After 20 years, J. Lo is making a triumphant return to acting on TV


Get excited, J. Lo fans — which is to say, get excited, everyone. The queen of R&B/pop/Hollywood/literally everything, it’s not even fair shared a teaser for her upcoming TV show Shades of Blue on Twitter last night, and a promo image on Instagram this morning:

Lopez, who also serves as an executive producer, stars as Harlee Santos, an ethically questionable detective and single mom who goes undercover for the FBI. Rounding out the NBC drama’s cast are The Hunger Games’ Dayo Okeniyi (!), The Sopranos’ Drea de Matteo (!!), and Ray Liotta (!!!).

Shades of Blue was ordered straight to series in February, and is expected to premiere early next year. This is a big deal. For one thing, TV shows anchored by Latina actresses remain all too rare. At the moment, there’s Jane the Virgin, Devious Maids, and Cristela, which was cancelled by ABC but has been picked up by Hulu for a second season. (Sofia Vergara’s role on Modern Family is also worth mentioning, although she’s only one member of an equally prominent ensemble cast.) With J. Lo as its cornerstone, this high-profile network series will represent a milestone for Latina visibility and recognition on TV.

Shades of Blue is also a career landmark for Lopez. After all, TV gave Jenny from the Block her breakout gig. She joined the Fly Girl dancers on In Living Color from 1991, which she followed up with regular roles on 1993’s Second Chances and 1994’s Hotel Malibu.

Since then, J. Lo’s certainly made her mark on reality television — with a four-season tenure as a judge on American Idol — and appeared in films grossing a total of more than $2 billion. But outside of guest spots on Will & Grace and How I Met Your Mother, she hasn’t acted on television in more than two decades.

Finally, she’s back, and she’s (literally) running the show.

Molly Fitzpatrick is senior editor of Fusion’s Pop & Culture section. Her interests include movies about movies, TV shows about TV shows, and movies about TV shows, but not so much TV shows about movies.

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