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Saturday, October 1, 2011

"Friendly Fire" aimed at Blue Bloods

     CBS's Blue Bloods returned last week. Last night brought the second episode of the season, "Friendly Fire." Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) shoots a cop who is running with a weapon and doesn't identify himself. The Internal Affairs investigation uncovers that Danny was agitated prior to the shooting, but clears him of any wrongdoing. This would be fine, except that Danny gets caught in the field when assigned to desk duty, placing Frank (Tom Selleck) in a tough position, both professionally and with the family.

     Blue Bloods is a procedural, which is not something that works in its favor. However, so far season two has given much more importance to the family's interactions and drama than any guest starring criminal. This is a good decision, keeping the series fresh and interesting, despite its case of the week format. Should the show return to that standard formula, it may not continue to be worth watching. As it stands, Blue Bloods escapes that curse, but not by much.

     "Friendly Fire" is one of the strongest episode made thus far. If more hours were like "Friendly Fire," then the show would only deserve praise. Frank's tortured feelings about duty vs. family play out in a very appropriate way. He is a true hero on television, nobly choosing to do what is right, even if it hurts someone he loves. Not many men could put aside their feelings like Frank does, in a good way, in order to most effectively do his job. That Frank allows Danny to resume his job at the end of the episode could come back to bite Frank. Yet, it is likely the commissioner would make the same decision for anyone on his force with a good work record.

     It's also touching to see the other Reagans rally around Danny. They have respect for the patriarch, but cannot fathom his responsiblities. It leads to everyone judging Frank's decisions, except Danny. This means Danny does have the same leadership potential that his father does, and also means he is the only one that truly understands the position Frank is in. It's a nice dramatic turn, without being over the top.

     The final relationship explored in "Friendly Fire" is between Danny and Jackie (Jennifer Esposito). Danny had a couple of different partners early in season one, but Jackie is the one that sticks. Esposito is perfect in the role, which requires her to be tough, and still compassionate. She cares about Danny, but isn't a threat to Danny's marriage. It's a refreshing chemistry, not one seen every day on television between two characters of opposite genders. It's a pairing that keeps on giving.

     It must also be noted that Wahlberg shows his true talent in the episode. He manages to convey Danny's pain and guilt over the incident, but still remain a determined, smart cop. He can express regret without apologizing, knowing he did the right thing under the circumstances. While others' words do little to offer him comfort, Danny is secure in knowing he did his best, even while regretting how things play out.

     Check out Blue Bloods, Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.

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     To order the first season of Blue Bloods on DVD, please click here.

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