J. Lo may be known more as a media mogul than a movie star these days, but the performer behind hits like “Waiting for Tonight” and box office bombs like Gigli is actually just as active as ever on the big screen. While her formula of late seems to involve acting in critically derided but moderately profitable medium-budget genre pieces, one place where we haven’t seen Jenny from the Block in a hot minute is on scripted network television. (She recently served as a judge on Fox’s singing competition show American Idol.)
Of course, we all remember her as the flyest fly girl on Fox’s In Living Color back in the early 90s, but most of us probably have no recollection of her starring roles in CBS’ short-lived series Second Chances and its spinoff Hotel Malibu in 1993-94. That’s because each series only lasted six episodes and quickly fell into the dustbin of network TV flops. However, they did constitute J. Lo’s first and last principal roles on the small screen, and with the exception of a couple of guest appearances on shows like How I Met Your Mother and Will & Grace, she hasn’t been much of a friend to the serial format since.
But that’s all about to change, thanks to a starring role in NBC’s upcoming police procedural Shades of Blue. In the show, Lopez stars as dirty NYPD detective Harlee Santos, who’s pinched by an FBI anti-corruption probe and is forced to betray her longtime dirty cop colleagues in order to ensure the well being of her daughter. It goes without saying that films and TV shows about informants, infiltrators, rats, and dirty cops are a dime a dozen these days, but the first scene of Shades of Blue’s official trailer – in which we see Lopez covering up the accidental shooting of an unarmed man – suggests the show is actually dealing with some pretty topical issues.
Stylistically, Shades of Blue seems a bit bland and hopelessly conventional, with the shaky handheld camera, tasteless fades, and heavy-handed soundtrack we’ve come to expect from network television, but J. Lo, who is also signed on as executive producer, seems to be at the top of her acting game, in addition to somehow looking better than she did 20 years ago. With bigshots like Ray Liotta filling out the cast, it’s not hard to see why NBC picked up the first season without so much as seeing a trailer.
Shades of Blue premieres January 7, 2016 on NBC at 10 p.m.