*Season 2 of “Shades of Blue” begins after Harlee (Jennifer Lopez) has killed Miguel and tensions run high after her crew realizes she has collaborated with the feds and they are under intense scrutiny from the FBI and Internal Affairs. Adding to the pressure is Harlee’s complicated relationship with her daughter and Lt. Wozniak (Ray Liotta).
EUR/Electronic Urban Report chatted with Jennifer during the Television Critics Press Association Tour in January, about how she intends to push Harlee’s narrative this season…specifically in terms of this hot damn mess she’s in with Woz and the feds.
“The mess just becomes even bigger. The moral lines and ethical lines are pushed even further, and the struggle becomes even more intense for her because of her daughter, because of who she is as a person and her beliefs,” she said.
“I think what people respond to in Harlee’s character is that, at the end of the day, she’s not she may have been a cop who, you know, they went around the neighborhood and they collected money and stuff, but they weren’t, in their minds, bad cops. They were really holding the line to what it takes and pushing those areas of black and white and getting in the gray areas there of what it takes to maintain justice and to keep neighborhoods safe,” Lopez explained.
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She continued: “But she was pushed into a further conundrum of what her moral and ethical lines were, and this year, I feel like it goes even further into what she believes is right and wrong. And why people like her is because I think my job is to always keep her truthful but, beyond that, that they feel like she’s still even though you are seeing her do the most outrageous, heinous things, that you still believe that she’s a good person. If I can do that, if I can show you that heart, if I can show you that humanity, then I’m doing my job as far as Harlee is concerned. And I think that we were able to do that this season even with all of the things that this one came up with for me to do that were awful, and for him, too.”
SPOILER ALERT = last season ended with Woz helping the rookie Loman (Dayo Okeniyi) cover up the death of Woz’s lover and colleague. So when we asked Ray to describe the dynamic between the duo this season, he noted that it’s all about having his boy’s back… even if it means going a little crazy with it.
“I protect him at times, he starts becoming appreciative of all the tentacles I have that are out there,” Liotta told us. “I think I save him from himself or from something… because, everybody, they do something bad, and then they come to me. So they like me when I can help them, and they don’t when I’m going crazy.”
Fans curious about whether Harlee’s relationship with ADA James Nava (Gino Anthony Pesi) will last this season — Lopez touched on the thematic arc for the couple.
“I think Nava represents for Harlee, like, that life that she could have if she could get out of the mess that she’s in and that she’s kind of created for herself. He’s like the dream. And he keeps coming back to help her,” she explained. “Instead of him kind of rescuing her, she somehow sucks him into her world unintentionally. He just gets caught up in the mess of what happens this season in a really bad way.”
“Harlee is just, you know, again, one of these characters that is so complicated in that she’s so pulled to Woz and she’s so pulled to the loyalty and the code of what they have and what they must do and, at the same time, struggling with her own moral compass as a mother and as a good person and wanting to be a good person after what she’s done, I think, at the beginning of this season, after having killed Miguel at the end of last season — which she felt that she had no choice, that she would never be free of him — to then, at the beginning of this season, say to her daughter, “I don’t want to do this anymore. I promise I’m going to make better choices,” and then to be sucked back in, again, because of the complexities of the relationship she has with Woz and the crew and her loyalty to them.”
Lopez explained that Harlee’s history with domestic violence at the hands of her ex and the father of her child is “part of her character, and it’s something I have to factor in,” she said during TCA.
Adding, “I think it’s a key element to her character of why she can’t… it’s like that vicious cycle of abuse that she can’t get out of, that she is, in her mind, at the base. One of the things that I play with a lot with Harlee in a lot of the scenes and even with the scenes with Woz and Stahl is that she is an abused woman and can’t get out of the relationship and really wants to and really is trying to. So she compromises herself constantly for her love of this person or, you know, her what she needs to do to get the upper hand on that person, and it’s just you know, it is kind of an abusedwoman mentality that she’s trying to heal.”
“Shades of Blue” returns on Sunday, March 5, at 10 p.m.