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.
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