Detective Harlee Santos dove further down the rabbit hole with seemingly no way out in Shades of Blue Season 1 Episode 2.
But it appears that hole opened up for her long before the FBI ever got involved.
Harlee’s fork in the road came ten years ago when she chose to set up her ex, Miguel Zepeda, for murder when he began threatening their daughter. It was a plan fraught with mistakes which Wozniak helped her fix.
Should Harlee have planted that knife? No. Do I understand why she did? Absolutely. A mother will do anything to protect her child, and I don’t feel one bit of sympathy for Zepeda as he spends the rest of his life in prison, but it has led to this…
- To the road where, for reasons right or wrong, Harlee became a crooked cop.
- To where Zepeda could get out and torment Harlee and Cristina again.
- To where Wozniak knows Harlee’s tells when she’s lying.
There’s some great storytelling here about how good intentions can go horribly, horribly wrong. Harlee only wanted to protect her daughter. Wozniak keeps schools and parks safe while taking care of his very loyal team. Agent Stahl wants to take down corruption within the NYPD.
Yet all of those admirable goals have gotten mired down in a reality where Harlee has set up a man for murder, and now the lives of her entire team are on the line. Wozniak is considering killing a member of his team, whom he looks upon like family, if he determines they are the rat, and even Agent Stahl is not immune. He wants justice but appears more than willing to put Harlee’s life on the line to get it…and close a case that will likely make his career.
One of the most entertaining points about Shades of Blue Season 1 is that there are no obvious good guys or bad guys. Yes, some are worse than others, but they appear to have all started from a point of trying to do good and taken a twisty road that led them elsewhere one decision at a time.
Then there is the overlying story of how cops today are judged, mostly by people who have no idea what it’s like to walk in their shoes. As Tufo told Loman in this Shades of Blue quote…
I know that the politicians and the crybabies that want to stand around the sidelines and criticize how we do our job never had to do our damn job or had the sac to try.Detective Tufo
There's an underlying theme here of how we can be judged for our actions under the best and worst of circumstances, and I’m curious to see how it all plays out for each of these characters.
And there's so much yet to learn, such as with Tess, who took a bottle to some poor woman’s head because she suspected she was cheating with her husband. I didn’t see that coming, and if that was Tess showing restraint, then I wonder what she’s done on the job!
But this is Harlee’s story, and she is tough, vulnerable, and desperate…which makes Shades of Blue a compelling new drama that has us hungry for more!
Check back next week for our review of Shades of Blue Season 1 Episode 3, and if you can’t wait until then, you can watch Shades of Blue online here at TV Fanatic.
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.