Robert Stahl may be out of the picture on Shades of Blue, but the season 3 finale, which puts an ending to the dramatic series, airs tonight, and Harlee Santos’ problems are far from over. As Santos heads in to face the police commission, her spy, Anthony Cole, isn’t answering his phone and has not shown up. Santos promised a witness. What happened to Cole? In a preview clip of the finale, Santos is shown having to face the commission herself.
Meanwhile, another betrayal goes down, when Tess Nazario appears to play for the other team, staging an accident so that cartel offspring Enrique Ortiz can be set free. According to Digital Spy, Jennifer Lopez has stated that the ending to season 3 of Shades of Blue is “tragic”, but “poetic and beautiful”. So, does the series end in death? Does it end in jail time for our favorite dirty cops? Will Lieutenant Matt Wozniak and his crew be able to bring down Jordan Ramsey?
Read on below for the live recap of the series finale of Shades of Blue, for all the spoilers on what happens tonight.
The episode opens with Santos’ daughter, Cristina, asleep in a motel room, as Santos watches over her. Woz arrives and Santos steps outside to talk about how her daughter helped her to bring down Stahl. Woz warns Santos that she will be sworn in at the police commission, but she says it’s her plan to have Cole testify.
Santos knocks on Cole’s room door, as he is staying in the motel. She tells Cole to meet Loman at 1:05 p.m. ET for him to testify. Santos arrives at the hearing and sees Loman in the stairwell, but no sign of Cole. Internal Affairs Detective Verco presses Santos to begin and she is forced to start the proceedings without her key witness. Santos says that racketeering and murder are being carried out by the police in criminal affairs. Santos then says that she will not be giving testimony and that her witness will.
Meanwhile, Gail Baker, waits on the arrival of Ortiz, who is being watched by Tess Nazario and Woz. Nazario gets in the car to deliver Ortiz.
As Santos begins to get questioned, Ramsey shows up to participate, as a member of the police commission. Santos is asked to reveal the name of her witness and she says that she refuses to do so until they arrive. Ramsey then says to Santos that he will ensure the safety of her witness if she reveals their identity. Santos knows this is anything but the truth.
As Nazario drives Ortiz, she pulls an unexpected move and fakes a crash with her patrol car, allowing for Ortiz to escape. She also fakes an injury. One of Ortiz’s cohorts drops a red tag, with the numbers 077 on it, into Nazario’s car. She pockets it.
Tufo goes to Cole’s motel room, hoping to find him there, but only finds the motel maid.
Back in front of the commission, Santos pleads for the proceedings to be delayed. The commission agrees to hold off until 4 p.m. ET, otherwise Santos will have to testify. Santos leaves to find Cole, while Nazario answers to Baker, who wants to know how Ortiz could have escaped from her vehicle.
Santos finds Cole getting on a ferry to leave the city. She pleads with him to testify and not leave her hanging. She tells him that they need to take a stand against Ramsey together. Cole tells Santos that she can get her daughter and go with him, that he’ll wait for her. Cole gets on the boat, leaving Santos to fend for herself against Ramsey, which could lead her to prison or death.
Nazario brings the tag to a coat check and gets handed a pouch containing cash. She is confronted by Woz, who asks her, “Get what you were promised?” Nazario gets in the car with Woz and tells him that she was warned by Baker not to cross him. Woz understands she needed the money and says “that’s how family works” and that “they take care of each other”.
Cristina shows up at her mom, Santos’, hearing. She tells her that she has always hoped to be an example to her, but that she must “face the music” and “come clean”. Santos says that admitting her wrongs is the only want to make things right for everyone. Cristina pleads with her to not speak out at the hearing.
As Ramsey waits for the hearing to start again, Woz calls him and brings a threat against him, forcing Ramsey to cower when it comes to the Ortiz situation. Woz calls Santos and tells her that he has a recording against Ramsey. He begs her not to enter the hearing, while she pleads with him to send her the recording. She promises not to implicate anyone else, while he says he won’t let her give herself up. As her daughter and crew look on, Santos decides to “face the music.” She looks down at her phone and sees that Woz has sent her the recording.
Santos says she has not been able to locate her witness, but that she will testify against the intelligence unit, headed by Ramsey. Santos tells them she has a recording of Ramsey speaking to the cartel and she plays it for the commission and the rest of the room. Ramsey says that Santos is misinterpreting the recording. Santos then brings up Detective Parker’s killing and admits to accidentally killing a longshoreman. She then talks about her boyfriend Nava’s death and its connection. Woz and Nazario have entered the room and are listening to the testimony, as she tries to go up against Ramsey.
Santos says that she’s made excuses for breaking the law and has endangered the lives of others. She says that she betrayed herself and lied to everyone around her, but that she is done with the cover-ups. She also says she’s done being afraid and asks the board why she would bring up these issues if she wasn’t telling the truth. The commission then turns to Ramsey.
Wozniak is in his garage as Santos shows up. Ramsey was arrested and his assets were frozen. Woz, who is no longer a fugitive, wants to celebrate, telling Santos that her desk is full of witness statements from other officers. Woz tries to reassure Santos that a jury will not convict her of her confessed crimes. She tells Woz that she’s going to take a plea even though her badge will be taken.
Santos says she isn’t quitting, but that she is starting over. Woz tells her that Cristina will need her every night. Santos then asks Woz that he and the crew to take care of her daughter while she is in prison, until she gets out. Santos cries, “Take care of my baby,” as Woz tears up and hugs her. Santos tells Woz that this is her second chance. He tells her that actually, she was his second chance and that she was a gift to him. The two cry and embrace.
Ramsey is shown heading to prison on a bus. Woz then comes aboard in a jumpsuit and cuffs, let loose by the officer on the bus. Woz strangles Ramsey to death. Clearly, Woz is no prisoner. And with that, the man who caused Santos to turn herself in dies.
Wozniak’s wife shows Cristina to her new room in their house, which appears to be their late daughter’s old room. Cristina tells her that the room is “perfect the way it is”. Wozniak drops Santos off at jail and offers to walk her in, but she declines. Woz tells her that if anyone bothers her, he and Nazario have her back.
As Cristina opens her suitcase in her new room, she finds a letter from her mom. In the letter, Santos tells her that she needed to change for the better of her daughter. She wants Cristina to walk the right path. Meanwhile, Santos checks into jail as Nazario and Tufo are welcomed back to their detective desks. Loman looks over at Santos’ desk, missing her from the celebration.
Woz sees Cristina reading the letter and feels a kiss on the cheek from his late daughter, whose image still haunts him.
In Santos’ letter, she tells Cristina that only after we face our fears, are we finally free.