NBC plans to kick off 2016 with high ratings, launching Jennifer Lopez's new police drama Shades of Blue ahead of inevitable Thursday competitors like ABC's How to Get Away With Murder. The series debuts on January 7th (shifted up a week from its originally intended January 14th launch), as a follow-up to Heroes Reborn and The Blacklist on Thursdays at 10/9c. It replaces Wesley Snipes' action thriller The Player, which recently had its order cut from 13 to 9 episodes.
In the above extended trailer for Shades of Blue, we are immediately thrown into the moral gray area that policewoman Harlee Santos (Lopez) inhabits. She coolly orchestrates a staged firefight, covering up her partner Loman's (Dayo Okeniyi) mistaken shooting of an unarmed suspect playing an all-too-realistic video game. "The truth is in the paperwork," she explains to the rattled rookie. Further scenes in the trailer illustrate Santos' "creative police work," her bond with patriarchal, corrupt cop Matt Wozniak (Ray Liotta), and how this eventually gets her busted by the FBI and forced to turn informant.
As the trailer shows, this new series will continually ask questions about the nature of good and evil, and if lines truly need to be crossed to keep a city safe from its criminal element. Almost like a cult member being released against her will, Santos will be forced to reevaluate her family of cops and their dangerous, ethically warped way of life. NBC's official synopsis of the show states:
"In a steamy new drama, the iconic Jennifer Lopez stars as sexy New York detective (and single mother) Harlee Santos, who fell in with a tight-knit group of dirty cops, taking bribes and protection money that she uses to provide the best life for her honest and talented daughter. When she's trapped by the FBI, however, and forced to inform on her own "brothers," she'll have to walk the fine line between love, loyalty, honor and betrayal, and try to keep it together for her daughter's future."
Alongside Lopez, Liotta, and Okeniyi, the series also stars Warren Kole, Drea de Matteo, Hampton Fluker, Vincent Laresca, and Sarah Jeffery. Jack Orman (ER) and Adi Hasak (From Paris with Love) will write and executive produce Shades of Blue. Lopez herself is on the list of exec producers, which includes Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Benny Medina, Ryan Seacrest, and Nina Wass, plus Barry Levinson for the pilot.
Jennifer Lopez is best known on TV for her stint as a pop diva judge on the longtime-running reality music series American Idol. Her roles on the big screen have varied greatly, from cartoon voice work to romantic comedies to the recently ill-received thrillers Lila & Eve (with Viola Davis) and The Boy Next Door (with Ryan Guzman). The understated coolness of her portrayal of a US Marshal, opposite George Clooney's bank robber in 1998's Out of Sight, offers the most hope for Lopez pulling off the tough cop persona in Shades of Blue. Though she's already saddled with the "sexy" label by NBC, the trailer reveals she's not looking too ridiculously glamorous.
Meanwhile, we all know Liotta can do powerful and scary roles in his sleep, and it doesn't look like it was hard for Lopez to look realistically frightened in their scenes together on Shades of Blue. Beyond that, the pop princess in a gritty crime drama is either a risky or smart move by NBC, depending on how well Lopez carries the show. Let us know in the comments what you think of the new trailer and the show's prospects in general.
Shades of Blue premiers on NBC on Thursday, January 7th, 2016 at 10/9c.