Blue Bloods Must End

It is pretty clear that most cop shows often show an idealized world where the police are always right and the criminals are always wrong. The only cops who are villains are the police who go rogue and they are treated as an anomaly. They are detested and immediately caught or killed by their fellow cops. However, since I was born in Baltimore City and I keep my eyes open, I know that this is a fantasy. Law enforcement has not and never will deserve blanket respect or trust. There will always be “bad apples” on the force and administrations and the brass will always cover up for them. There will be no reform because the system works for the government. They can blame the problem on the people of color instead of fixing economic and racial disparity in order to repair society.

Anyway, there is one cop show that I keep watching that is actually fairly accurate to the reality of law enforcement in our world. That show is Blue Bloods. The show follows a family that has dedicated their lives to law enforcement. Fittingly, the family’s name is Reagan because most of them do not care about citizen’s rights or about being good people. They constantly espouse an “us versus them” mentality. This mentality does not just encompass the police department’s relationship with the criminals but also with the public at large. Every single cop automatically assumes the guilt of people they are dealing with and act like complete assholes most of the time.

The most obvious offender is the character that even fans of the show love to hate. Detective Danny Reagan is played by Donnie Wahlberg. He is a stereotypical rogue cop with anger issues who often bends or breaks the rules in order to “get his guy”. He even has an inexplicable Brooklyn accent even though the rest of his family does not. This is how “blue-collar” he is supposed to be. However, he is consistently a dirty cop and is constantly under investigation but is constantly cleared. He has real psychological problems and in the latest season, I feel like he might be a sociopath. For example, in one episode he rolls up on a hostage situation that has nothing to do with him. He waits until everybody has their backs turned and he walks in and shoots the unstable criminal. He never shows any remorse that he shot a human being who may or may not have had psychological issues. This is pretty indicative of his behavior on the show.

The actual worse offender is patriarch Frank Reagan, the New York City commissioner played by Tom Selleck. Frank is an old school cop who basically hates anybody who is not in law enforcement. To him, a cop is a shining example in the world and is to be given every chance to make up for horrendous behavior. In one episode, a bunch of cops are verbally harassed outside of a housing project so his response is to send in three precincts, SWAT, and everything else he can throw at the project. He directs cops to round up every single person who lives there and question them and detain them in search of criminals. No probable cause, no logical reasoning. He felt police had been insulted so he sends in the troopers to shock and awe civilians. He is rightfully blasted in the press for it until the search randomly produces a serial killer they did not know about and he is exonerated. He is a hero because he stumbled into a win.

More recently, he revisited something good he actually did and ruined it. In an earlier season, he fired a young cop because she stopped somebody for being brown and media backlash forced him to let her go. He later stumbles on her working a waitressing job. He feels guilty and reverses his decision. He hires back a known racist because he thinks that waitressing (a noble profession) is beneath her and he thinks that she should be a cop. Not only that but he gives her a get out of jail card by telling her that he personally has her back. So when she once again commits some racist act, he will get her out of it instead of firing her this time. Awesome.

There are some exceptions. Erin Reagan is an Assistant District Attorney played by Bridget Moynihan. She actually has compassion despite basically being a cop herself. She often fights against her brothers and father to get leniency for people actually damaged by the system. Her daughter, Nicky, played by Sami Gayle, is even more compassionate and is often the one voice futilely fighting against her family. Vanessa Ray plays Officer Eddie Janko and, as somebody who has experienced both upper class and lower class life, she displays a little more perspective but not much. Her fiance, Jamie Regan (played by Will Estes) often toes the line too much but is at least a little nicer than his family. Garrett Moore (played by Gregory Jbara) is Frank’s PR commissioner. He absolutely views things as the rest of us would and often preaches restraint and understanding if only to make the police look good. His voice is often lost and lately, he is often straight-up ridiculed for his views.

While the show always held this kind of darkness, it feels like it has gotten worse and worse over the seasons. I would not even mind the show as much if the Reagans were not treated as the show’s heroes instead of rightfully being depicted as the villains. They often make situations worse than they found them and rarely feel too bad about them. So, why do I keep watching the show? Honestly, I do not know. The acting is really good and I love a handful of really good characters. Still, every so often I will hit an episode that will make me furious and I will stop watching for a while. I may be hoping for the show to get canceled soon so some of those good actors can be on a project with more merit.

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