s definitely looking like I won’t be watching beyond the pilot, if I even force myself to watch that.

Just because you have big name stars, or sort of big name stars, doesn’t mean a particular series is a good idea. When you’re another cop show, trying to be different, you’d better make sure what’s being offered isn’t just an extended episode from another cop show. At least with Lifetime’s “Against the Wall” we got a family of cops as its center piece, and a cop from this family joining the Internal Affairs division. That was interesting and different enough. Sadly it didn’t last, but at least she wasn’t just part of a squad that solved your typical case of the week. I honestly have no idea how this new cop drama will fare. It’s a toss up I can’t even pretend to call.


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