TV Review: Tom Selleck’s Epic ‘Blue Bloods’ Has Some Potential

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CHICAGO – Tom Selleck is back on series television, portraying the patriarch of a New York City cop dynasty in “Blue Bloods” (not a bad pun), but this time he is the Chief of Police over the whole city. He still has time for Sunday dinner with the family, and he’s inviting TV fans to the table. Television Rating: 3.0/5.0
Television Rating: 3.0/5.0

The scope is pretty large for a typical cop show. Tom Selleck has the whole naked city to worry about, and he gets into even more hot water when his family intertwines with his duties. Besides the tough get-it-done attitude that officials like this usually have, Selleck also has to deal with the media, the mayor, a secret cop society and his own dicey love life. Blue Bloods premieres on CBS, Friday, September 24th, at 9pm CST.

The story unfolds at a cop graduation, quite effectively, as the newly minted officers march into the arena to the strains of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.” Among the newbies is Jamie Reagan (Will Estes), carrying on a cop tradition that works its way down from his grandfather Henry (Len Cariou), father Frank (Selleck), brother Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) and hanging on the peripheral, his sister Erin (Bridget Moynahan), a high level district attorney.

The happiness of the graduation is almost immediately interrupted by a kidnapping in the Big Apple, a Hispanic girl captured off the street. Det. Danny draws the case, and immediately a conflict of interest between the pressure his father feels from the media and his ability to solve the case his case comes into conflict. It boils over into the family dinner table, where we learn Danny is an Iraq war veteran prone to post traumatic stress syndrome.

Will Estes (Jamie), Len Cariou (Henry), Tom Selleck (Frank), Bridget Moynahan (Erin) and Donnie Wahlberg (Danny) in ‘Blue Bloods’
Will Estes (Jamie), Len Cariou (Henry), Tom Selleck (Frank), Bridget Moynahan (Erin) and Donnie Wahlberg (Danny) in ‘Blue Bloods’
Photo Credit: CBS

Erin the attorney is not favorable to Danny’s techniques, which included apprehending a suspect and using brutality to coerce a confession. Although the kidnapping situation ends favorably, it takes some high level lawyering to make sure a conviction is made, and the tension between the siblings is still palpable and bleeds into the family dynamic.

Meanwhile Jamie is learning the ropes as a rookie cop. The big difference between him and the rest of the family is his Harvard education, and despite the sheepskin he comes back to the big city to serve in blue. It is he who is approached about a secret cop society, and it is he who also catches his widower family in the clutches of an unknown cool blonde.

Obviously there is a lot going on in the pilot, and the overstuffed plot does not serve the introduction well. Selleck seems a little flummoxed by the role, he has an odd cadence to his speech that perhaps is suppose to be gravitas, but ends up sounding marble-like. He doesn’t seem like a father-figure either, maybe because of his Magnum image or maybe he just doesn’t look or act the type.

The rest of the family is so dedicated and saintly it’s almost like a 1940s cop family movie. The idea here is Catholic and conservative (is it intentional their character last name is Reagan?), with the torture debate spoiling the saying of grace and large roast beast at Sunday dinner. Of course the police brutality son is a ex-military man. Why can’t we support our troops?

On the Case: Flex Alexander (Det. Demarcus) and Donnie Wahlberg in ‘Blue Bloods’
On the Case: Flex Alexander (Det. Demarcus) and Donnie Wahlberg in ‘Blue Bloods’
Photo Credit: CBS

But the show does have some potential. First, it is produced by Mitchell Burgess, an ex-producer of “The Sopranos.” There is an introduction to a secret, ancient order of cop society, very “gangs of New York,” and it is the new cop Jamie who is indoctrinated. Selleck’s mystery Blonde isn’t bad either, especially as an older widower. And although Erin the district attorney is a cliché, Bridget Moynahan stands up to her role as questioner of the family’s traditions.

Here’s hoping that the show calms down a bit and concentrates on allowing the family to continue to interact, but not as dramatically and situational as the pilot episode. And for Reagan’s sake, Mr. Selleck, take those marbles out of your mouth.

”Blue Bloods” premieres Friday, September 24th at 10pm EST/9pm CST on CBS. Check local listings for channel location. Featuring Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, Will Estes, Bridget Moynahan and Len Cariou, produced by Mitchell Burgess. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Senior Staff Writer

© 2010 Patrick McDonald,

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