Jennifer Lopez is returning to a regular TV role for the first time since the early 1990s as the lead in NBC’s upcoming crime drama Shades of Blue, and she’s got some big stars joining her in all the corruption. Ray Liotta, Sons of Anarchy’s Drea de Matteo, Graceland’s Vincent Laresca, and The Following’s Warren Kole have all joined the Shades of Blue cast in regular roles. Can NBC handle Liotta’s maniac eyes?
Sounding like a diet version of The Shield, Shades of Blue centers on a close-knit squad of money-mooching corrupt cops who nevertheless take delivering justice seriously. One of the officers is forced to turn coat as a federal informant, which makes things a fiasco for everyone else. Lopez stars as Harlee McCord, who is at a crossroads between keeping her family safe and keeping her brothers in blue safe.
Liotta, who hasn’t been on TV since the 2007 crime drama Smith, will star as Lt. Bill Wozniak, the respect-earning father figure for the group. He’ll do whatever it takes to help his officers, but once he finds out that one of them has flipped, he goes apeshit looking for the betrayer. He’s also set to appear opposite Bill Paxton and Thomas Jane in the western Texas Rising.
De Matteo, who hasn’t stopped being a regular TV face since joining The Sopranos, will play Shirley Nazario, a mother of three whose allegiance to her family comes under fire when her paranoid suspicions start to take over. She may be loud and abrasive, but she’s actually pretty insecure on the inside. The actress is also set to appear in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. later this year.
Laresca, who also starred in CSI: Miami< will play Tony Espada, referred to by THR as the “bulldog and moral compass for his team.” He truly loves his partners, but he’s hiding his romantic love for a married team member. Laresca also appeared in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and will soon be seen in the comedy Hot Pursuit.
Kole, meanwhile, will star on the opposite side of corruption as Robert Staal, an ambition-spewing FBI agent who is determined to earn his place. Unfortunately, his obsession with his informant makes building a case against the other corrupt cops that much more difficult. Kole most recently had a recurring role on CBS’ Stalker.
Written by 3 Days to Kill scribe Adi Hasak, with a pilot directed by Barry Levinson, Shades of Blue will debut its 13-episode first season on NBC later this year.