Jennifer Lopez as Detective Harlee Santos with Drea de Matteo as Detective Tess Nazario in a scene from the second season of Shades of Blue. Picture: Supplied

Jennifer Lopez is 47, but she has the taut body and wrinkle-free skin of a 30-something. When it comes to ageing, time really does stand still for Lopez.
I’ve followed her career since the days of In Living Colour and her debut album, On the 6, released.

When it came to derrières, hers was the talk of tinseltown. Yes, this was in an era pre-dating the deluge of reality TV, social media stars and the birth of Kim Kardashian and her clan and Nicki Minaj.

J-Lo was, and still is, an original and iconic figure. She’s weathered more than her fair share of failed relationships. But her star quality never diminished - even though some of her movies may have faded into oblivion.

Most of her big screen credits were linked to rom-coms. My favourites being The Wedding Planner, Maid in Manhattan and The Back-Up Plan. When the script mandated a more sobering performance, she brought it in abundance in Enough and An Unfinished Life.

TV-wise, though, Shades of Blue is her magnum opus. In playing Detective Harlee Santos, she silenced any criticism about her being a one-dimensional actress.

She has played this hard-hitting character, trapped in a Catch-22 situation, with finesse.

And she has mastered her emotional range over the years, too. This is evident in how she flits so effortless between rage, frustration, fear and love.

Even with her character getting into bed with the FBI, so to speak, she redeems herself with her conflicted disposition.

As for her character challenging the good cop stereotype, she told “Yeah, it is. Shades of Blue is a cop show, but it’s really a show about human nature. It’s about people - it’s about what they would do when put to the test on certain things, how you can be a good person and really do f****d-up things. And we do all the time.”

Interestingly, helming the series was not part of the original plan.

She says, “No, no. Elaine (Goldsmith-Thomas) brought it to me for us to produce together. When we went into NBC and pitched it, they loved the whole idea, and they were like, “You’re not playing this role?” Bob Greenblatt said to me, ‘You play this role, we’ll do it right now’. This is an amazing role, and it really made me think, okay, this is something that I want to happen.”

Aside from Shades of Blue, she’s also in a comedy called, Mothers I’d Like To, where she also doubles as a producer. And she is set to play drug lord Griselda Blanco for an HBO made-for-TV movie. There’s another comedy on the cards along with both a legal and a futuristic drama in the pipeline.

She may have started out as Jenny from the Block but now she is kinda owning it. How can we not salute her strides in Hollywood? And it was all through sheer hard work, tenacity and talent. Traits that are fast-becoming obsolete by commercially driven network executives compromising on quality just to see the moolah rolling in by casting social media stars in productions.