SHADES OF BLUE Review: “Good Cop, Bad Cop”



Airtime: Thursdays at 10PM on NBC
Episode: Season 1, Episode 8 (S01E08)

Tweetable Takeaway: Santos turns on Woz for murdering Saperstein, the sweetest guy on the team in #ShadesOfBlue

“Good Cop, Bad Cop” feels like the kind of episode is all about: the difficulties of imperfect people making tough choices about keeping the peace in an environment where justice rarely exists. These police officers often enjoy little support, few victories, and steady losses.

Shades of Blue - Season 1

Team Woz deals with the loss of Saperstein.

Woz informs Saperstein’s mom he died at the hospital. He’s genuinely upset but it could be for a number of reasons. Maybe he really liked Sap and was broken hearted by the alleged betrayal. There’s a possibility he feels bad about throwing Sap off the fourth floor to begin with. Santos knows Woz killed Saperstein and she’s mad as hell about that. But she also feels responsible for putting Saperstein in the crosshairs to begin with, and she hates herself for that. It’s a dark time for this woman, but she’s resilient and it will feel good when she gets the upper hand.

Santos confronts Woz about killing Saperstein, and he admits he lied to her about letting him live. As bad as that is, they have other pressing issues. She asks him what he knew about the witness to Rita’s murder. Maxine Durden witnessed the murder and made the 911 call. Woz has been sending her $500 a month for ten tears to keep quiet. Santos feels like he uses his favors as leverage to control her. He contends he’s been taking care of the whole team’s mistakes for ten years. It certainly seems like a little of both. Santos made a mess of framing Zepeda, she would be in jail if Woz had not stepped in. The fact that she’s had any time with her daughter at all is because Woz fixed it.

Woz meets with Tess, Espada, Tufo and Santos about remembering all the great things Saperstein did with them and get over the one bad thing he might have done against them. Tess has the hardest time moving past Saperstein’s betrayal, and then receives some baseball game tickets he left her for. He knew she was having problems and thought they might make a nice distraction. Saperstein was portrayed as a sweet, loyal character that selflessly put his team first. Besides Woz needing him on the team, the show needed it. With Sap’s departure, this might be a role for Loman. Santos recommends he transfer to homicide at a different precinct. She thinks he’s a good cop and wants him to stay that away by keeping clear of her team. She too much on her plate already and protecting Loman probably isn’t in the cards.

Cristina takes a look at justice through Harlee’s warped lens.

Cristina’s boyfriend, Manny, gets beat up by cops in the park. She captures it all on her camera phone but is afraid to show it to her mother because she was also smoking pot and kissing the boyfriend she isn’t supposed to have. Manny doesn’t think the cops will do anything about it, but she convinces him to trust her.

Cristina turns to Woz for Help. At first, the racist cops lie about the incident; they say Manny was already fighting when they arrived. Then, Cristina shows the video to Woz and he lets Harlee take a look. Clearly the cops harassed Manny and threatened Cristina. They beat Manny when he stood up to defend her daughter. Imagine the damage a video like that would do to the department. Cristina wants to know the abusive cops will be arrested, but Harlee tells her that really isn’t possible. Cristina doesn’t understand and is disappointed her mother enables this clear injustice.

Woz sends Loman to the bar where the cops drink and lures them out back where the rest of the team ambush and kick their asses. This is his form of justice; even Loman can get behind it. Santos thanks Manny for protecting Cristina but forbids them from drinking or smoking together. She doesn’t ease up the curfew either. Mom rules!

Shades of Blue - Season 1

Stahl pokes at Nava with an ethics charge.

Gail wants Stahl to connect Woz’s C-4 to the explosive used to clear the hospital. He doesn’t think that is possible and even if it was, it would make him look bad. Still it seems like decent probable cause for a homeland terror warrant. Instead, Stahl pressures Santos to make Woz confess to murdering Saperstein on record. Meanwhile, he looks at the Zepeda’s connection to Woz and confronts Nava about ethical issues with his relationship to Santos. Nava is a straight shooter with impeccable integrity. He doesn’t react to the accusation well.

Nava tells Santos about his talk with Stahl and wants to know if she just used him for access to Zepeda’s file. Santos is honest, even though it makes her look bad, she admits that was part of it in the beginning but she really does like him now.

Stahl accuses Santos of being completely manipulated by Woz. Then, she explains the truth behind Zepeda’s abuse and relationship to her. She confesses framing him to protect Cristina. Stahl promises to drop the Zepeda investigation if Santos will deliver useful cause against Woz. She agrees to wear a wire to nail him. Killing Saperstein was too far; she can’t enable his kind of justice anymore. Cristina might be young and naïve, but Harlee didn’t like the filter of corruption her daughter cast on her.

Moving forward.

What’s with all the cyber stalking? We’ve seen Stahl’s weird energy when it comes to watching Santos, this week he’s cropping close ups of her from surveillance photos on his work computer? This whole creepy issue has to blow up some time soon.



Eric lives in a world where the television is great, the smiles are warm, the pizza is hot, the puppies are playful, and the zombies are slow and meander while he reloads.

Twitter: @etom2012

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