Aug Sept 2016
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The Advocate

Ray Liotta Surprises With Same-Sex Kiss on J. Lo's New Show

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Last night’s episode of the NBC cop drama Shades of Blue (which stars pop music icon Jennifer Lopez in the lead role) had a few big surprises for its viewers, the biggest one being a completely unexpected same-sex kiss between two main characters. 

Ray Liotta (who plays Lopez’s corrupt New York Police Department colleague Matt Wozniak) shared an on-screen kiss with costar Michael Esper (who plays a fellow cop named Donnie Pomp) despite already being married to a woman. The queer plot line in Shades of Blue comes as a pleasant surprise from the show’s creators, especially considering the usual heteronormativity and masculinity that is so typical of crime dramas.

Ray Liotta

The idea to make Liotta’s character bisexual came as a spur-of-the moment thing during the writing of the script, reports film and television news site The Wrap. 

“I never envisioned him as a gay character but I was writing a scene between him and Donnie Pomp, the two heavies, and it was, to be honest, a really fucking boring scene between two macho guys explaining things to each other,” Shades of Blue creator and executive producer Adi Hasak told The Wrap. “The characters had no vulnerability, especially the character of Wozniak. So he just leaned forward, and I had the two men share a kiss. Once that happened, the character of Wozniak was really born.”

The Wrap also reports that Liotta knew of Wozniak’s bisexuality before he committed to the role and that the kiss was originally intended to be featured in the pilot episode of the series. 

“Ray can do no wrong by me,” Hasak continued. “Wozniak is not defined by being a macho character who’s also gay. This is the beginning of unraveling several levels of the psyche of this character.”

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