The return of Tom Selleck in CBS’s Blue Bloods (Fall TV preview)

Note: This review was written by Steve Hatton for Channel Canada’s Fall TV Preview section and reprinted here with permission. This review may contain some spoilers.

Blue Bloods

Blue Bloods

From the people who brought us The Sopranos comes this clever, well-written drama about a multigenerational family of cops, with Tom Selleck as the father figure. Blue Bloods looks at the complexities of law enforcement and morality in a world where nobody is perfect. To best describe this show, I would argue that The Sopranos looks at a family of criminals who aren’t always bad people, while Blue Bloods looks at a family of cops who aren’t always good.

The pilot begins with a graduation ceremony for new police officers. The Reagan family attends the ceremony as not only is Selleck’s character, Frank, the Chief of Police for New York City but one of the graduates is his son. While Frank is addressing the crowd with his moving speech, a little girl is seen being kidnapped in another part of town.

We then see that another one of Frank’s sons, Danny, also a cop and an Iraq war vet, is doing everything he possibly can in his power to try to find the missing child. Without giving too much away, it could be said that he even goes a little too far.

Regardless as to how viewers may feel about enhanced interrogation techniques or even torture, for that matter, Blue Bloods is an interesting show to watch. Not only is it a gripping drama, but it is topical.

This is demonstrated when we see a tense argument develop between two of the siblings at the dinner table. Danny’s sister Erin, who happens to be an Assistant D.A., argues with him saying that he crossed the line by using a method of torture to get information out of a suspect. Danny, of course, counter-argues that he did what he needed to do to save a little girl’s life. He also questions if Erin would feel the same way if it were her own daughter who was in danger.

As interesting as all this may be, I have to confess that I do have one problem with this part of the plot. The big flaw in the whole enhanced interrogation debate is that many of the arguments are based on scenarios that are only seen in Hollywood TV and movies, like when the hero has only 24 hours to diffuse a bomb. We all know that rarely happens in real life.

Since Blue Bloods is a TV show, produced by the Hollywood industry, it may end up unintentionally contributing to the confusion. Don’t get me wrong, this show may be much more realistic than others, but it is still a TV show. While they deserve credit for shedding light on a controversial issue, the perspective is still flawed because it deals with a scenario where enhanced interrogation could actually work, and that could be misleading.

Having said all that, I’m willing to get off of my soap box long enough to say that Blue Bloods is still a pretty good show and deserves credit for trying to be relevant in a way that you rarely see on TV cop shows. Besides, a plot twist in the pilot seems to suggest that the argument is just the tip of the iceberg and that the family will become even more divided in future episodes. The tension isn’t over yet.

The pilot also has a very solid script. The writers find a way to cleverly juxtapose the positive and negative aspects of the characters and their actions. For an example, when Danny is feeling good about a positive development in the case, the conversation he’s having with his partner is quickly interrupted.

“Police brutality!” the suspect can be heard yelling from the backseat of a nearby cop car.

It’s as if the writers decided to deliberately bring what was about to be a warm fuzzy moment to a screeching halt in order to remind us that morality isn’t always black and white.

All in all, Blue Bloods looks like a very promising show. While the producers may have had a setback regarding executive producer Ken Sanzel leaving over creative differences with Selleck, that could be only a temporary issue. Once things get ironed out, these cops could very likely be around for a while.

My Rating: One of my personal favorites!

Starts: Friday, September 24th 10/9 Central on CBS and CTV

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “The return of Tom Selleck in CBS’s Blue Bloods (Fall TV preview)

  1. The first episode was garbage. It presented a heroic case for torturing criminal suspects. It even pretended that the corrupt cop “knew” the suspect he threatened to kill was guilty of kidnapping the missing girl. That he succeeded in jailing the suspect even after administering torture was presented as vindication of his illegal methods. Meanwhile virtually no coherent case was presented for actually upholding the law and according basic rights to suspects. It didn’t take long for the advocates of “enhanced interrogation techniques” to shift from applying them to terrorist suspects to advocating for their use against common criminal suspects. Just wonderful how our culture has been debased in the last few years. In my youth, pop culture always treated police thugs as criminals and nut jobs who needed to be rooted out for the good of society. Nowadays, however, they’re presented as heroes.

  2. The program shows promise. I just find it interesting that Len Cariou is playing Tom Selleck’s father. Len is only six years older than the 65-year-old Tom.

  3. J. K. Lowe

    Why are you continuing to re-run episodes of this program week after week? I know many people that look forward to Friday evenings so
    they are able to watch Blue Bloods. Tonight you are, once again, repeating a program that you ran before. Last week you ran two previous programs
    back to back. What kind of production is this? Blue Bloods is a great
    program with terrific actors. How about getting your act together and
    giving us what we are looking for…new episodes.

  4. As a general rule, most of the big networks go into rerun-mode in December, due mainly to the fact that November sweeps are over and that Christmas is just around the corner. Not that I’m trying to make excuses for CBS or anything like that.

  5. J. K. Lowe

    Now that you have seemed to settle on Wednesday evenings for Blue Bloods…Please, Please, leave it where it is. The episodes get better and better each week and this is truly a terrific program. Take a good look at the acting ability of each character…they are all different and are terrific in
    the roles that they play. Why not leave something this good in its place for a change. It would be a novel idea!!! Stop taking everything off the air or be certain to run it up against the top show on television.
    You networks are so good at that…what does that prove??
    The Jesse Stone episodes were also very entertaining…but…where did those go…off the air! I certainly cannot speak for everyone…but I hear
    only positive comments from the people that I know. They look forward to Wednesday nights because Blue Bloods will be on CBS! Many of us are watching and enjoying!!!

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