Wozniak Desperately Tries to Hide His Secrets on Shades of Blue

Mary Murphy
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NBC

On the NBC cop drama Shades of Blue, NYPD detective Matt Wozniak (Ray Liotta) breaks all the rules. He has had perps murdered instead of arresting them. He’s married but leading a closeted gay life, including a relationship with a male Internal Affairs agent. He’s planning a multimillion-dollar heist. And now he’s pushing the boundaries even further.

The dirty cop believes Detective Saperstein (Santino Fontana) is the rat in his squad who has been working with the FBI as an informant, and he went to extreme lengths to close that leak in the February 11 episode, pushing Sap off a building. This week, as Sap clings to life, Wozniak uses Machiavellian methods to keep his secrets from being exposed. “Wozniak is extremely paranoid,” Liotta explains during lunch near his Los Angeles home overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

The 61-year-old actor says he’s enjoying the complexities of his character. His favorite scenes are those with star Jennifer Lopez, whose Det. Harlee Santos is like a daughter to Wozniak (and is, in fact, the squad’s mole). Liotta describes Lopez as a “cool chick” who is always prepared and never a diva on set—that’s his role, he jokes.

RELATED: Jennifer Lopez Braves the Complicated World of Corrupt Cops

The relationship between Santos and Wozniak is at the heart of the series, but their bond will be increasingly threatened, including an intense argument this week. One thing is sure: Liotta promises that Wozniak will uncover the truth about Harlee before the end of the season, “by the process of elimination,” he says. “Cops are hyperaware of people’s feelings.”

Liotta, best known for a film career that includes a starring role in Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-nominated Goodfellas, admits that in the past he would have scoffed at doing a TV series. “It meant you were out to pasture,” he says. “Now it is just the opposite. That’s why I did this. I hope it leads to better movies.”

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Shades of Blue, Thursdays, 10/9c, NBC