BLUE BLOODS is a drama about a multi-generational family of cops dedicated to New York City law enforcement. Frank Reagan is the New York City Police Commissioner and heads both the police force and the Reagan brood. He runs his department as diplomatically as he runs his family, even when dealing with the politics that plagued his unapologetically bold father, Henry, during his stint as Chief. A source of pride and concern for Frank is his eldest son Danny, a seasoned detective, family man, and Iraqi War vet who on occasion uses dubious tactics to solve cases. The sole Reagan woman in the family, Erin, is a N.Y. Assistant D.A. and newly single parent, who also serves as the legal compass for her siblings and father. Jamie is the youngest Reagan, fresh out of Harvard Law and the family’s “golden boy;” however, unable to deny the family tradition, Jamie decided to give up a lucrative future in law and is now a newly minted cop. Jamie’s life takes an abrupt turn when he’s asked to become part of a clandestine police investigation even his father knows nothing about, and one that could impact the family’s legacy. – CBS
The Preview (Originally posted on 9/25/2010):
Shawn: Blue Bloods is one of the most anticipated dramas this Fall for good reason. Simply look at this cast. Your leads are Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, and Bridget Moynihan… all television and film superstars (Len Cariou is no slouch either). Superstars like that don’t just arbitrarily sign on to do a show if they don’t already know it’s brilliant. The concept is definitely unique. An original cop show that focuses on a multigenerational family of cops and all of the dynamics that go along with that. I’m very excited about Blue Bloods.
9 out of 10
Yes, I know Blue Bloods has been on for over a month but good things come to those who wait. As noted by the preview, I knew Blue Bloods was going to be good, but I didn’t expect it to be as good as it is and I really wanted to do the show justice by watching several episodes and taking notes before I reviewed it.
Unlike other cop/legal procedurals, Blue Bloods isn’t beating you over the head with preachy, one-sided political propaganda (see: Outlaw, The Whole Truth, Boston Legal, Law & Order – the entire franchise) telling you what your opinion should be on various issues. Rather, every week, there’s a new and original plotline that invariably leads to a politically volatile issue and instead of the producers having the protagonists all carry the torch for one side of the issue without any inclination that a contrary opinion even has any merit, they intentionally present both sides as having merit and leave it to the audience to decide.
What makes this even more effective is the plot-device they use to address these issues: the family dining room table. It’s a fantastic and effective metaphor because it’s representative of not only how families often talk about the issues of the day so it’s relatable on that level but it’s also representative of American culture as a whole. Americans have vast and varying opinions on all ranges of political issues and like family members discussing them, the debates can also get quite heated as passions get involved.
The question that comes into play quite often is balancing act of following the law and doing what is the morally correct thing to do, because as we all know, the two don’t always coincide.
****(MINOR SPOILER ALERT!)****
Example: in the pilot Danny (Donnie Wahlberg – Boomtown, Band of Brothers) is faced with a dilemma. A ten year-old girl has been abducted and time is running out. He and his partner have found the kidnapper/deviant yet he will not tell them where the girl is. Danny proceeds to beat the confession out of the suspect specifically by repeatedly putting his head in a toilet bowl. Call it a poor-man’s waterboarding.
Now, no one would ever suggest that they we would want our police coercing confessions out of suspects using violence or torture, but on the other side of the coin, if you were the parent of that ten year-old wouldn’t you want Danny Reagan doing whatever he could no matter how much outside the constraints of the law it was to find your little girl even if it meant that he violated a pervert’s civil rights along the way? I know that I sure as Hell would. But, that of course leads to the inevitable question of, “Where do you draw the line?”
The truth is that with all issues, there is no “black and white,” just varying shades of gray and Blue Bloods recognizes this whereas most dramas treat the audience with an air of condescending superiority suggesting that they are too stupid to figure out right from wrong on their own without Hollywood explaining it to them. Blue Bloods respects its audience and because of that provides compelling, though-provoking drama every week.
These characters couldn’t have been written any better. They are nothing like the clichéd shells that you expect on most shows. Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck – Boston Legal, Magnum, P.I.), is the patriarch of this family and he deeply loves and cares about all of his children and unlike other cookie-cutter TV characters Frank wears his heart on his sleeve. There is a particularly touching scene between Danny and Frank where Frank expresses concern about his son’s well-being after coming back from war and lets him know that there’s no shame in talking to someone (a therapist) about it.
Now, how about that for a change in pace from the old gruff, TV cop/dads who would have just told their kid to suck it up and get over it. On the contrary, you can see the concern on Frank’s face when he’s having this discussion with Danny the same way any REAL dad would have if they were worried about their own kid.
The surprise to me on this show is Jamie (Will Estes – American Dreams, Reunion) because I didn’t think his character was going to be that compelling and quite honestly, Estes’ résumé is kind of thin. Not only is he doing an excellent job with developing his character as a rookie cop on a beat in the shadow of his big brother, but the writers have done an excellent job making him the focal point of the aforementioned clandestine investigation because he’s the last guy in the world you would ever think would be tapped for an undercover investigation of other cops. Oh, and by the way, did I mention that John Torturro (Third Watch, NYPD Blue) plays Jamie’s partner and mentor, Sgt. Anthony Renzulli. How ’bout them apples, huh? Like I said, this cast has some stones.
Bridget Moynihan (I Robot, Lord of War) does very well as the idealistic academic A.D.A., Erin Reagan-Boyle, constantly butting heads with the men in the family and she holds her own very well with the boys. As far as father to Frank and former police chief Henry Reagan they couldn’t have casted anyone better than noted character actor Len Cariou (Damages, Brotherhood) . Nowadays, Henry is more concerned with spending time with his family and putting together toys for the grandkids but he’s always happy to throw his two cents in on the issue of the day… especially around that family dining room table.
Blue Bloods is one of the best three new shows on TV this fall and I’m thrilled that it’s finding success on Friday nights as well as the fact that it was on opposite of NBC’s failed series Outlaw to highlight just how bad that show was and just how well a police/legal procedural can be made when there’s some effort and talent behind it.
Watch full episodes of Blue Bloods, here.
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