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DVD Review: Dark Blue: The Complete First Season

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Dark Blue is one of those rare television series that gets your pulse pounding and sustains the tension for an entire hour. Knowing that its producer is the prolific Jerry Bruckheimer, a man responsible for an impressive list of successful movies and television programs, one is not surprised by the pacing and stories that draw the audience in and hold them hostage for an hour.

Dylan McDermott stars as Carter Shaw, an undercover police lieutenant who is incredibly dedicated to his job. He is so dedicated, in fact, that it destroyed his marriage. Viewers will understand why when they see exactly what is expected of the undercover officers assigned to his team. The team is comprised of Ty Curtis (Omari Hardwick), Dean Bendis (Logan Marshall-Green), and Jaimie Allen (Nicki Aycox). The team is backed up by an assortment of criminal types to whom they turn when they need items or services not normally provided by the Los Angeles Police Department.

In addition to the criminals that are being investigated, and the criminals who are assisting, there are quite a few questionable acts by the team members themselves. Dark Blue is not especially cerebral, using violence for great dramatic effect. Sometimes it works, sometimes it feels like “more of the same.”

The pilot episode opens violently, thereby warning the viewer of what’s to come. It involves the murder of an FBI agent, whose body was dumped, and the Feds are very suspicious of one of Shaw’s team members, Dean Bendis. It seems that Bendis takes his undercover work to the max, and may—at times—become too convinced of the role he plays.

The first season episodes tread some familiar ground, often bringing new twists. Dirty cops, gangs, drugs, diamonds, and illegal arms are each the foundation of various episodes—especially drugs.  Two overused plot devices, the team-member-in-peril and the bonehead actions of some team members, are given even more mileage in Dark Blue. As the season progresses, viewers will become better acquainted with the personal side of the characters’ lives, which adds some dimension to each of them.

Despite forays into emotional health and personal affairs, Dark Blue is an action show, and the audience gets plenty of it. Lots of familiar faces show up in guest-starring roles which helps give Dark Blue a familiar feel. By involving the audience so thoroughly and giving it familiar faces along with the new, Dark Blue manages to avoid the freshman blues.

Originally shown on TNT, Dark Blue is now available exclusively online from the Warner Brothers Shop. This timely release will prepare those who have missed the first season for season two, which begins on August 4. A preview of the second season is an included bonus with Dark Blue: The Complete First Season. Here’s a sample.

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