Third-episode verdict: Dark Blue

The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 3

Dark Blue, the TNT show doing its level best to be dark and gritty but hobbled by being a Jerry Bruckheimer production, has now made it to its third episode so time to pass verdict.

On the whole, it’s pretty much the same as it was before. Perhaps a little more coherent compared to the first episode and obviously not trying as hard, but more or less the same. 

In fact, the set-up has become marginally less interesting, now the question of whether Logan Marshall-Green (unrecognisable compared with his Traveler character) has switched sides has been answered. Each episode seems to revolve around the cops having to prove they’re crims – usually something that involves knowing some useless fact about some other crim – things going badly wrong, and some crap plan being devised at the last minute to make it all turn out right, usually with Dylan McDermott swirling around in his raincoat.

Episode two did try to alter the formula, in which our goodies do nothing too bad and only pretend to, by having them trying to sell drugs to get $100,000 for an arms deal after one of the twatty undercover operatives decided to go home for his wife’s birthday (as you do). But again, nothing too bad happened, no one did anything too awful, and frankly, they all should have been rumbled within the first few seconds of the episode.

Episode three was a marked improvement, however, with our heroes finally doing things perhaps they shouldn’t have done, misusing witnesses and getting good people killed as a result. This is probably the ‘dark’ in the title that they’ve been searching for for a while. If it carries on in this vein, it might be tolerable.

There are two big problems with the show: Dylan McDermott, with his fluffy hair, who undermines any attempt by the rest of the cast to look street or to be able to masquerade as undercover cops; and the lack of real edge. It’s just so Bruckheimer that you know this is as close to reality as Spooks or 24. The undercover cops all hang out together, they take about ten seconds to set up their fake identities each week, and the baddies never shoot first and ask questions later. Frankly, you long for the days of Miami Vice and Don Johnson, just to show them vaguely what having an undercover identity might be like. Which should show you how far off Dark Blue is.

It’s just about worth watching for Logan Marshall-Green, who shows the others how it should be done, but other than that, there’s not much to redeem the show and make it something you’d want to stick with.

Carusometer rating: 3
Rob’s prediction: Will probably last about a season at most


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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