"Shades of Blue" marks a return to series TV for Jennifer Lopez. "Shades of Blue" marks a return to series TV for Jennifer Lopez. "Shades of Blue" on NBC marks a return to series TV for Jennifer Lopez. (Photo: Paul Kramer / NBC)

How Jennifer Lopez became one of TV’s most popular cops

'Shades of Blue' creator Adi Hasak reveals the real woman behind the role.

“Shades of Blue” has been a hit for NBC since it debuted in January, scoring a second season pickup after just five episodes aired. The cop drama stars Jennifer Lopez in a role that has surprised people who know her as a singer, dancer, romantic comedy movie star and “American Idol” judge. But as those who saw her in such movies as “Out of Sight” and "Enough" remember, Lopez is a terrific action star, too.

"Shades of Blue" is the brainchild of screenwriter Adi Hasak. Born in The Netherlands, Hasak grew up in Israel and studied at Tel Aviv University. He recently sat down for an interview with From The Grapevine at West Hollywood’s London Hotel to talk about the show and what it's like to see Lopez bring the character to life.

“She has the ability to simultaneously be vulnerable and badass, and that made her a prime candidate for the role,” Hasak said. “Sometimes when I look at her I see this wonderful, sweet woman who has a great relationship with her fans and the people who work with her. Other times I look at her and think, ‘I don’t want to mess with her.’ It’s a beautiful combination.”

It began with the script that he wrote, which eventually ended up in the hands of producer Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, who works with Lopez. Other high-powered players came aboard, including producer-director Barry Levinson as well as Ryan Seacrest, who works with Lopez on "American Idol." Then Lopez read the script, loved it and signed on not just as the lead but also as an executive producer. Once she cleared her schedule, NBC ordered 13 episodes.

“Shades of Blue” was shot on the streets of New York, and Hasak witnessed Lopez in action – which drew enormous crowds. “There were a thousand to five thousand people, and she’d cross the street to take selfies with them,” he recalled. “It was a challenge [to manage], but she likes having direct contact with her fan base. It’s very important to her. She’s very clear about having warm communication with her fans.”

And as a committed executive producer, Lopez is involved with every aspect of the show. “She was hands-on in casting. She lets the producers and writers do their work, but had a point of view about costumes, about hair and casting. Diversity was a big thing for her. She’s very collaborative,” Hasak said. “She has such a high level of professionalism.”

Adi Hasak (standing) on the set of "Shades of Blue" with (from left to right) Jennifer Lopez, Ray Liotta, and director Barry Levinson.Adi Hasak (standing) on the set of "Shades of Blue" with (from left to right) Jennifer Lopez, Ray Liotta and director Barry Levinson. (Photo: NBC)

Hasak is simultaneously working on several new series while planning the second season of “Shades of Blue.”

“It’s the same theme," he revealed about Season 2. "It’s corruption, compromise, friendships that are going to be tested repeatedly.” Hasak is hoping to start production this summer and return to air in January. New characters will likely be added, but the focus will remain on Lopez’s Harlee Santos and Ray Liotta’s Matt Wozniak.

As for the remainder of the first season, be prepared for more shocking twists, with questions that won’t be resolved until next year. “It’s an intense world with intense things going on,” Hasak explained. “There is a cliffhanger.”

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How Jennifer Lopez became one of TV’s most popular cops
'Shades of Blue' creator Adi Hasak reveals the real woman behind the role.