26 September 2023

Blue Bloods, The Eighth Season

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Directors: David M. Barrett, Robert Harmon, John Behring, Ralph Hemecker, Alex Zakrzewski, Heather Cappiello, Eric Laneuville, Deran Sarafian, Thomas R. Moore, Jane Raab, Robert Duncan McNeill, Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Cast: Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan, Will Estes, Len Cariou, Sami Gayle, Marisa Ramirez, Vanessa Ray.

Often synonymous with the ‘blue wall of silence’, the practice of ‘good’ police not wanting to provide evidence against other officers comes to the fore in the Blue Bloods series.

Through the day-to-day life of the Reagans we are able to see the workings of a police force that allows order and civilisation to thrive, holding back the evil and chaos, suitably ‘dealing’ with situations when they have personal knowledge of corruption, abuse or misbehaviour.

Francis Xavier ‘Frank’ Reagan (Selleck, Three Men and a Baby, Quigley Down Under, Mr. Baseball, Lassiter) is the New York City Police Commissioner. The series follows the Reagan family of police officers; each member represents a different aspect of police work or the legal process.

Frank’s oldest son Danny (Wahlberg) is an NYPD detective; his youngest son Jamie (Estes) is an NYPD police officer; and his only daughter Erin (Moynahan) is an Assistant District Attorney.

Frank’s second son, Joe, was murdered by a crooked cop in the line of duty in events that pre-date the series, when he was involved with an FBI investigation of a group of corrupt NYPD cops known as the Blue Templar. Joe was killed prior to the series premiere.

Frank’s father Henry (Cariou) is a former NYPD beat cop who rose through the ranks to become Police Commissioner. Both Henry’s and Frank’s wives, Betty and Mary, are deceased.

Danny and his partner Detective Maria Baez (Ramirez) make a solid team, as do Jamie and his partner ‘Eddie’ Janko (Ray). Actually, Jamie marries Eddie in season nine, having acknowledged their mutual attraction during season seven and becoming engaged at the end of season eight.

Erin is divorced and has one daughter, college student Nicky (Gayle), who lives with her. Danny is a widower with two sons, Jack and Sean, who was married to Linda, a nurse who died, airlifting her patient in a helicopter crash, off-screen after season seven. The fact that no details were screened caused some public unrest.

The Reagan family has had their fair share of mishaps, tragedies, happiness and disruption. Additionally, while each person’s story might occasionally interweave with another’s, the show also follows the professional and, at times, personal relationships with their respective partners and colleagues. Walking the morally ethical path, and there’s a lot packed into one TV hour.

Family loyalties also play a big part. Blue Blood’s iconic Sunday dinners are at the heart of each episode. Praise is given to this family scene for discussion of morally complex issues. “Food is good, but it’s the connections that matter over dinner.”

There are special features on this six-disc set. Guest stars include Mimi Rogers, Lorraine Bracco and Ernie Hudson. Even when facing the city’s worst, the Reagan’s always have each other’s backs.

In this season opener ‘Cutting Losses’, Danny is contemplating retirement since Linda’s death in a rescue helicopter crash. Erin pleads with him to help her with a case involving her ex-husband, Jack (Peter Hermann), who’s been attacked in his office.

Individual cases attract attention, but in the last titled ‘My Aim is True’, a series of drive-by murders gets everyone rattled. The shootings occur after six wrongly convicted men (called the ‘Prospect Park Six’, loosely inspired by the Central Park Five), are released from prison. Danny and Baez wonder whether an act of revenge was the motivation for the killings.

Episode 22 ends on a happy note. Jamie officially brings ‘Eddie’ to the family dinner and introduces her as his fiancée. He also reveals having looked at the patrol guide … and not finding any rules against married cops being partners on the force.

Can’t wait to see The Tenth Season!

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