A SHOT IN THE DARK
The new cop series Dark Blue isn’t quite moody enough for Guy Davis.
However, despite some engaging performances and intriguing storylines, the substance can’t keep pace with the style, leaving this moody, brooding drama feeling a little run-of-the-mill.
It’s a bit of a shame, actually, because I’m a fan of its leading man, Dylan McDermott, making a return to the small screen here after his long run on The Practice.
He’s a dab hand at portraying earnest good guys with a somewhat ragged edge and shady moral code, and he pulls off the soulfully dishevelled look with panache.
So his Dark Blue role as Carter Shaw, the head of an LAPD undercover unit so top secret most of his fellow officers don’t even know it exists, fits him like an all-black wardrobe and aviator shades. ( Yes, that’s Shaw’s outfit of choice.)
A widower with no life outside his job, Shaw’s the kind of guy who looks at the city streets and mutters “ I see everything that needs to be fixed” – he’s a spiritual cousin to other Bruckheimer badasses such as CSI: Miami’s Horatio Caine ( David Caruso) or Without a Trace’s Jack Malone ( Anthony LaPaglia).
But fixing the streets is too big a task for one man, so Shaw needs people just as driven – and probably just as damaged – as he is.
Ty Curtis ( Omari Hardwick) seems the most balanced of the team, although the nature of his work is driving a wedge between himself and his wife.
Dean Bendis ( Logan Marshall-Green) immerses himself so deeply in his deepcover operations in criminal organisations that his colleagues wonder whether he’s on the verge of swapping sides.
And then there’s new recruit Jaimie Allen ( Nicki Aycox), whose history is a mystery.
This renegade team, enforcing the law by stretching its boundaries to the limit, face off against the worst of the worst – arms dealers, drug barons, terrorists – and the physical danger they face is nothing compared to the subscription-channel series such as The Wire or The Shield.
There are some really interesting dramatic possibilities in the high-stakes arena of undercover work, but in the end Dark Blue only inches its toe over the line. If it were to commit itself a bit more ( and given that it’s been given the go-ahead for a second season, it still might), it could truly be something to be reckoned with.