Does television need another cop show? On the fall schedule, there are fourteen police/law enforcement shows raring to go, right out of the gate. Some are returning entries, while others are new to the fold. So…do we really need another cop show? In the case of Tom Selleck’s latest project, Blue Bloods, the answer just might be “yes”.
In the pilot episode, we meet the Reagans, a multigenerational family dedicated to law enforcement in New York City. Tom Selleck stars as Frank Reagan, the square-jawed, no nonsense police commissioner. His eldest son Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) is a rough around the edges police detective (and an Iraqi war vet) who is happy to skirt around the rules if it gets the job done. Jamie (Will Estes) is the youngest who, fresh out of Harvard Law, makes a bold career move to become one of New York City’s finest. Their sister, Erin (Bridget Moynahan), is an assistant D.A., who has her own ideas about how her family should do their jobs. The elder statesman of the brood, is Henry, Frank’s father (Len Cariou): a former police chief, who has opinions about everything and isn’t afraid to voice them.
The pilot, filmed on location in Manhattan, opens with the family attending Jamie’s graduation ceremony, at which Frank gives the commencement speech. But the story shifts gears quickly when a little girl is kidnapped on her way home from school, setting the tense pace for the rest of the episode. Danny is the lead detective on the case, jumping through hoops to get the information he needs. Frank takes heat from the mayor for choosing the impulsive Danny for the job. Meanwhile Jamie is getting acclimated to his life as a cop and discovers the world of law enforcement is not always as shiny as his new badge.
A sense of tragedy hangs over this family. Frank’s son, Joe, was killed in the line of duty and his spirit is a pervasive presence; he is referred to numerous times during the course of the show and, it seems, is an essential part of this story.
The writing is sharp and tight; the story flows and the main characters are interesting enough to want to get to know better. This is no surprise seeing how Blue Bloods’ executive producers, Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green, were the guiding forces behind The Sopranos, as well.
Tom Selleck, no stranger to playing law enforcement agents (Magnum, P.I, Jesse Stone) is top notch as the family patriarch. He is a commanding presence in his dress blues but can also effortlessly slip into “dad” mode at Sunday dinner. The rest of the cast is good but it is Donnie Wahlberg who stands out as the surprising star of this episode. His performance as the troubled, driven Danny is nothing less than riveting.
If you are on the fence about watching this show, don’t be. Selleck, Wahlberg, and an excellent script will make Blue Bloods worth your time.
Blue Bloods premieres Friday, September 24th, 10PM ET on CBS.