Shades of Blue: False Face, False Heart – Sex and Surprises (Recap/Review)

After last week’s bonehead stunt with the shotgun this installment of Shades of Blue: False Face, False Heart, introduces some sex and at least a couple of surprises.

Shades of Blue - Season 1

After last week’s bonehead stunt with the shotgun this installment of Shades of Blue: False Face, False Heart, introduces some sex and at least a couple of surprises.  Although one of these surprises is not necessarily overwhelming (It turns out that crooked cops don’t worry about leaving their own fingerprints on illegally made plastic, non-traceable guns…).  Of course the big shocker was Ray Liotta’s character Woz swapping spit with Donnie Pomp, and later (off-screen) probably swapping a whole lot more…

Speaking of boneheads, how mentally challenged is Tess? Moving a body, twice, to protect her “open house.”  Combined with the cop smashing a beer pitcher across a bar waitress’ head last week and now this? It is easy to see why Woz prizes Harlee so much, with so many of his crooked band of cops being major contenders for “The Weakest Link” walk of shame, it is a wonder that Wozniak’s gang has not been busted already.

Matt easily recognizes Harlee’s “tell” (a blind man could have seen it) and Donnie wants things taken care of. We learn more about Stahl and in keeping with the fact that this FBI agent is a major douche, moments after earning a little of our sympathy, the agent once again proves he probably deserves what his ex is doing.

Loman is seconds away from making the second biggest mistake of his short career as the guilt ridden cop heads toward major meltdown. Stahl’s boss Baker calls in Harlee and threatens to shut the operation down unless his “informant” delivers some kind of proof. The clock is now ticking and the pressure is on for Santos and Stahl to perform.

Harlee comes to Tess’ rescue, looking for evidence and working out how the “kid,” whose body Tess moved, died.

Shades of Blue - Season 1
Harlee Santos, is the best cop…

There are some pretty tense moments when it appears that Woz has caught out Harlee one more time; that unlocked cabinet with the “book” in it.   Matt comes to the conclusion that Santos is his mole and then “makes” the FBI agents when they follow Santos. He then believes completely that Harlee is guilty and  he heads over to Donnie’s to tell him. He also gets into a passionate kiss with the other man. (Later, Pomp is seen showering, an obvious sign that the two had sex…)

Santos continues her “pursuit” of Nava and after Stahl’s interruption of her date, where he informs his mole that he will touch her how and when he wants before placing a wire on Harlee before her marina visit with Woz, she gets a little payback on the FBI agent.

After she pulls a majestic bluff on Woz, and proves her innocence, she then heads back to Nava’s with a meal cooked by Cristina and seduces the ADA. Leaving Stahl’s wire on, she and Nava have sex (quite obviously) making her handler listen in.

Loman arranges a date with the one person he should be avoiding.  Carlos and Harlee head over the the dead man’s apartment to look for leads.  Santos discovers the 3D printed  plastic guns, while getting her fingerprints all over everything, bags them and the flash drive with the software on it and takes the evidence away.

As she exits, the roommate returns and she “bags” him. Later she offers up the guns and the roomy to Stahl to get Baker off his, and her, back.

The biggest surprise is the sexual congress between Woz and Donnie. The man who still mourns the suicide of his daughter apparently bats for both teams. In some ways this feels like an attempt to woo (to use Marcus’ word) the LGBT community rather than bring any depth to Liotta’s character.

Shades of Blue - Season 1
Ray Liotta, shades of a sexual nature as Woz…

Shades of Blue has Jennifer Lopez (as Harlee Santos) busier than a plate spinner at the circus.  Or, perhaps, a one-armed juggler. The cop has so many things she is trying to orchestrate; her boyfriend, Stahl (Warren Kole), Woz, Tess and Loman that she is in danger of losing it all.

Sidenote: Just how “rape-y” and pervy did Stahl come off in the restaurant restroom scene? “When I tell you to take off your dress…” Major douchebag entering major sex pest in one swift move.

Despite the odd bits where the writers and directors make mistakes (Yes I am still on about that bloody shotgun…) this series is maintaining a good level of interest. Lopez, Kole and Liotta make an interesting triangle, with the addition of sex/crime partner Donnie (Michael Esper).

Now that Santos has engaged with Nava (Gino Anthony Pesi) it looks like the mole has another plate to spin on top of all the others. It has to be noted that the interaction between Harlee and Nava was adorably cute/funny, the fact that it ended in sex was not surprising at all. 

Shades of Blue airs Thursdays on NBC. This new series has a good storyline and if it can avoid further gaffes, like the shotgun and others, it is worth a look. Tune in just for Liotta and Lopez.


Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life: How to Survive Being a Plus One (Review)

Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life may just have the most annoyingly long title on television at the moment.


Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life may just have the most annoyingly long title on television at the moment. Add to the series title  the “rest” of it, i.e. the episode title; in this case “How to Survive Being a Plus One,” and reviewing this new FOX comedy series  becomes an exercise in frustration… Leaving the title issues alone, episode 103, with its “24” Jack Bauer style comedy in the middle, is funny, cute and still entertaining.

(And how many times can one put the word title in a paragraph? Four.)

Perhaps this reviewer is easily entertained, or satisfied. Cooper Barrett’s “How to Survive Being a Plus One” and its “24” theme may have been an overly long riff on the old adage “Dance with the guy what brung ya,” but the humor still works.  Even without the Jack Bauer spiel, which was good, the episode rocked it in terms of comedy and the continuing “romance” between Cooper (Jack Cutmore-Scott) and Kelly (Meaghan Rath).

The episode opens with Cooper and Kelly in the back of a truck and Barrett explains about being invited to different places.  When Cooper asks the Mexican they are sharing the truck bed with how long till they arrive, he explains that the couple are sitting in “goat poop.”


Appears at the same time Kelly, Barry (the lovable a**), Neal and Cooper are drinking in a bar. The next-door neighbor, who every heterosexual male in America would kill for, reveals that her ex is getting married to a girl “named after a small orange” in Mexico.

The three men express surprise that Kelly was in a long (four year) relationship and she responds:

“I wasn’t always the fun-loving single girl that warms a room with a smile, a wink and a hair flip. You know.”

(Kelly flips her hair, smiles, laughs and winks)

Barry: “Adorable.”

Neal: “What are you doing?”

Cooper: “Are you having a stroke?”

This particular part of the episode managed to cram a number of funny lines into an incredibly short space.  Winning gag of the set  = Cooper’s response to the wedding invitation’s musical clue as to where Thom and Clem are getting married:

“In a Telenovela?”

Before the bar scene ends, Cooper becomes the plus one for Kelly and


Neal and Barry are having a 24 hour binge marathon of “24,”  and Kelly has picked out,  and packed,  Cooper’s three obligatory wedding outfits:

Kelly: “You have three looks: Wedding Ain’t No Thing, Reception Sophistication and my personal favorite, Good-bye Brunch Chic.”

Cooper then goes out to do last minute shopping and his car is towed away as well as  impounded. Thus begins the “24” Jack Bauer themed middle part of the episode where first Neal, and then Barry, don the headset, key the laptop and send help. Not surprisingly the help comes in the form of big brother Josh (Justin Bartha) and then his wife Leslie (Liza Lapira).

After a funny scene where Kelly and Cooper hide in Barry’s ice cream truck to sneak  inside the impound lot and then barely escape with their luggage and passports the “24” theme continues when Kelly’s dress is ruined.

Finally, Josh, Leslie, Barry, and Neal all join Kelly and Cooper in Josh’s car and they drive to the wedding.  However, in keeping with the “everything that can go wrong will” aspect of this show, the car develops a flat and the Bishop and Barrett have to hop a lift in the goat poop truck.

The wedding trip cut short.

While this episode lacks the high profile of a special guest like Paula Abdul, it provides a certain cohesion for Barrett, Bishop, Josh, and Leslie in term of character identification and an amount of fleshing out.

What makes Cooper work so well as a character is his initial desperation, at any given problem, and then his complete and total belief that what ever asinine, or desperate last minute plan he comes up with will work.  Cooper has faith that everything will work out, if not as a result of his first plan, then “Plan B” will save the day.

So far, Barrett has been proven right…

Bishop may look like the girl next door but this adorable cuteness hides a micro-managing woman who will take control  at the first opportunity.  She also has recognized that Cooper may well be her perfect match and it is clear that she will work to make this happen.

Older brother Josh proves in this episode that while he may not be willing to spend any more cash on his brother, he will go all out to help where he can. Even going so far as to romance a TSA agent. Leslie also shows that she will help out, in this case providing her new bestie Kelly  a replacement frock and that she has a sense of humor.

At the wedding ceremony, which was cancelled because the orange girl dropped out, Josh’s cell phone rings and he tells Leslie:

“Oh, I should get this. It’s this TSA agent I might have to have sex with.”

Leslie (without skipping a beat): “Cool. I might make out with the mariachi band.”

In Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life things have a way of turning out okay.  It seems that his eternal optimism is not misplaced at all.  In terms of the “will they, won’t they” thing between Kelly and Cooper it really feels more like a “when they.”

Kelly and Cooper more “when they” than “will they…”

It may well be that MikesFilmTalk is the only site that really appreciates this new FOX offering. Other sites have been pretty “meh” about the whole series thus far.  Perhaps they do not get a show where one does not have to “reach” for the gags, or it is hard for them to see the beauty of the quirkiness and toned down Animal House, National Lampoon vibe going on.

(One feels that Cooper Barrett may well be “Van Wilder” (sans Ryan Reynolds of course) all grown up.)

This is a fun series and one that crosses the Ts and dots the Is.  Consider this; Josh is driving and singing to “The Weekend” song “Can’t Feel My Face” (when I’m with you) when Neal does his “24” and calls big bro to help out Cooper. Later, at the very end of the episode, the wedding band play and sing their own version of “Can’t Feel My Face.”

What is not to like?

Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life airs Sundays on FOX. Tune in and join the 2.45 million folks who do like the show.  Warning: Prepare to get a huge crush on Meghan Rath’s character Kelly…




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