Detective Harlee Grace Santos is a police officer working in the New York City Police Department's 64th precinct in Brooklyn and FBI informant. She works under Lieutenant Matt Wozniak. She is also the single mother to Cristina Santos. She is portrayed in the show by Jennifer Lopez.


In her early years before becoming a cop, she with Miguel Zepeda, an abusive boyfriend, for 2 years, until he got sent up for auto theft. After his release from prison in 2005, she framed him for the murder of a 19-year old runaway girl named Rita Martin. This was the first step down a slippery slope. Wozniak figured it out and helped her cover up the case. This forged the initial bond between them and the basis of a fierce loyalty that in part, had her justifying the corruption within their unit, which was under his command.

Ten years later, while carrying out a meet with a bookie called Haim on Wozniak's orders, she was arrested by the FBI for taking a bribe. Later, it was revealed that the FBI had her entire team under surveillance and was going after Wozniak and his crew. She is leveraged into becoming a criminal informant for the FBI in exchange for immunity from prosecution for the sake of her daughter. Special Agent Robert Stahl, an FBI profiler with an unhealthy interest in her, is her handler.

Personality and Traits

Harlee Santos, is a tough, street-smart, fierce woman. Her talent for rolling with the punches and lying her way out of any situation is evident from the first episodes. She manages to convince Detective Loman into signing on to the statement that they had done nothing wrong in the shooting of Jamarr Malcolm.

She has an extremely strong will that she maintains her cover as a double-agent so proficiently. She is also very deceptive and stays focused in critical situations. She is an expert in the polygraph test and knows how to beat it. She is also quite fit for a cop as she is known to catch the bad guys on foot couple of times.


Harlee projects a woman in touch with herself and sexuality, as shown in the sexy wrestling she does with her boxing instructor. She is strong, independent and fierce.

Her relationship with her ex-boyfriend Miguel Zepeda is a disturbing one. She completely despises him and does not want him to get close to her daughter. She is solely responsible for framing him for the murder that he is serving the sentence for.

Her daughter Christina Santos means the world to her. She agrees to work as a double-agent for FBI mainly to keep her daughter safe. She swings between badass and concerned mother. Christina is her one pressure point.

Her romantic connection with James Nava had its roots in an attempt to influence the way he treated the reopening of Miguel's case, but gradually becomes something more. He becomes an island of calm in the storm of her life. She seems always wistful in the moments she spends with him. Knowing that if he knew all of her, the look in his eyes would not last.

Her relationship with FBI handler Robert Stahl is fraught with sexual tension because of his attraction and obsession with her. At the same time the air sizzles between them, she hates him for trapping her into having to betray those she cares for. His obsession with her is not soft, nor is it necessarily kind.

Her Lieutenant, Wozniak is her boss, mentor, savior and substitute father figure. She is fiercely loyal to him which is why is rips at her to be cast as a rat, an informant in their unit. Her talent for lying and manipulation was carefully cultivated by him. He considers her another daughter, dearer to him because he lost his own to suicide.