On February 5, 2016, NBC renewed Shades of Blue for a 13-episode second season, which premiered on March 5, 2017. On March 17, 2017, the series was renewed for a third and final season, which premiered on June 17, 2018.
"Shades of Blue" centers on Harlee Santos (Jennifer Lopez), a charismatic single mother and resourceful detective at the heart of a tight-knit crew of Brooklyn detectives, led by enigmatic Lieutenant Matt Wozniak (Ray Liotta), 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 (Warren Kole), 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.
In Season 2, Harlee navigates her fractured relationship with Wozniak, as she struggles to conceal her deepest secret: she killed her daughter's father. Following his discovery that Harlee collaborated with the FBI, Wozniak is confronted with a gut-wrenching dilemma of his own. The crew is under tight scrutiny from Stahl (Warren Kole) and the FBI as well as from Internal Affairs, in the form of a gregarious detective, Verco (guest star Dov Davidoff), who investigates the disappearance of one of their own.
Meanwhile, a former member of their crew, Julia Ayres (guest star Anna Gunn), runs for mayor and her complex relationship with Harlee and Wozniak comes to the fore. Neither Harlee nor Wozniak anticipates that Ayres' corrupt connections will trap them in a dangerous war with the Mafia.
- Main article: List of episodes
|Season||Episodes||Original airing (U.S. dates)|
|Season premiere||Season finale|
|1||13||January 7, 2016||March 31, 2016|
|2||13||March 5, 2017||May 21, 2017|
|3||10||June 17, 2018||August 19, 2018|
Cast and characters
The show has received mixed reviews despite praise for Lopez's performance. On Metacritic, Shades of Blue has a Metascore of 58/100, based on 28 critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the show is rated 56% based on 35 reviews, with an average rating of 5.6/10. The site's consensus reads "Solid performances by Jennifer Lopez and Ray Liotta fail to lift Shades of Blue above the ranks of the pedestrian network procedural".
Writing for USA Today, Robert Bianco gave the series two stars out of four, calling it "a thoroughly ordinary reworking of pretty much every crooked cop show and movie you've ever seen". Slate reviewer Willa Paskin criticized the show as "moderately terrible", though praised Lopez's performance as "hugely appealing" and called her "the show's one reliable pleasure". In a more positive review, Yahoo!'s Ken Tucker called Lopez's work "solid" and felt the series was "perhaps the best dramatic work she's done since her first-rate film, Out of Sight". Molly Eichel from The A.V. Club gave the series a C+ rating, saying that "While the plot starts out cut and dry, it becomes more twisty and turny in a way that will eventually bring the audience back to the opening scene of a makeup-less, de-glammed Santos confessing her sins into a camera". Matt Zoller Seitz of Vulture wrote that "Shades of Blue isn't a deep show, but it's a sensationally effective one. It knows what it is (a compacted, melodramatic, commercial TV-friendly gloss on one of those '70s and '80s Sidney Lumet police-corruption thrillers) and it rarely steps wrong."