TV review: Shades of Blue – Sky Living (3 stars)

Glossy cop thriller starring Jennifer Lopez

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TV review: Shades of Blue – Sky Living

Shades of Blue opens with a confession: 'I always wanted to be a good cop … I always told myself the end justifies the means, but now I'm at the end I can't justify anything,' as Harlee Santos (Jennifer Lopez) stares directly down the barrel of the camera, tears rolling down her face.

Cut back to 'two weeks earlier' and Santos is a crooked cop with a heart of gold, single handedly bringing up her daughter. While breaking in a rookie a drugs bust goes south and without blinking she leaps into action swiftly covering up any indiscretions to protect her colleagues. Even as she breaks the law she attempts to rationalise her actions by looking at the larger picture. Until she gets caught in a sting by the FBI. Forced to spy on her own team, her loyalties split between her fellow NYPD officers, her daughter and the Feds.

Lopez is one of those weird celebrities who is massively famous across the world but hasn't really starred in anything decent (try naming a genuinely good J-Lo movie that isn't Out of Sight). There's something magnetic about her on screen, but she's just seems to turn up to read her lines and look good rather than investing any emotion into her characters. Fortunately there's solid support from Ray Liotta as the corrupt team captain wheeling out his patented mean and menacing shtick to great effect.

Barry Levinson (Good Morning, Vietnam / Rain Man) directs this opening episode giving it the requisite Hollywood gloss to match Lopez's star power. However the few moments of real tension are undermined by an over reliance on corny clichés. Hopefully later episodes will bring depth and complexity rather than relying on the safe middle ground the pilot inhabits. Shades of Blue is eminently watchable but without Lopez and Liotta's involvement it would probably slide into obscurity alongside the swathe of forgettable big screen thrillers it emulates.

Outcast premieres on Sky Living and is available on NOW TV from Tue 12 Jul.

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