NBC's new show "Shades of Blue" has settled in nicely in the network's prime-time Thursday night slot. The cop drama, starring Jennifer Lopez as Harlee Santos, a morally conflicted Brooklyn cop who unwillingly becomes an FBI informant, has gotten off to a great start.
According to TV Line, the first episode, which aired Jan. 7, brought in 8.6 million viewers and a 1.8 demo rating. "Shades of Blue" also became the most-watched Thursday debut in seven years, the Wrap reports.
"It's been a super exciting week," the show's creator and executive producer Adi Hasak told International Business Times in a phone interview. "[I'm] especially thrilled for Jennifer Lopez, who really put herself out on the line [and] took a dark, twisted character-driven, cable-like show, walked it to NBC and put it all together.”
The idea for "Shades of Blue" began a year and a half ago. Hasak, who co-wrote the films “From Paris With Love” and “3 Days to Kill,” explained that he wrote the show as a spec script, which is an uncommissioned screenplay that doesn’t have a commitment from a network or studio. Spec scripts have become rare in Hollywood, but Hasak was able to sell his straight to series.
Throughout the process of getting his script made into a TV show, Hasak recruited Eileen Goldsmith Thomas, Barry Levinson, Ryan Seacrest and Nina Wass to be on his team. Lopez also signed on to be a producer, and later agreed to star on the show.
"It’s been amazing just watching her," Hasak told IBT. “The reviews have been stellar, specifically mentioning Jennifer. I’m really proud this has been some of her best work since 'Out of Sight,' which was the inspiration for the character Harlee.”
“Shades of Blue” also stars Drea de Matteo, Ray Liotta, Warren Kole and Dayo Okeniyi. The series focuses on a group of police officers who extort businesses and accept cash and gifts in exchange for protecting criminals.
"I think one of the reasons the show works and people connected to it is because it goes way, way beyond them just being cops. It’s about them being individuals who got caught up. I like to say no one is born corrupt, it starts in little steps," Hasak said. "And this investigates that. It investigates really good people. It was important they were good people, who strayed and how does it affect them as individuals and how does it affect them as a team. And you’ll see that in future episodes."
Hasak also promised that fans can expect the remainder of the first season to be just as intense as the Jan. 7 premiere.
"When it comes down to creators it’s to engage the audience in such a way that the show really rises above the noise. And if you think of our viewing habits, we watch a show and then we have the iPad in one hand and the phone in the other hand and we’re multitasking,” he said. “My job is to make them lower the phone so they engage with me.”
Even though "Shades of Blue” is only a few episodes into its debut season, Hasak said he could see the cop drama sticking around for at least five seasons.
“We’ve kind of worked out the overall arcs," he revealed. "I’m just focused on getting to year two but I think this is a show that has multiple layers and can stay true to its core theme that it’s working on and can be prosperous for quite some time. There’s so many roads we can follow with these characters."
The creator also revealed episodes 6 and 7 are among his favorites and teased a shocking character death is on the horizon.
"[Episode] 1 is always your favorite because it launches the universe," Hasak said. "But episodes 6 and 7, when the most drastic things possible are done; it kind of reboots the entire show in a very, very exciting way."
“Shades of Blue” airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. EST on NBC.