Lopez tells EW she has 'mixed feelings' on the series finale, but hasn't ruled out a return: 'Whether she’ll come back or not.... who knows'
Warning! The following article contains major spoilers about the most recent episode of Shades of Blue. Read ahead at your own risk!
Jennifer Lopez will hang up detective Harlee Santos’ badge for good when Shades of Blue fades into its final hour this Sunday, but after three seasons of playing a character who straddles the lines of personal morals and professional ethics, the actress-producer tells EW she has “very mixed feelings” about sending hard-edged Harlee off with blood on her hands.
“It’s bittersweet, because it was such a hard role and such a demanding project for me. It took up so much of my time. And in that sense, I knew we were ready to move to the next chapter,” she says of the upcoming series finale, which is set to cap three seasons of the Adi Hasak-created NBC program in the wake of Special Agent Robert Stahl’s death-by-Harlee’s-bullet. “But, I still fell in love with the cast, the characters, and the story, and [I loved] being able to play in Harlee’s world for that much time every year for the past three years.”
That world, however, has been fraught with tension as Harlee — an investigator with a musically gifted teenage daughter — navigates the streets of New York City alongside shady peers (namely costar Ray Liotta’s Lieutenant Matt Wozniak), a demanding private life, and a taxing set of personal demons. All of which culminate in a final episode that sees Harlee testifying about systemic police corruption. But Harlee’s flaws entranced Lopez, sparking a deep desire to venture into new emotional territory as a performer.
“Something happens with certain characters you play. They kind of just permeate into your feelings, your fiber, and your soul, and I felt like I got to explore a different side of myself with Harlee: A tougher side, a more forgiving side, and a more tortured side that I have never really tapped into,” Lopez continues. “She helped me grow in so many ways, helped me become more independent; She was so independent, and she had such a strong sense of self and being. Even within all the chaos and trouble, she was always kind of walking this tightrope of morals and ethics. It was a beautiful journey.”
Lopez admits she “knew this would always be kind of a limited thing” and “not something I’d do for seven or 10 years” upon signing on to the project. But that doesn’t mean she’s ruling out a future return, perhaps after she releases Second Act — her first live-action theatrical role since 2015 — to domestic screens on Nov. 21.
“We finished [shooting Blue] last season, and where she winds up is so tragically, poetically Harlee. It’s perfect,” Lopez says of the show’s impending conclusion — the first to air after Stahl’s shocking death. “This is where it needs to be, and this is the end of that journey. Whether she’ll come back or not for some special or for another season, who knows, but for right now this is what happens for her. It’s a tragic ending, but really poetic and beautiful.”
The Shades of Blue series finale airs this Sunday, Aug. 19 at 10:00 p.m. ET on NBC.