Shades of Blue (TV series)

Shades of Blue is an American crime drama television series created by Adi Hasak that aired on NBC. The series premiered on January 7, 2016. The series is set in New York City and stars Jennifer Lopez as Harlee Santos, a single-mother NYPD detective who is forced to work for the FBI's anti-corruption task force, while dealing with her own financial and family problems.

Shades of Blue
Created byAdi Hasak
Composer(s)Wendy Melvoin
Lisa Coleman
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes36 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)Priscilla Porianda
David DeClerque
Production location(s)New York City, US
CinematographyStefan Czapsky
Editor(s)Aaron Yanes
Joel Goodman
Elba Sanchez-Short
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time42 minutes
Production company(s)
DistributorNBCUniversal Television Distribution
Original networkNBC
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
Original releaseJanuary 7, 2016 (2016-01-07) 
August 19, 2018 (2018-08-19)
External links

In March 2017, the series was renewed for a third season. NBC later announced in April 2018 that this would be the final season, and that it would consist of 10 episodes. The third and final season premiered on June 17, 2018, and the series finale aired on August 19, 2018.

Cast and characters


  • Jennifer Lopez[3] as Detective Harlee Santos, a corrupt officer with the Street Crimes detective squad in NYPD's 64th Precinct in Brooklyn and FBI informant for the anti-corruption task force. She is the single mother to 16-year-old Cristina; Cristina's father was abusive, and shortly after his release from prison in 2005, Harlee framed him for murder. She joined Lt. Wozniak's crew after he helped cover up her frame job.[4] After getting arrested by the FBI in an anti-corruption investigation, she becomes a reluctant informant against Wozniak in exchange for immunity.[5]
  • Ray Liotta[3] as Lieutenant Matt Wozniak, the corrupt commander of the 64th Precinct's Street Crimes detective squad, and the main target in an FBI anti-corruption investigation. He is a 25-year veteran of the force, and before that spent six years in the United States Marine Corps. He is very close to Harlee, whom he considers a daughter, and Harlee's own daughter, Cristina.
  • Drea de Matteo[3] as Detective Tess Nazario, reassigned to patrol as a sergeant in season 3.
  • Warren Kole as Special Agent Robert Stahl, an FBI agent assigned to the Anti-Corruption Task Force, and Harlee's handler. He develops an obsession with Harlee.
  • Dayo Okeniyi as Detective Michael Loman, a rookie detective assigned to the 64th.
  • Hampton Fluker[6] as Detective Marcus Tufo, reassigned to patrol as a sergeant in season 3.
  • Vincent Laresca as Detective Carlos Espada
  • Sarah Jeffery as Cristina Santos, Harlee's 16-year-old daughter[7] and a musical prodigy.
  • Gino Anthony Pesi[8] as Assistant District Attorney James Nava (seasons 2–3; recurring season 1), the 64th Precinct's new ADA who becomes romantically involved with Harlee.


  • Leslie Silva as Gail Baker, FBI Special Agent In Charge, and an old friend of Harlee, who assigns her as the mole under Stahl's supervision.
  • Santino Fontana as Detective David Saperstein (season 1), a member of Wozniak's crew. Wozniak kills him after suspecting that he is the mole in his crew.
  • Michael Esper as Lieutenant Donnie Pomp (season 1), a corrupt member of NYPD Internal Affairs who is in league with Wozniak.
  • Lolita Davidovich (season 1) and Margaret Colin (seasons 2–3) as Linda Wozniak, Matt's wife
  • Annie Chang as Special Agent Molly Chen (season 1), Stahl's partner. She later has herself reassigned after becoming very uncomfortable with Stahl's growing obsession with Harlee.
  • Mark Deklin as Joe Nazario (season 1), Tess' husband, eventually divorced from Tess.
  • Erica Ash as Erica (season 1), Loman's love interest
  • Kathryn Kates as David's mother (season 1)
  • Antonio Jaramillo as Miguel Zepeda (season 1), Harlee's violently abusive ex-boyfriend and Cristina's father. Wozniak and Harlee conspired to frame him for murder in order to keep Harlee and Cristina safe. He is later released and tries to reconnect with his daughter, but is repeatedly stalled by Harlee's attempts to keep Cristina away from him. Harlee eventually kills him in self-defense after he attempts to rape her at gunpoint. His disappearance becomes a focus point in season 2 as Stahl attempts to uncover the truth behind it.
  • Vanessa Vander Pluym as Gina Rodriguez (seasons 2–3), a prostitute that Stahl frequents due to her resemblance to Harlee. Vanessa is also Jennifer Lopez's stunt double for the same reason. Gina was killed by Stahl in an attempt to bring down Harlee.
  • Dov Davidoff as Detective Tom Verco (seasons 2–3), an Internal Affairs Investigator.
  • Cameron Scoggins as Nathan "Nate" Wozniak (seasons 2–3), Matt and Linda's son, and the brother of Anna Kate. He beat up the drug dealer who sold Anna Kate the drugs she overdosed on and left him for dead, and would have ended up in jail had Julia Ayres not covered it up.
  • Anna Gunn as Councilwoman Julia Ayres (season 2), a New York City mayoral candidate. She was a member of Wozniak's crew prior to her promotion to NYPD Captain. During season 2, she becomes the subject of an FBI investigation led by Stahl. She later commits suicide after a fallout between her and Wozniak threatens to put all of her misdeeds out in the open, just as she is elected Mayor of New York City.
  • Karsen Liotta as Anna Kate Wozniak (season 3), Matt and Linda's daughter. Karsen Liotta, the real-life daughter of Ray Liotta, plays his character's deceased daughter Anna Kate, who Matt sees visions of in season 3.[9]
  • Afton Williamson as FBI Special Agent Katie Myers (season 3), an FBI agent assigned to search for Stahl after he becomes a fugitive, but is later revealed to be allied with him, due to Stahl having saved her life when the two were in Quantico. Stahl later kills her after their attempted frame job against Harlee comes apart and she refuses to help him again after discovering he'd been keeping certain secrets from her.
  • Bruce McGill as Captain Jordan Ramsey (season 3), the corrupt head of the NYPD's Intelligence Unit.
  • Nick Wechsler as Detective Anthony Cole (season 3), a member of Intelligence Unit who turns against them after his unit orchestrates the death of his partner.
  • Victor Turpin as Enrique Ortiz (season 3), the spoiled son of a dangerous, powerful and wealthy Colombian drug lord. His family have minions in the police department, who make sure he gets liberated after being arrested by Santos. But Wozniak has other plans for him.


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
113January 7, 2016 (2016-01-07)March 31, 2016 (2016-03-31)
213March 5, 2017 (2017-03-05)May 21, 2017 (2017-05-21)
310June 17, 2018 (2018-06-17)August 19, 2018 (2018-08-19)


In February 2014, NBC gave a 13-episode straight-to-series order.[10] A teaser trailer was made available on June 3, 2015, containing statements by Lopez, Ray Liotta, and Drea de Matteo.[11] The series premiered on January 7, 2016.[12] On February 5, 2016, NBC renewed Shades of Blue for a 13-episode second season, which premiered on March 5, 2017.[13][14][15] On March 17, 2017, the series was renewed for a third season.[16][17] NBC later announced on April 4, 2018, that this would be the final season, and it would contain 10 episodes.[18][19] The third season premiered on June 17, 2018.


Lopez was given the main role in 2014.[20] On February 26, 2015, Liotta, de Matteo, Vincent Laresca and Warren Kole were cast as Lt. Matt Wozniak, Det. Shirley Nazario, Det. Tony Espada and Agent Robert Stahl, respectively. Dayo Okeniyi was given the role of Det. Michael Loman.[21] On March 30, 2015, Hampton Fluker was cast in a recurring role as Det. Marcus Tufo.[6] On April 8, Sarah Jeffery was cast as Santos' daughter, Christina.[7] On April 13, 2015, Gino Anthony Pesi was cast in a recurring role as Assistant District Attorney James Nava.[22] On June 15, 2016, Anna Gunn joined Shades of Blue's second season in a recurring role.[23][24]


Filming for the first season began on June 5, 2015, in New York City.[25] Filming for the second season began in July 2016 in New York City.[26] Filming for the third season began in April 2017 in New York City.[27]



Season Time slot (ET/PT) Episodes Season premiere Season finale TV season Rank Viewers
(in millions)
Date Viewers
(in millions)
Date Viewers
(in millions)
1 Thursday 10:00 pm 13 January 7, 2016 8.55[28] March 31, 2016 5.43[29] 2015–16 #35 9.87[30]
2 Sunday 10:00 pm 13 March 5, 2017 5.25[31] May 21, 2017 4.10[32] 2016–17 #58 6.74[33]
3 10 June 17, 2018 3.52[34] August 19, 2018 3.21[35] 2017–18

Critical response

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.[36] 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".[37]

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".[38] 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".[39] 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".[40] 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".[41] 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."[42]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
2016 Imagen Foundation Awards Best Actress – Television Jennifer Lopez Nominated [43]
Best Primetime Television Program – Drama Shades of Blue Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actress: Drama Jennifer Lopez Nominated [44]
Choice TV Drama Shades of Blue Nominated
2017 People's Choice Award Best Crime Drama Actress Jennifer Lopez Won


In India, Shades of Blue premiered on Colors Infinity on January 8, 2016, and aired shortly after its U.S. counterpart.[45] In Canada, Shades aired on Global, at the same time as it aired on NBC. In the Netherlands, Shades was aired on Wednesdays on Fox. In Australia, it premiered on the Universal Channel on August 2, 2016.[46] In the United Kingdom, Shades of Blue premiered on Sky Living on 13th July 2016 at 9pm weekly, for all three seasons. [47] In Italy, it was premiered on pay-platform Mediaset Premium on September 22, 2016[48] and then aired as free broadcast on Canale 5 from July 5, 2017[49]. In Greece, the series premiered on September 3rd, 2018 on Makedonia TV. [50]


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