Blue Bloods: A Mildly Inebriated Review

To begin, I should note that homemade sangria can be stronger than you might think. That said, I've been thoroughly enjoying this rather unique -- for today -- cop show. It features a family of career NYPD officers who are dedicated to their jobs and to each other.

Granddad is a retired police officer and former police commissioner who has plenty of "Back in my day, we just beat the crap out of them until they confessed" stories.

Dad is the current police commissioner who does an admirable balancing act between the various personalities in his family (see the following). And, you know, running the NYPD, dealing with politicians and the media, that sort of thing.

Older brother is a police detective who takes after Granddad; also, he spent two tours in Iraq with the Marines. He is married with two kids.

Younger brother is a Harvard Law grad who decided to make a career as a cop. He's so by-the-book that he probably writes the editors love letters. (You can imagine the sibling arguments with older brother.)

And, older sister is not quite in the family business: She's an assistant district attorney who always seems to be explaining to older brother why the DA won't press charges (yet). She is divorced and raising a teenage daughter who brings in the youth perspective.

What's unique?

The family is Irish Catholic. Religion doesn't play a big role in the series, but we do see the family praying together before meals, and at times Dad seeks advice from a priest or cardinal (it's NYC).

Granddad is a vet - Korean War. Dad is a vet - Vietnam. And, as mentioned, older brother is a vet.

Balance: Generally, there is a real balance of viewpoints. Not always: There are a few episodes where it's not quite balanced, and one where we get outright preached to (we heathens!). But generally, it's probably the most balanced series I've watched in a long time.

There are six seasons on Amazon Prime for free. I recommend it, if you like cop shows, or family shows.


Eric Blair said...

I saw something recently that was comparing the audience of "Blue Bloods" to that of "Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men" and I think even "Game of thrones".

All of the latter have had all sorts of critical acclaim and media buzz.

If I remember the chart correctly, Blue Bloods had the larger audience. Compared to all the other three combined.

E Hines said...

It lost me in the pilot when they celebrated crooked cops and nepotism.

Eric Hines

Anonymous said...

"pilot when they celebrated crooked cops and nepotism."

I'm not sure we are watching the same show.


Tom said...

Eric B., that's interesting. I would not have guessed that.

Eric H., how did it do that?

Lars Walker said...

I watched it for a while, and conservative bloggers were praising it all the time. But eventually I realized that the only conservative element of the show was that the family had dinner together and said grace before eating. Other than that, the plots were boilerplate liberal story lines. I gave up on it.

E Hines said...

Tom, in the pilot, one of the Commissioner's kids on the force engaged in a form of misconduct (don't ask me what; it's been awhile since I watched the show, and I'm not going to go back and review the pilot. I claim the corroboration of my wife, who watched the pilot with me because we both like Tom Selleck), and daddy commish shielded him from any consequences.

Eric Hines

Tom said...


I think a show that celebrates family, treats religious faith and weekly attendance at Mass as normal, points out the difficulties of police work, and honors veterans is a lot more conservative than just about anything else out there. It shines in comparison.

You're right that it is not politically conservative. On the other hand, it does stake out some conservative social ground.

I can certainly see that it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, though, and there have been a couple of episodes that made me consider dropping it. Still, for me, the good stuff outweighs the bad.

Tom said...

Eric, I don't remember that, but it's been a while for me, too. Also, I tend to watch TV shows when my brain is too tired to do other stuff, so I'm probably less critical than I could be.

Anonymous said...

I just finished the last episode of Season 6 on Netflix. It might be worth another look.

I do not cede the topics of difficult ethical conflicts and moral balancing to Liberalism, generally, and I suggest that it would be a mistake to do so.


Dad29 said...

Bullitt's Mustang!!!

Tom said...

Valerie, I agree.

For everyone who hasn't seen it, in the first episode the older brother brutalizes a suspected serial killer to find and save a girl the killer has kidnapped. As a result, they save the girl, but all his evidence gets thrown out (by his sister, the ADA) and the serial killer almost walks. It takes a lot of hard, legitimate police work after that to tie the killer to another crime and keep him from going free.

The family has dinner together every Sunday after Mass. At the table, the sister and older brother argue about the ethics of it. Dad brings up the standard arguments over "enhanced interrogation," and the younger brother takes the sister's side with a "slippery slope" argument. Older brother asks his sister, what if it were her kid? That's where they leave it. In the end, there's probably more sympathy for the older brother's argument, but to me it's not a decisive victory for either side.

And I like that they don't argue it to conclusion. Both sides get presented, and the audience is left to think about it and decide.

Yeah, often the writers' thumb is on the scale one way or another, but it's rare that they don't at least present the other side in a reasonable way.

This is in stark contrast to most cop shows I've seen where the "hero" regularly breaks the rules and there is no discussion of the ethics of it, or where only one side gets presented if they do.

Tom said...

It occurred to me later that it was actually the judge who threw out the evidence, not the sister.

Ymar Sakar said...

The content of a show is not what contaminates it, it is the evil of the writers, producers, and actors. There is a limit to what they cannot pretend or act, which since it shows humans, humans can still detect it. At least, I can.

It is somewhat similar to the annoying suspicion that one is living in a virtual reality box, ala the Matrix 1.