You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Dark Blue

Cop drama takes far fewer chances than its life-risking protagonists.

Carter Shaw - Dylan McDermott Ty Curtis - Omari Hardwick Dean Bendis - Logan Marshall-Green Jaimie Allen - Nicki Aycox

TNT is smartly pairing “Dark Blue” — a new drama about a deep-cover special police unit — with the return of “Leverage,” essentially another post-Cold War variant on “Mission: Impossible.” The Jerry Bruckheimer label ensures that the new project will be dark, gritty and handsomely produced, though for the most part the series hews closely to safe procedural terrain — taking far fewer chances than its life-risking protagonists. “Blue” does offer a few zestier character flourishes toward the end, but the dreary first mission is better executed than conceived.

Wearing a three-day beard and perpetual scowl, Dylan McDermott stars as Carter Shaw, a driven cop still brooding over personal loss. His elite team includes the recently married Ty (Omari Hardwick), the brash Dean (Logan Marshall-Green) and the fresh-faced Jaimie (Nicki Aycox).

It’s the kind of world where the good guys occasionally have to do (or at least ignore) very bad things so they can maintain their cover and thus utter lines like “No one has ever been this close” to a nefarious crook. In the premiere, said criminal’s evil is immediately established by an opening sequence in which a hostage is tortured, if nothing else suggesting that this might be Dick Cheney’s favorite program.

Directed by “CSI” alum Danny Cannon and written by Doug Jung (with the two sharing story credit), the show exhibits little interest in exploring any new ground — a meat-and-potatoes approach that has characterized most of TNT’s development; rather, the cable net’s formula generally relies on playing to an audience that doesn’t mind soaking in shows that could just as easily be found on a 1970s or ’80s primetime roster.

What “Dark Blue” lacks, initially, is the kind of star wattage that has brightened the best components of TNT’s original-series lineup, with McDermott proving a bland lead and his charges remaining works in progress. A second episode focusing on Hardwick’s character proves crisply efficient but doesn’t stray far from the cop-braving-exposure formula (and while Kyle Secor pops up in the premiere as a fed probing Shaw’s unit, perhaps unfortunately, he isn’t a series regular).

“I’m not worried about when you come back,” Ty’s wife tells him between assignments. “I’m worried about who you are when you do.”

The depths to which law enforcement must go to thwart crime is a story as old as the hills, and would seem to require some new wrinkle to sustain it and stand apart from the crowd. Lacking that, this show is plenty “Dark” alright, but it’s an awfully thin “Blue” line.

Dark Blue

TNT, Wed. July 15, 10 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by Jerry Bruckheimer Television in association with Warner Horizon Television. Executive producers, Bruckheimer; Jonathan Littman, Danny Cannon, Doug Jung, Rick Eid; co-executive producer, KristieAnne Reed; producer, Randy Sutter; director, Cannon; writer, Doug Jung; story by Cannon, Jung.

Crew: Camera, Nathan Hope; production designer, Doug Kraner; editor, Chris Peppe; music, Graeme Revell, David Russo; casting, April Webster, Lonnie Hamerman. 60 MIN.

Cast: Carter Shaw - Dylan McDermott Ty Curtis - Omari Hardwick Dean Bendis - Logan Marshall-Green Jaimie Allen - Nicki Aycox

More TV

  • BETTER THINGS "Monsters in the Moonlight""

    'Better Things' Renewed for Season 4 at FX

    FX has renewed Pamela Adlon’s comedy series “Better Things” for a fourth season. The fourth season is slated to air in 2020. “With every season, ‘Better Things’ becomes more vital, engaging and revelatory, cementing Pamela Adlon’s status as one of the most accomplished creative forces in television today,” said John Landgraf, chairman of FX Networks [...]

  • Jessica Rodriguez Strictly Business Podcast

    Listen: Univision's Jessica Rodriguez on Shaking Up a Traditional TV Brand

    With new leadership in place at Univision, the network is evolving in ways its fast-growing Hispanic audience in the U.S. might find surprising. Look no further than the broadcaster’s primetime schedule, according to Jessica Rodriguez, CMO of Univision Communications and president/COO of Univision Networks, who relied on audience research to shake up traditional notions of [...]

  • Ava DuVernay Toby Emmerich Michael Douglas

    Ava DuVernay, Toby Emmerich, Michael Douglas to Speak at Produced By Conference

    Ava DuVernay, Toby Emmerich, and Michael Douglas will speak at the Producers Guild of America’s 11th Produced By Conference. The event will be held on June 8-9 at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, Calif. Other notable speakers include Netflix executive Cindy Holland; Blumhouse producer Marci Wiseman; “Homecoming” showrunners Micah Bloomberg and Eli Horowitz; Entertainment One [...]

  • Jake Kasdan and Melvin Mar

    Jake Kasdan and Melvin Mar Sign New Overall Deal at 20th Century Fox

    “Fresh Off the Boat” and “Speechless” executive producers Jake Kasdan and Melvin Mar have signed a new overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television, Variety has learned. The move marks the third overall the studio has signed since it officially became a part of Disney, after “Pretty Little Liars” producer I. Marlene King and “Daredevil” creator Drew [...]

  • Jussie Smollett Assult Fake

    Jussie Smollett: News of Dropped Charges Draws Strong Reactions on Both Sides

    The news that the charges against “Empire” star Jussie Smollett have been dropped drew strong reactions on both sides of the issue online Tuesday. The official Twitter account of the “Empire” writers’ room celebrated the news, tweeting a photo of the news being announced and the message “See y’all Wednesday.” Others accused the actor and [...]

  • Jean Francois Helene Etzi

    Disney's French Chief Jean-Francois Camilleri Exiting, Helene Etzi Upped

    Jean-Francois Camilleri is leaving Disney after more than 30 years and will replaced as the head of its French operation by Helene Etzi. Sources said Camilleri’s departure was his own decision. He announced his exit on Twitter, Tuesday, and paid tribute to his team and colleagues at Disney, thanking them for the “unique adventure.” In [...]

  • Sal Petruzzi, Turner's U.S. Communications Chief,

    Sal Petruzzi, Turner's U.S. Communications Chief, to Step Down

    Sal Petruzzi, who has supervised U.S. communications outreach for the Turner suite of media businesses, will step down from the role as the unit, once part of Time Warner, is making a transition under the ownership of AT&T. “There comes a point in your career when it is time to say goodbye,” Petruzzi said in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content