Wednesday, April 25, 2018
TV and Media

Jennifer Lopez stars in new NBC cop drama, Shades of Blue

Amid all the hustle and bustle on the corner of 150th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem, hardly anyone notices the woman checking her reflection in a car window.

Only when the paparazzi arrive do passersby begin to realize that Jennifer Lopez — yes, JLo herself — is in their midst, looking surprisingly approachable in jeans, tousled bob and a white T-shirt with a troubling brown stain.

The actor-dancer-singer-producer, whose name has become synonymous with blinged-out glamor, is filming a scene for her new series, Shades of Blue, and has just wrestled a perp to the ground, rolling in (simulated) dog poop in the process.

Much has been made of Lopez's make-under in the new NBC drama. As she says later in her plush trailer, "I wanted to change my look completely and be like the antithesis of what people are used to seeing me as." Getting dirty on a muggy August morning is just one more way she's bringing verisimilitude to Harlee Santos, the mildly corrupt Brooklyn cop she plays.

"We knew from the very beginning she was only interested in playing this character authentically," NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke said. "The kind of sexy glamorous thing was never really part of her definition of the character, although she can't avoid being sexy and beautiful."

In many ways, Shades of Blue isn't so much a departure for the actor, raised just a few stops away on the 6 Train in the Bronx, as it is a return to form.

It's easy to forget the former Fly Girl and star of frothy romantic comedies Maid in Manhattan and The Wedding Planner made her name playing tough girls in stylish crime capers such as Steven Soderbergh's Out of Sight and Oliver Stone's U-Turn.

For NBC, Shades of Blue, whose two-hour premiere was directed by Oscar-winner Barry Levinson, allows the broadcast network to dabble in the kind of morally ambiguous tales more often found on cable. A struggling single mom with a teenage daughter, Lopez's character is perfectly willing to accept kickbacks to supplement her income. She and her fellow detectives are enabled by their boss, the quietly terrifying Matt Wozniak (Ray Liotta), who uses the mantra "the greater good" to justify a wide array of malfeasance. But when Harlee is caught soliciting a bribe, the FBI pressures her into becoming an informant, pitting her against her work family.

"It's a character piece about human nature. Good people do questionable things. We're all trying to do our best, but we all make dumb choices at times," Lopez says.

Shades of Blue gets a pedigree boost from the involvement of Liotta and Drea de Matteo, who plays a fellow cop. Both actors are best known for their work in acclaimed mob dramas — Liotta as the gangster turned "average nobody" Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas; De Matteo as the ill-fated Adriana in The Sopranos.

The show is the first regular series role for Lopez, who had guest spots on such dramas as South Central early in her career before moving into film and music.

It's also just one of three major projects she's launching this month, in addition to her judging gig on American Idol, in its final season, and a residency at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas beginning Jan. 20.

"I have to approach this like I'm going into the biggest marathon race of my life and I'm going to win. That's the mentality that I have to have, I can't get nervous or scared," Lopez says of her intense schedule, adding, "but I'm overwhelmed most of the time." As if on cue, Lopez's 7-year-old twins bound noisily into the trailer and enthusiastically greet their mother.

Comments

Wednesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYBaseballMariners at White Sox2 p.m.MLBNationals at Giants (in progress)5 p.m.MLBTwins at Yankees6:30 p.m.1040-AMRays at Orioles7 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMCubs at Indians7 p.m.ESPNMarlins at Dodgers7:30 p.m.FSFCollege baseballIndiana at Purdue7 p.m.ESP...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Twin sisters from Tampa helping shape Fox's 'Empire' say they'd like to tell Tampa stories

Twin sisters from Tampa helping shape Fox's 'Empire' say they'd like to tell Tampa stories

JaNeika and JaSheika James’ television obsession was fueled by scarcity and convenience. As self-described "military brats" living in Germany, the girls treasured the VHS tapes their grandparents shipped overseas filled with English-language S...
Published: 04/24/18

Tuesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYBaseballTwins at Yankees6:30 p.m.MLB; 1040-AMRays at Orioles7 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMMarlins at Dodgers10 p.m.FSFCollege baseballCoastal Carolina at North Carolina6 p.m.ESPNUMississippi at Mississippi State7 p.m.SECCreighton at Nebraska7:30 p.m.Big ...
Published: 04/23/18
Dwayne Johnson turns down promposal, but rents a movie theater for her instead

Dwayne Johnson turns down promposal, but rents a movie theater for her instead

STILLWATER, Minn. — An eastern Minnesota teen who asked her celebrity crush Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to prom got a huge surprise when he actually responded. The Pioneer Press reports that Stillwater Area High School Senior Katie Ke...
Published: 04/23/18
Prince Arthur? Odds on the name of the newest royal baby

Prince Arthur? Odds on the name of the newest royal baby

Jackson, Liam and Noah may have been the most popular boys names in 2017, but don’t expect either of those monikers to be applied to the latest addition to the royal family.The Dutchess of Cambridge (that would be Kate Middleton) and Prince Wil...
Published: 04/23/18
Review: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ returns as a brutal message on extremism, complacency and trauma

Review: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ returns as a brutal message on extremism, complacency and trauma

About eight minutes into the second season of The Handmaid's Tale, you hear Kate Bush's This Woman's Work play amidst close shots of muzzled women. It's so heartbreaking that you may question your stamina to get through another dozen episodes.The son...
Published: 04/23/18

Monday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYAutosIndyCar: Grand Prix of AlabamanoonNBCSNBaseballAutosIndyCar: Grand Prix of AlabamanoonNBCSNTwins at Yankees7 p.m.ESPNMarlins at Dodgers10 p.m.FSFCollege softballTennessee at Alabama7 p.m.SECLouisville at Florida State7 p.m.ESPNUNBA playoffs...
Published: 04/22/18

Sunday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYAutosNHRA: SpringNationals2 p.m.FS1IndyCar: Grand Prix of Alabama3 p.m.NBCSNBaseballTwins at Rays1 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMMarlins at Brewers2 p.m.FSFIndians at Orioles2 p.m.MLBCubs at Rockies (in progress)4 p.m.MLBNationals at Dodgers8 p.m.ESPNColle...
Published: 04/21/18
Tampa Theatre is showing ‘Reefer Madness’ tonight on 420 Day

Tampa Theatre is showing ‘Reefer Madness’ tonight on 420 Day

The campy gem known as Reefer Madness is screening at 10:30 p.m. tonight at the history Tampa Theatre, a perfect bit of programming on 420 Day. Today's day is 4/20 and it has beeen adopted in some circles as Weed Day because of the numeral code used ...
Published: 04/20/18
Watch this weekend: ‘Westworld,’ ”The 100,’ ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Watch this weekend: ‘Westworld,’ ”The 100,’ ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Back online: WestworldIt's crazy to think that the first season of Westworld premiered more than a year ago. But the hype surrounding this modern sci-fi series hasn't let up since. In the first season we explored the high-tech theme park of Westworld...
Published: 04/20/18