SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details of tonight’s Blue Bloods Season 8 finale.
Blue Bloods has long been and will continue to be one of my favorite Big 4 series and tonight’s Season 8 finale of the Tom Selleck led NYPD family drama served to confirm that opinion. In lieu of the traditional cliffhanger, the end of this season of the already renewed show brought resolution and depth at a point when most procedurals are barely doing much than hoping to go through the motions
Perhaps what worked best for me in tonight’s ‘My Aim Is True’ was how old wounds were opened up to show us new facets of already established characters like the Magnum P.I. alum’s Commissioner Frank Reagan. An arch that moved to show how deep Blue Bloods’ bench is besides its lead as the show simultaneously enlarger the multi-generational cop clan with a love for one son that finally reveals itself as loss still cripples another sibling.
Bookending the September 29, 2017 season opener and its revelation of the death of long time series regular Amy Carlson’s Linda Reagan, tonight’s disarmingly intense finale began with Donnie Wahlberg’s Detective Danny Reagan in a snow flurry at his wife’s graveside. “I’m putting on a real brave face here, but between me and you I’m having a real hard time babe,” says the rarely vulnerable son and grandson of the current and past NYPD boss. As the emotionally charged moment lingered for a beat, the Wahlberg portrayed character is called away with a “Danny, it’s time” from his equal no nonsense partner Detective Maria Baez, played by the always solid Marisa Ramirez.
By the time the drive-by shootings and bullet strewn episode penned by executive producer Kevin Wade ended a new partnering of sorts had taken place in the Reagan clan. Coming to dinner table of his father after a near fatal attempt on his life youngest son Officer Jamie Reagan (Will Estes) announced he and longtime parole partner Eddie Janko (Vanessa Ray) were getting married.
Having held off on the romance up until this year despite seasons of obvious emotional tensions between the cop couple, the “no retreat, no surrender” vows of the two mirrored the deep relationship that the series developed between Wahlberg and Carlson’s characters – a nice touch with implications for next year.
As Selleck cut the tension with a “welcome to our family, Eddie” some of what was clearly broken with death of Amy begins to heal for the Reagans, even Danny. While I can only speak for myself, fans too may have received some closure from Linda’s death and Carlson’s still fundamentally unexplained sudden departure between Season 7 and this year.
Unlike the choices and compromises that brilliantly defined the just concluded adventurous second season of FX’s Emmy winning Atlanta, Blue Bloods has never even considered pursuing a path of transformation but it has a pace all its own in many ways nonetheless. Not trying to reinvent the wheel or even primetime TV, Blue Bloods has become very good at what it promises and delivers on that and commonly more
As represented by tonight’s resonating finale and its narrative drawn from the harsh injustice pummel upon the so-called falsely accused Central Park 5 in the late 1980s and their 2002 vacated convictions, the show swivels from its headline ripping technique to multi-generational plot lines. In a mix that also features fellow cast members Bridget Moynahan, Len Cariou and Sami Gayle, Blue Bloods often hides its real spine under the guise of old skool TV and those Sunday dinner table homilies to find its unique sweet spot season after season.
Simply put Blue Bloods has a formula – it’s called being engaging and driven TV and that’s a good calling card for viewers of all ages and backgrounds not just Magnum or New Kids On The Block fans
Whether you are blinded by the crimes surrounding the drama that Blue Bloods actually excels in for this time when so many Big 4 shows strive to seem relevant and exciting, the 10 PM offering from CBS manages to surprise by being so predictably smart and week after week. A result all the more impressive when you consider it comes on a landscape where cable and streaming are virtually unrestricted in their content and depictions.
Similar in one aspect to Atlanta’s finale with “family first” message, the Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess created Blue Bloods has seen quite a bit of change this year. As well as the loss of Carlson, there was a new mayor in the Big Apple as a foil to Selleck’s often ornery top cop and an increased role for the deftly maturing Gayle as his often contrarian granddaughter Nicky Reagan-Boyle – both of which bode well for a show heading towards its ninth season and all the challenges that entails
You can joke about the myth of the average age of CBS’ audience and you can marvel at the tens of millions that watch Blue Bloods every Friday, go ahead on both counts. In this age where friction between law enforcement and far too many communities has become the defining element of an increasingly dangerous and dysfunction relationship, Blue Bloods is heartfelt television that doesn’t need to brag about how smart and fulfilling it is, the facts are on the screen for all to see.