There was only one way former FBI Special Agent Robert Stahl was going to leave Harlee alone.
He had to die.
With only one installment left, it wasn't a surprise that Stahl didn't survive to see the end of Shades of Blue Season 3 Episode 9, and yet for all of his creepiness, I'm going to miss him.
Stahl was different. He wasn't sleazy like Miguel. He wasn't pure, calculating evil like Ramsey. He was more complicated and far more intriguing.
And he deserved the end he got.
Stahl started out as a manipulated, narcissistic FBI agent determined to take down Harlee's crew, but little by little, he slipped into madness.
Part of me thinks his character could have been even more compelling if he hadn't become a complete psychopath.
During Shades of Blue Season 2, Stahl stepped over the line by using Harlee's teenage daughter to get to her, but he never harmed Cristina. As small a sign as that was, I had hoped it could be seen as a redeeming factor.
I also wondered if Stahl would have judged Harlee so harshly for killing Miguel if he knew the man was going to rape her and then go after his daughter.
But when Stahl abducted Harlee, then killed Gina, and Agent Myers, his days were numbered. There was no way he would be willing to spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Agent Katie Myers death was the most disappointing. Stahl wanted her to plant Miguel's tooth somewhere that would incriminate Harlee in his murder, which made it clear how delusional and desperate Stahl had become.
Where did he want her to plant that tooth lying on the floor of her apartment? It's been months. Wouldn't she have vacuumed it up by now? Stahl's plan didn't seem plausible.
From the scratches on Stahl, we can assume Myers put up a fight, but I do wish we had seen at least some of it. Then again, maybe we've seen enough bloodshed on this show.
In previous reviews, I had contemplated that the person who might finally take Stahl out was Cristina, and in some ways, it was.
It all happened so fast that I didn't see it coming. One moment I'm praying that Cristina makes it back out of the apartment and the next, she's telling her mother not to hesitate, and Stahl is bleeding out all over the floor.
At least he got his dying wish. Harlee was the one who pulled the trigger.
Elsewhere, Wozniak was debating with both of his children, the one who was still alive and the one who wasn't.
Nate: You know what Dad, whatever is going on right now it’s only going to come down to two choices. You either do the right thing or you do something else.
Wozniak: Black and white is a lazy way to see the world.
Was Nate forgetting that if it weren't for his father not seeing things in black and white after he attacked his sister's dealer, Nate would most likely be behind bars?
Nate had a point, his father has a choice to make, but between the cartel and the Intelligence Unit, the darkness has pretty much wiped out all of the light.
Which might be why Woz keeps having conversations with his deceased daughter, Anna Kate. This Shades of Blue quote explains everything about Wozniak's psyche and motivations.
Wozniak: I’ve tried to save you so many times. Every case. Every girl that gets in trouble. Harlee. Cristina. It’s all you.
Anna Kate: No Dad. It’s you.
Wozniak: I can’t lose you again.
Anna Kate: You’re never going to lose me but you need to find yourself.
The scenes between Wozniak and Anna Kate have been poignant and heartbreaking.
Every horrible decision that Woz has made has stemmed from pain and fear; a need to atone for his sins and protect the rest of the people he considers family.
That doesn't absolve him, but it makes him easier to understand.
One of the people Woz considers family is Tess. I've been saying that Tess would never turn on Wozniak, and I still believe it.
So why was I so nervous when she came to check on him while he watched Enrique?
Elsewhere, Harlee tried to make a deal with Detective Verco.
Harlee will have to work with the Internal Affairs officer who was previously trying to put her away, but at least unlike Stahl, Verco appears to be an honest, sane cop.
That doesn't mean this will be easy. Verco doesn't have complete control here, and he knows that his boss is in Ramsey's back pocket. That's going to make things tricky.
And even though Cole swears he'll testify, I can't help but think that Wozniak was right when he said that Cole didn't strike him as a hero. I fear that Cole could bail on Harlee at any time. Or end up dead.
I also can't help but wonder if Ramsey will face retribution from the cartel boss for his son being abducted. Will business win out over family, or will they find some sort of bloody comeuppance?
There's only one episode left, and I'm going to miss this show once it's gone very much.
Check back in for my review of the Shades of Blue series finale, and until then, you can watch Shades of Blue online here at TV Fanatic.
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.