Sunday, September 26, 2010

'Blue Bloods' -review of new television series

"I began watching "Blue Bloods" because I'm a Tom Selleck fan. I kept watching because I found Len Cariou in the cast. Then the family interactions pulled me in and I was hooked.

This new drama offers family, police work and intrigue."

The pilot episode introduces the Reagan family, multi-generational New York public servants. Grandfather Henry Reagan (Cariou), a crusty old-school retired Police Commissioner, walks with a cane because of a hip replacement. Francis “Frank” Reagan (Selleck), the current Police Commissioner, displays grace under fire in press conferences and confrontations with the mayor. 

Frank’s offspring fill much of the cast. Son Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg) has risen to the rank of Detective after serving in Iraq. Erin Reagan-Boyle, played by Bridget Moynihan, serves in the District Attorney’s office. Jameson “Jamie” Reagan Will Estes) graduated Harvard Law School, but opted to join the force. We learn that another son, Joe, has died while serving on the force.

Family doesn’t end there. Danny is married and has a young son. Erin has a daughter and is the process of seeking a divorce. Jamie has a steady girlfriend, an attorney.

In this first episode, we experience a blend of family drama, police procedural and legal wrangling. A diabetic kidnapped child sends Danny and his partner (Flex Alexander as Detective Demarcus) on a hunt to find her before the medical issues can kill her. Danny’s intense interrogation techniques result in her rescue and possible contamination of the evidence that can convict the abductor. 

Danny and Erin clash over the case, a judge will release the predator if no new evidence turns up and the detectives go to work reviewing cold cases and trying to find a way to keep a monster off the street. Forget the fancy crime lab stuff; this case is resolved with good old-fashioned elbow grease, as the detectives sift through cartons of evidence.

I enjoyed the familial relationships. At a Sunday dinner, the bickering gets intense and Frank commands order with a statement. His quiet, dignified authority seemed a little weary, as though he had refereed so many of these melees in the past that he could do so automatically. 

The action parts delivered excitement without a lot of camera gimmickry. No multi-image screens, no rapid fire scene changes – just straightforward storytelling. Without the distractions, the story becomes the star instead of the camera. I especially appreciated that aspect. One nearly claustrophobic scene in a storage facility impressed me with the way it made me feel the place, not just see it.

Because so many levels of service are portrayed, we have a wide variety of options for future conflict. From a rookie getting to know the streets to a hard-nosed detective, a stressed-out assistant DA and the Commissioner under assault by the media and the politicos, we can expect fireworks from a lot of directions. Hints of corruption introduced near the end of the story promise tension, too.

Opportunities for romance exist, as well. Both Henry and Frank are widowed. Jamie is dating but may be unsettled in that relationship. Erin is seeking a divorce, setting her free for future involvement. 

The language was brusque, but not laden with obscenities, which I liked. An occasional, appropriately placed swear word packs a lot more impact than an endless string of them. Hooray for scriptwriters who didn’t take the easy out! Some of the lines held currents of double-meaning, a great way to leave us wondering who knows what.

All in all, I’m looking forward to the next episode. I want to learn more about this family of “Blue Bloods” and where they’re headed. The ensemble works well together. Thanks, CBS, for a program that gives us people to understand rather than just a lot of fancy camera work. I’ll be watching next week.

“Blue Bloods” airs Friday nights at 10 eastern, 9 central.

Internet Movie Data Base: Blue Bloods
CBS: Blue Bloods

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