Catching up with the Cast of NBC’s SHADES OF BLUE
NBC series Shades of Blue offers a fresh slant on the NYPD, as detectives strive to enforce the law without being influenced by corruption within. Jennifer Lopez, and other members of the cast and crew, joined NBC for a panel discussion with the press at this year’s winter TCAs.
Jennifer, what was it like for you filming the entire season at once, not knowing how the series will be received?
JENNIFER LOPEZ (Executive Producer/Star): It was nerve‑racking. Just doing the show itself was very challenging. Doing an hour drama is probably one of the hardest gigs in show business, and it’s very demanding. Doing a show like this is such an emotional roller coaster for me and a lot of the characters. It’s very challenging. At the end of the day, you just have to give it your all, put your heart into it, put everything on the line, and see what happens. That’s how I kind of approach everything anyway.
What does your role of Executive Producer entail on a day‑to‑day basis on the set?
JENNIFER LOPEZ: I’m really involved in every decision that goes on, from the way the set looks to what everybody is wearing to the way the scene feels, in the development of it, reading the scripts, and kind of inputting into it, the casting of the show, the bringing in of all the crew, making sure the scenes are working, everything. It’s actually a lot of fun, to be honest, to create something from the ground up like that and to be involved at such an early stage.
If you would, talk about how your schedule fit into doing the show, Idol auditions, etc.
JENNIFER LOPEZ: We knew that I would have to start doing the auditions while we were filming the show, so I would go on weekends to film Idol. It was challenging. It was hard, but we got through it, and I just tried to take it day by day. It’s just kind of compartmentalizing. I don’t really burden my mind with other stuff when I’m acting. I really feel like it needs my full attention, and then when I go off and do Idol, it’s a little bit more of a fun thing on the weekends. It was challenging to schedule, but everybody was super respectful and super helpful in helping me make it all work.
A few of you on the series have personal histories in New York City, so I’m assuming you’ve been around New York City police officers. Would you talk a little bit about that, your experience with New York City cops, how that may have impacted your roles, etc.
VINCENT LARESCA (Star): Well, in addition to being an actor, I’m also a reserve L.A. County Sheriff, so I had a lot of insight into actually being a police officer because I’ve actually done it. So, for me, especially with experience in the whole temperature in the world with police and stuff, approaching my character is a lot of times very ‘shades of blue.’ Things are not black and white. Approaching my character, I was very cognizant of that, because of my experience actually having been out there and been on traffic stops, searching people …
DAYO OKENIYI (Star): Being an uncredited consultant as well for the whole crew, teaching us how to hold a gun, how to ‑‑
VINCENT LARESCA: Cuff people.
HAMPTON FLUKER (Star): I actually live in Brooklyn and have for about two years. So, there’s a lot of tension, and sometimes that tension can be one‑sided. As an actor and an artist, to explore that side that I used to look poorly upon was such a blessing. You really do see that everyone has an opinion, everyone has a side, and everyone deserves to get a little credit for what they do. So it’s good that the show is called ‘Shades of Blue,’ because I think people really need to look at that in-between from time to time.
VINCENT LARESCA: A lot of times the ends do justify the means, and that’s what the show is about, doing something that may not be the policy, but that accomplishes what needs to be accomplished at that moment that’s for the greater good of everybody. That’s kind of what our characters are about.
Shades of Blue airs Thursdays at 10 P.M. on NBC.