Shades of Blue: Good Cop, Bad Cop – Bad Continuity…Again (Review)

Shades of Blue: Good Cop, Bad Cop had me going. Tears were stinging the old eyes as Saperstein lay in his plain wooden coffin, decked out in his “police dress uniform” with a chest full of medals and then?

Shades of Blue - Season 1

Shades of Blue: Good Cop, Bad Cop had me going. Tears were stinging the old eyes as Saperstein lay in his plain wooden coffin, decked out in his “police dress uniform” with a chest full of medals and then? That pesky old bugger, bad continuity stepped in again and threw this viewer right out of the moment.

If not bad continuity it was at least someone asleep at the camera, as it were, where from one angle the dead body, “in-state” is so high in the open coffin that the actor’s shoulders are above the top of the oblong box. The camera angle changes to looking down upon the dead man and suddenly, in the blink of an eye, Saperstein’s shoulders are against the bottom of his coffin and the head which was above the box is now inside it.

In a few seconds, we are taken out of that teary moment where we consider the fate of poor Saperstein and instead marvel at his incredible floating body trick.

This is no “optical illusion” at work here, but flat-out sloppy work by someone. It could be the director, camera operator or the editor, or a combination of all three. Regardless of who may ultimately be to blame this had the same affect as the shotgun mess in episode two; “Original Sin.”

Both these continuity glare-ers take the viewer right out of the moment.  It serves to slap us up-side the head and scream:

“You’re watching a TV show stupid! Now grab a tissue and wipe your face!”

It seems that the producers hope that no-one will notice these moments that do not match, or fail to follow-through with what is happening on-screen.  Similar to those times when, for the sake of safety apparently, a character points a cocked gun at someone and in the close-up, the hammer is suddenly “un-cocked.” Then the camera  goes back for a medium or long-shot and it is cocked again. This creates an  instant splash of ice-cold reality that takes even the most imaginative of us right out of the moment.

Thanks chaps.

Leaving this moment behind, or to be more accurate moments as this grievous sin of the “floating body”  is committed twice,  Good Cop, Bad Cop tries to tie a few things up.  The “bad cops” who  beat seven kinds of hell out of Cristina’s boyfriend are given their comeuppance and (as a perfect lead-in to the emotional funeral) Santos makes things right with her daughter and the new “man” in her life.

Another tear inducing moment has Tess getting those posthumous Mets tickets from David Saperstein. The same man who she has continually piled disdain upon for being the rat. A tissue grabbing scene where only the hardest of hearts could not be moved by the dead Sap’s voice reading his note to Tess and her reaction to the message he wrote.

Warren Kole‘s handler is working oh so carefully to get under his dream girl’s skin.  His FBI Douche-bag should have dangerous stalker tattooed on his forehead, although to be fair, Jennifer Lopez‘ Harlee was aware of this side of Stahl from the get go.

By the end of the episode, Santos has opted to “roll” on Ray Liotta‘s Wozniak and the two “park cops” who beat up Cristina’s boyfriend and his pal have had some rough justice dispensed by Woz and the rest of the “fam.”  Nava also manages to insult Harlee and she says in response to his Stahl induced allegations:

“Thanks for coming all the way down here to call me a whore.”

At least mother and daughter have gotten their trust issues sorted and, for better or worse, Loman is officially a member of Woz’ team.

Kudos to Ray Liotta for dancing  like a madman as his character vacillates between “good cop and bad cop” as he attempts to lead his crew on both sides of the law.  One moment dropping motivational platitudes about being “good” and then doing the same on the “less than good front.”

Shades of Blue ends with Harlee obligating to the FBI side. She has gone over to Stalker Boy’s corner but it remains to be seen just how long she will stay there. The series airs Thursdays on NBC T.un in and see if Harlee makes good on her promise to “dob” Woz in and to see how many other scenes the show’s makers can mess up with bad continuity.

Shades of Blue: Sap Hits Rock Bottom, Woz Helps (Recap/Review)

To paraphrase from Bad Boys II, in Shades of Blue: Fall of Man, “Sh*t just got real…” Woz, who decided last week that Sap was the rat, goes after his suspected mole to question him.

Shades of Blue - Season 1

To paraphrase from Bad Boys II, in Shades of Blue: Fall of Man, “Sh*t just got real…”  Woz, who decided last week that Sap was the rat, goes after his suspected mole to question him. Harlee calls Stahl to intercede, the FBI agent opts to arrest Saperstein to protect him from Wozniak.

Stahl: “Lieutenant Wozniak thinks you’re working with us. He was on his way to question you. And by question you, we mean shoot you in the head.”

This week it all breaks loose, Harlee goes to question the suspect for her ex’s murder, Frank Kovach, who slaps her with a pistol, Loman is identified as the shooter officially, Saperstein is arrested by the FBI and when he escapes custody has a federal warrant put out on him and Woz crosses the line and kills the murder suspect and tries to kill Sap.

On top of all the other excitement, Tess confronts her husband about the barmaid and Cristina learns about Miguel Zepeda as well as his domestic abuse of her mother.

Everything begins to spiral out of control when Harlee goes to question Kovach after speaking with Miguel in prison.

Her ex convinces her that the recently released convict murdered the teenage girl he was convicted of killing. Woz tells Santos to leave it alone since he and Harlee set Zepeda up for the fall to keep him away from her and Cristina.

Her boss also tells her that he is going to question Saperstein, whom he believes is the mole. Disturbingly, as Woz packs a bag before setting out to collect Stuart, he includes zip-ties…

Harlee bumps into Sap on her way out of the squad room and asks him to accompany her to Kovach’s house.  As Santos goes to question Frank, Woz calls Sap and asks where he is. Getting the address, he tells the suspected mole to stay put.

After Santos gets struck across the temple with Kovach’s gun, an act that allows the ex-con  to escape, she learns that Woz is on his way. Harlee calls Stahl to intervene.

Tess confronts Joe and he admits, eventually, the affair with the bartender. He explains that it was a “mid-life crisis” and the two reconcile. Back at the precinct, Loman discovers a row of bullets on his desk, thinking he is being “hazed” he speaks to Tufo and Espada about it.

The two detectives explain that the news has linked him to the drug dealer shooting and the bullets are a sign of solidarity from his colleagues at the precinct. The three learn of Kovach’s assault against Harlee and give her the file with the con’s ex-wife’s address and they go to question the man’s new girlfriend.

The FBI handler tries to call his bosses to get permission to step in to save Sap and cannot connect. Agent Chen urges him to act immediately.

“Easier to ask forgiveness. We’ll get him out the back.”

After telling Harlee to leave the location, Stahl and Chen then move in to  arrest Sap on a number of charges just as Woz shows up, gun in hand to grab his mole. Stuart talks the two federal agents into stopping by his home so he can tell his mother about going to a safe house before testifying.

Shades of Blue - Season 1
Espada placating Loman after “bending the rules” with Tiffany.

Espada and Loman talk to Tiffany and set things in motion to catch Frank. The con’s fiancee looks as charming as he is, and Espada gets told off by Loman for bending the rules.  Woz catches up with Harlee at Kovach’s ex-wife’s address and as he is telling her off for getting involved they find the Frank’s ex tied up. The beaten and captive woman then explains that Kovach is kidnapping their son.

Loman tries to explain to the family before they learn from the newspapers but misses his chance. Tufo, Espada and Loman head to the school to stop Kovach and the escaping kidnapper  hits Carlos with his truck as he is leaving with his son Brian.

At the Saperstein house,  Stuart tells his mother that he has to go away while Harlee stops Cristina from visiting Miguel and tells the prison officer at visits that the girl is barred from visiting Zepeda.

Sap tells the two feds that his mother is having palpitations and uses this as a chance to escape. Tufo offers Kovach a chance to bring the boy back, with an offer of money and a car. Loman learns that the news of his shooting has already reached the family he befriended.

Stahl tells Chen to “light up” Saperstein with a federal warrant and Santos tells Cristina the truth about Zepeda. Tess talks to Sap and after he warns her not to use her personal phone, she learns about the federal warrant.

Kovach turns up at his fiancee’s site with his son Brian to make the trade. Tess tells Harlee about Sap and the two head out. Santos tries to keep Sap away from Woz by leaving a message on his phone as Wozniak arrives at the construction site to facilitate the trade.

Woz meets with Frank and the two make the trade, although Kovach reneges at the last minute and pulls a gun from his son’s backpack. He points the gun on Woz and Sap comes up from behind the man but puts his weapon down. Harlee and Tess arrive, siren blazing and Kovach gets distracted. Sap attacks the man and Brian escapes.

Shades of Blue - Season 1
Harlee looks up to the floor where Woz and Kovach are negotiating.

Sap head-butts the kidnapper  while Woz watches without helping to subdue Kovach. After Saperstein overpowers  the con, he attempts to explain to his boss what is happening.

Sap: “I had no choice, Woz.”

Woz: (rushing forward and pushing Sap over the rail) “Neither do I.”

Woz then pick’s up Sap’s gun and shoots Kovach in the head and the dead man topples over the same railing that Woz pushed Sap over. The man’s body lands next to Sap as Tufo rushes up and Harlee arrives on the floor where Woz is. Tufo yells out that Stuart Saperstein is still breathing.

Wozniak lies to Harlee and says that Sap shot Kovach and they both fell over the edge of the railing.

Previews of the next episode make things look even more out-of-control with more lies and more murder set to take place.

This episode of Shades of Blue was top notch. Everything rushed to a dramatic and tragic climax, that sets up the next episode brilliantly.

Kudos to the stunt coordinators of this installment for Saperstein’s fall off the building;  truly a genuine heart-stopping moment that stole the show.

Jennifer Lopez is selling it as the plate spinning cop caught in the middle and Ray Liotta is killing it as the man desperately trying to keep control of his little band of crooked cops.  Apart from the “rat” storyline, it will be interesting to see just how long Tess and her husband stay “made up.” Just as it remains to be seen how Loman will handle this latest setback.

Shades of Blue airs Thursdays on NBC.  This procedural crime drama has gotten past its earlier issues of continuity and plausibility and is well worth a look.

Shades of Blue: Equal & Opposite – Woz, Sex and Huge Appetites (Review)

Shades of Blue: Equal & Opposite begins with the Woz’s crew participating in warrant day and one of the outstanding fugitives chased down has a car trunk full of heroin.

Shades of Blue - Season 1

Shades of Blue: Equal & Opposite begins with  Woz’s crew participating in warrant day and one of the outstanding fugitives chased down has a car trunk full of heroin. Before the end of the episode, sex becomes a factor for more than one character and Matt reveals to Raul Mendez that he has huge appetites and no hangups concerning his bisexuality.

At the end of the episode Woz is still looking for his rat, but Raul Mendez is sorted.  Matt uses the drug dealer’s homophobia against him removing any power that the funeral director felt he had over Woz.  Mendez is also removed from the city and placed in Philly by the new dealer in the neighborhood.

Tufo  spots a tail while waiting for his partner Saperstein; who is getting language lessons from a Brazilian hooker.  Donny Pomp has members of Internal Affairs watching Woz’s crew in an attempt to find the rat. Harlee informs Stahl who steps in and tells Pomp to back off.

Harlee keeps stringing Stahl along with partial information and complains to her handler’s boss about what she sees (rightly) as stalker type behavior.   In the meantime, Santos discovers her daughter’s secret boyfriend and loses the plot a little.  The detective also calls in a favor from her old trainer, Caddie who she springs from jail a week early.

Shades of Blue - Season 1
Harlee aggressively questions the “boyfriend.”

The former cop/trainer sets up surveillance at Stahl’s place before shooting up again and Harlee just misses learning just how inappropriate her handler’s interest is in her.

Woz, on top of his issues with Raul pushing boundaries,  catches Trish in bed with Espada.  Matt is understandably upset, but at least he realizes that this is why Nazario has been acting “sketchy” and not because she is the rat.  Woz tells Trish that:

“Men are dogs.”

After his little talk to Nazario, he tells her to stop the affair with her partner. Harlee gives her daughter a chance to come clean about the boyfriend and Cristina opts to continue the lie.  Trish and Espada talk after Woz caught them together and she tells her partner that Woz was right, men are dogs.

Santos believes that Stahl has placed a bug in her house and after checking does not find any evidence to support her suspicions.  She misses the FBI agent telling a $500 an hour escort that he will be calling her “Harlee,” during their “date.”

This episode opens things up with many of the characters. Ray Liotta as Woz reveals layers and his   crooked bisexual cop shows that he is not afraid to use sex to destroy the opposition. When Raul Mendez attempts to use Matt’s sexual preferences against him, Woz turns the tables and destroys the drug dealer.

Jennifer Lopez, as Harlee Santos, continues to work through that “glamour” issue and Warren Kole is spot on as the stalker-y douche who really does have an  inappropriate interest in his mole.

Shades of Blue - Season 1
Warren Kole as FBI Agent Stahl…

Shades of Blue has gotten darker with the reveal that Stahl rehearses in front of a mirror before his hooker arrives in order to sound “natural” and Woz has his drug dealer forcibly”sodomized” by his replacement (and video-taped)  as punishment for his homophobic attack on the crooked cop.

This series has tightened up a good deal since starting and while Lopez may still be too gorgeous to convince visually as a cop, she plays her part with a truth that takes away from the glamour factor. The question of just how much the crew instigate for the “greater good” is too far outside the law.

Mad props to the other crew members of Woz’s little gang. Drea de Matteo, as Trish, has managed to bring her character back from the edge of “crazy” that threatened to destroy the woman desperate to save her marriage and Hampton Fluker is spot on as Marcus Tofu, the jokey cop who never knows when to leave it alone. 

Shades of Blue steps into dark sexual territory in this episode. Stahl is seen preparing to feed his appetite (for Harlee via proxy). Woz is seen to be a voracious bisexual and apparently Cristina is active with the secret boyfriend.  Sex is also used as a weapon against Raul.

This drama airs Thursdays on NBC. Tune in and see where this series heads next and just how dark things will turn.

Shades of Blue: Episode 104 – Loman’s Folly (Recap/Review)

In Shades of Blue things are moving on at a rapid pace as episode 104; Who Is It That Can Tell Me Who I Am.

 Shades Of Blue - Season 1

In Shades of Blue things are moving on at a rapid pace in episode 104; Who Is It That Can Tell Me Who I Am. While Harlee tries to sit on the fence and not give up Woz as she attempts to keep Stahl appeased, Loman proves he has not learned anything after his colleagues stage an intervention and his folly may get him killed.

A number of things are revealed in this episode.  Woz is apparently in over his head with Donny, who is keeping a lot of things secret from his lover.  Wozniak  is also promiscuous when stressed and after a quickie in the alley, wrecks his car and gets injured severely enough to be put in hospital.

After Harlee leaves James’ apartment and returns Stahl’s wire,  she comes across a robbery taking place and once she calls for backup,  intervenes. The shop owner is stabbed and the two robbers escape.

Loman goes to the funeral service of the drug dealer he killed and starts to speak to the mourners. His fellow officers drag him away from the podium and their actions almost start a riot.  The neighborhood becomes violent and the police barely get Loman out, although not before being attacked.

Michael’s colleagues take him to a vacant lot and hand him a gun, telling him to shoot himself if he is really  suicidal. (Earlier, Loman tried to throw his service weapon in the river and it fell short. Police came by as he stood on the railing, they brought him in thinking he was attempting to kill himself.) Loman fights and his fellow cops think he has learned his lesson.

Woz sends Harlee to collect that van needed for Donny’s big job, the one he was hesitant to included Santos in, and she discovers C4 and counting machines hidden in a false floor.  Harlee then calls Stahl but hides the incriminating evidence before he and his assistant Molly  (Annie Chang) arrive.

The two robbers, one of whom stabbed the shop’s owner, are tracked down and Harlee  shows that she still bends the rules wherever possible. The second suspect, who abuses his spouse is at home is given up by the one robber in custody. (an amusing scene where Tess comes in as bad cop)  Bernard, the man who stabbed the shopkeeper is protected by his  battered wife who will not let the police in. As they begin to leave, Loman and Harlee can hear him beating on the woman.

Loman is upset and Santos tells him that they can go in if he heard the woman cry for help.  Michael says that he did hear her and the two enter the apartment.

After tricking Stahl, Harlee gives Woz the C4 and cash counting machines. Much later the FBI agent finds them in Matt’s lock-up.

After the hospital visit from Harlee, where Wozniak learns of the C4, he punches Donny and demands to know what is going on and what his partner in crime is not telling him.

Shades Of Blue - Season 1
Harlee visits Woz and tells him about the C4

Ray Liotta delivers in this episode as the cop with many layers. A married man who is secretly gay, a crooked cop and a man consumed with his daughter’s suicide, so much so that he has built a shrine to her in his lock-up. Liotta’s Wozniak is a man of many secrets and issues.

Warren Kole keeps Stahl in the role of unlikeable and stalker-ish douche.  Molly, who is the bipartisan observer to her boss’ behavior, learns that Agent Stahl is focussed completely on himself and his goals on the case. 

Dayo Okeniyi  is consistent with his portrayal of the guilt ridden cop who feels pressure to be a good guy while trying to cope with his murder of an unarmed suspect.  At the end to the episode, his character shows up once more where he has no business being.

Jennifer Lopez still manages to look that bit too glamorous to be a homicide cop, but she pulls it off with a committed performance. As Harlee Santos she convinces as the woman and mother desperate to not rat on her friend and protector Woz while trying to keep Stahl at bay.

Shades of Blue, episode 104 continues to keep up the tension. Santos is still fighting her handler every step of the way and Stahl  is beginning to look more  like the stalker that Harlee accuses him of being.  Nava and Santos take a step back after their amorous evening  while Nazario and Espada get too close.

Sidenote: The reason that Woz wrecks his car is because of a stray dog that he first sees while receiving oral sex in the alley behind a bar. As he drives off, Woz spots the dog again and become distracted. Later in the show, as Loman gets his hand treated and Harlee and Nava talk, Woz brings the dog a scrap of food.  It seemed that, for one moment at least, the crooked cop was going to poison the dog, but it seems that Woz is not as bad as Stahl believes him to be. Although it was surprising that there was not a shot of a dead stray at the end of the show.

Shades of Blue airs Thursdays on NBC.  The show seems to have found its feet and, in this episode at least,   creator Adi Hasak  prevented any further disconnects that detract from this interesting story line. Tune in and see how much longer Harlee can keep Stahl at bay and how long Loman can hide who he is.

 

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.