Joel Stevens (played by Donnie Wahlberg) is a Los Angeles police detective who, on the outside, appears to have the perfect life. He made detective in a short amount of time; he has a beautiful wife named Kelly and a son called Willie. Tom Turcotte is jealous of Joel’s rapid rise through the ranks, while Ray Hechler is critical of what he perceives as Joel’s holier-than-thou attitude.
But Joel’s life is not as easy as it appears. Kelly has been battling depression since their daughter Emma died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Kelly tried to kill herself about a week before the start of the series, an incident Joel does his best to cover up. Meanwhile, Joel is torn between Kelly and his growing feelings for paramedic Teresa Ortiz, one of the few people who knows the truth about Kelly’s suicide attempt.
Joel has a strong bond with his partner Fearless. He confides in Fearless about Kelly’s depression, and when Fearless confronts the man who abused him as a child, Joel tells him he “brought a shovel” just in case.