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Shades of Blue is an American Police Procedural television series created by Adi Hasak and currently airs on NBC when the first episode aired on January 7, 2016. It stars Jennifer Lopez, Ray Liotta, Drea de Matteo and Warren Kole.

Taking place in New York City, Detective Harlee Santos (Jennifer Lopez) is a single mother who is struggling to ensure her only child's future by putting her up in a good school. To do this, she works with Dirty Cops to solve her financial problems. When the FBI arrests her during an anti-corruption operation, FBI Special Agent Robert Stahl (Warren Kole) gives her An Offer You Can't Refuse: go to prison for being on the take as a corrupt police officer or help the FBI in hunting down Dirty Cops in her precinct and feed back information to him without being caught by her fellow officers.

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As Det. Santos helps the FBI look for Dirty Cops and help support her daughter, she realizes that it's getting dangerous to the point that she's asking herself if she should sell out her fellow officers to help her daughter or continue to back them up and risk being arrested.

The show was renewed by NBC for a third season with two seasons being aired, which serves as the last season.


This series contains examples of:

  • Armed Blag: The big score the FBI is after in season 1 is the robbery of an armored truck hauling evidence money, which Woz's unit will be involved in.
  • Attempted Rape:
    • Harlee is almost raped by Miguel and Stahl at different points.
    • Sofia is almost raped by Tufo when he's trying to intimidate her into telling him if she's an FBI mole.
  • Blackmail: Both the FBI and NYPD officers working under Lt. Wozniak use this to get something out of suspects.
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  • Blatant Lies:
    Det. Santos: You never said anything about wearing a wire.
    SA Stahl: I didn't say anything about a lot of things.
  • Can't Bathe Without a Weapon: After a series of officer shootings, Saperstein wonders if they'll start to have to wear Kevlar when they shower.
  • CIA Evil, FBI Good: The FBI is portrayed positively in the series, even though when going after Dirty Cops in an anti-corruption probe, they do it by threatening Det. Santos with arrest, risking her daughter's safety, her education and potentially placing her in foster care. Outside of that most of their villainy is made by Stahl, with the other FBI Agents being Reasonable Authority Figures that get Stahl fired after Harlee proves his crimes.
  • Cop Killer Manhunt: Woz team starts tearing the city apart after his son gets shoot.
  • Death of a Child: Woz teenage daughter committed suicide, which wrecked both him and his wife. It's also partly why he sees Harlee as his surrogate daughter.
  • Department of Child Disservices: The FBI explicitly uses the threat of Cristina ending up in foster care if they arrest Harlee to convince her to become The Mole for them.
  • Dirty Cop: A lot of them in Det. Santos' precinct, so much that the FBI intervenes in an anti-corruption probe.
  • Disappeared Dad: Harlee tells her daughter Cristina when she asks that her father didn't want to be a part of their lives. It turns out she's lying though-he was a criminal who abused Harlee, and she framed him for murder to get rid of the guy. However, his conviction is eventually revealed as wrongful, he's released and learns that he has a daughter. After learning about the lie, Cristina no longer trusts what Harlee tells her of him and gets closer to her father, despite Harlee's dismay. Harlee eventually kills him when he attacks her.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male: Tufo cracks several sick jokes at drug lord Mendez's expense after they forced two of his gang members to rape him.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Wozniak and his team are corrupt but they are appalled when they discover how extremely corrupt the Intelligence unit is. Wozniak, a firm believer in covering for other cops, decides that they have gone too far and need to be taken down even if it means that he has to arrest other cops.
  • Evil Versus Evil: In the 3rd season, Wozniak and his subordinates face off against a rogue NYPD division in league with drug smuggling gangs.
  • Fair Cop: Hollywood Beauty Standards are very much at play at Harlee's precinct, with almost all of her colleagues being very attractive, with Harlee herself being the show's Ms. Fanservice.
  • Forced to Watch: A "forced to listen" variation and rare heroic example. Harlee gets back at Stahl for forcing a wire on her by seducing and sleeping with DA Nava, forcing Stahl to have to listen in to her having sex with another man.
  • Hired to Hunt Yourself: Harlee is put in this situation when helping Woz flush out the The Mole, since it's her.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Wozniak and his team are big proponents of the Blue Wall, a system where cops cover for other cops and protect them from an investigation by Internal Affairs and the FBI. However, when they try to bring down the murderous Intelligence Unit, they find themselves on the other side of the Wall. They become Persona Non Grata in their own precinct and other cops obstruct them at every turn. When they are trapped in a gun battle, their backup just turns around and drives away.
  • Karmic Death: Quite a few, notably Miguel. The second he gets out of prison, he tries to force his way back into Harlee and Cristina's lives then tries to rape Harlee, only for her to snap his neck.
  • Karmic Rape: When drug lord Mendez tries to Blackmail Wozniak by threatening to spread the news that Wozniak is bi, Woz has two gang members orally rape Mendez and films the whole thing.
  • Let No Crisis Go to Waste: Julia Ayres used the chaos caused by Hurricane Sandy to steal a ton of evidence, and used it to trade favors to guarantee a position in the mayor’s office.
  • Lie Detector: Wozniak trained all his team to be able to beat lie detectors, which turns out to be inconvenient when he's trying to flush out The Mole.
  • Murder-Suicide: This was Stahl's plan for him and Harlee during the Grand Finale, but Cristina foiled his plan and he ended up being killed by Harlee.
  • Nudity Equals Honesty:
    • When accused of being The Mole by Wozniak, Harlee invokes those by stripping down to her underwear to prove she isn't wearing a wire. Woz believes her and is too ashamed to look at her and properly check. Cue the camera panning behind Harlee, where we see her wire attached to the back of her bra.
    • When Cole gives Harlee info on his old unit, they both meet in a pool, strip down to swimwear and get into the water in order to prove neither of them is wearing a wire.
  • Oh, Crap!: In the middle of "Pilot", Det. Santos draws her Glock 19 on a supposed crook who refuses to give a bribe before she finds out that she was lured into an FBI trap in order to arrest her as part of an anti-Dirty Cop probe.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: The reason why the Dirty Cops help criminals so that the worst ones (most of them) stay off the streets.
    Wozniak: I sacrifice for the needs of the neighborhood, and you, my friend, are on the other side of that scale.
  • Raging Stiffie: While doing physical therapy after being shot, Wozniak accidentally gets aroused by his male therapist, but blames it on the attractive woman next to him doing her workout.
    Wozniak: [awkwardly trying to explain it] When you got Helen of Troy over there doing her flexibility exercises, it kinda makes it...
  • Redemption Rejection: Miguel takes the money Harlee offers him to start a new life, but Miguel doesn't want that, he wants his old life back.
    Miguel: I don't want a new life, I want my old one.
  • Retargeted Lust:
    • In one episode, Stahl is shown with a Harlee look-a-like escort.
    • When Wozniak gets accidentally turned on by his physical therapist, he quickly drags his wife to their van for a quickie, despite her worries that having sex might be bad for his recovery.
  • Right Through the Wall: After Harlee and Nava sleep together for the first time, he mentions he will have to write an apology noise to his neighbors for all the noise they made. Justified since Harlee knew she was still wired and Stahl was listening in, so it's implied she brought her A-game and made herself louder in bed just to mess with him.
  • Russian Roulette: Tufo instigates one on Loman in order to intimidate him by giving him a seemingly unloaded revolver. It didn't work since Loman refused to use it.
  • Shades of Conflict: There's a lot of Grey-and-Gray Morality and Black-and-Gray Morality on the show, given all the unscrupulous methods the cops and the FBI use to catch criminals.
  • Shower of Angst: In "Eye of the Hurricane", Harlee cries in the shower (With Shoulders-Up Nudity) as we hear a voiceover of Woz angry at her for various past actions. She also stares at the missing shower clip from her shower curtain that was lost when she used the curtains to wrap up Miguel's body after she killed him.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: The main theme of the show, as Det. Santos starts to question what is right and what is wrong after she got caught by the FBI.
  • Turn in Your Badge:: Both Tess and Tufo lose their badges and are demoted to patrol officers in season 3.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Tess talks about "taking the concrete plunge" when she thinks she's about to be throw out the window to make her death look like a suicide or accident.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Harlee and many other Dirty Cops justify their corruption as a "greater good" by using unscrupulous means to deal with crime, but they're just as often acting like criminals.
  • Wham Episode:
    • In "Pilot", Det. Santos grudgingly agrees to be a covert FBI mole in the NYPD. She later finds out that Lt. Wozniak suspects that the FBI planted a mole in his unit and wants to get rid of said person. Said person being Santos.
    • In "Original Sin", Lt. Wozniak reviews a video of his interview with Santos when she was a uniformed officer and saw her brushing her hair aside from the ear. The same gesture she made while trying to put her in a lie detector test.
    • A double whammy in "Fall of Man" & "Undiscovered Country", where Wozniak wrongly suspects Saperstein is The Mole and tries to kill him, twice. He succeeds the second time.
    • In "What Devil Do", the man responsible for getting a heist done is a corrupt DEA agent who wants to steal money right under Washington's nose. Wozniak is apprehensive about it.
    • In "Broken Dolls", Stahl kidnaps Harlee after he gets removed from the FBI. Adrian, the son of a woman who agreed to testify, shoots Wozniak at the lobby of the 64th.


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