Blue Bloods Spring Report Card: Strong Stories Among The Heartbreaking Cancelation News


Blue Bloods isn’t quite done yet. 

CBS’ beloved police/family drama still has eight episodes left that will air in the fall, though they’ve wrapped up the first part of their final season and will soon be finished filming the series finale, which will air in December 2024.

CBS gets a big, fat F for this cancelation news, but let’s put that aside and look at what worked and what didn’t during the first part of Blue Bloods Season 14.

Before we jump into it, let’s clear up some confusion. CBS is calling those final eight episodes the second part of Season 14 even though they ALSO called Blue Bloods Season 14 Episode 10 the season finale.

Tom Selleck recently stated that those eight episodes are really Season 15, and it’s hard to blame him for saying so, even though it caused more confusion. These episodes are airing in the fall, traditionally the start of the new season, not a time to air leftovers from the previous one.

The heartbreaking news about Blue Bloods’ cancelation might have been easier to swallow if CBS had marketed those last episodes as Season 15, as then technically, CBS would have given us two short farewell seasons instead of this weirdly broken-up final season.

That’s part of why CBS gets an F for the cancellation.

The other aspect is that this series has a large, passionate fanbase that is clamoring for it to be saved, and the cancellation news often interferes with their enjoyment of the episodes.

Many fans took to their favorite platforms each week after the episode aired to lament the series’ winding down. Fan grief was so overwhelming that little discussion of the episode’s content took place.

That’s a shame because Blue Bloods Season 14 had some strong stories, making it hard to determine the best overall.

Best Episode –  Past Is Present

Almost every episode was a clear winner, but “Past Is Present” (Blue Bloods Season 14 Episode 4) stood out because of its connection to the Reagan family’s deepest sorrow.

This episode revolved around Frank’s discovery that a cop who he wanted to commend for going beyond the call of duty was the son of the dirty one who had killed Joe Reagan.

Learning that fact changed Frank’s perception of the man. In addition, the cop in question had not disclosed his birth name on his application form because he knew Frank would likely not hire him if he did.

Technically, this was cause for termination, and Frank and the rest of the family had to grapple with ethical issues and questions of forgiving the unforgivable.

This episode featured the best use of Joe Hill since he was introduced as the grandson Frank never knew he had.

Joe never knew his father, in part because Joe Reagan died long before his son ever knew he was a Reagan, yet he had to weigh in on what his grandfather should do about the son of the man responsible for that death.

And if that heavy issue wasn’t enough, this episode was one of the few Season 14 episodes to feature Henry Reagan in a storyline rather than giving him a cameo appearance at the dinner table.

The connection to the past and better use of Joe Hill made this one feel more like a final-season story than any of the other episodes this season. The episode was also one of the few to have an extended dinner table scene.

Wins all around!

Worst Episode – “The Heart of a Saturday Night”

Sadly, the final episode of the first half of the season (Blue Bloods Season 14 Episode 10) was not as strong as the other nine.

It didn’t feel like a season-ender/midseason finale, which didn’t help things. Blue Bloods doesn’t usually end the season on a cliffhanger, but a significant development often keeps people talking over the hiatus.

This time there wasn’t.

That would have been more forgivable if the story itself had been stronger.

There was nothing horrible, dull, or stupid — Blue Bloods’ worst episode is often higher quality than many other shows’ best episode — but there were some weaknesses in this episode that were hard to overlook.

Aidan Quinn is a great actor, but his appearances on police shows appear to be bad luck!

His guest shot on Law & Order: SVU Season 23 Episode 6 involved a story that outraged many fans, and his Blue Bloods guest spot also involved a questionable story.

In this episode, Danny teamed up with Sid to catch a rogue cop (Quinn’s character) who was holding judges and lawyers at gunpoint because he was angry that a perp had been released and had raped someone new.

That could have been a compelling story, and it would have been, except for that after Danny and Sid convinced the cop to surrender and arrested him, the next scene showed the two good cops discussing how to explain why they’d let him go.

That didn’t make any sense whatsoever, and it didn’t help that the decision was made off-screen, so viewers were left confused about what happened.

This ending has divided fans, with some arguing that the character’s anger was justified and that he only scared his targets, not hurt them. Others feel this was endorsing inappropriate police behavior, which Frank has tried hard in his career not to do.

That was another part of the issue.

Frank was involved in a beautiful story involving Henry’s anger when Frank couldn’t help a late cop’s family get 9/11 funds when their loved one had lied about being at Ground Zero, but he shouldn’t have been so wrapped up in it that he didn’t know what else was going on.

Presumably, he ordered Sid and Danny to catch this cop gone bad, yet he had nothing to say about how the man evaded accountability for his actions. He didn’t even mention it at dinner.

Meanwhile, Eddie and Jamie spent their anniversary working undercover at a sober living facility.

It would have been a fine story if they’d explained why Jamie was suddenly back at the 2-9.

He’d worked undercover for Field Intelligence over the first half of the shortened season. He earned a promotion yet was inexplicably back as sergeant at the 2-9, reporting to Captain McNichols.

This was a minor point that only needed a line of dialogue to explain, but since it remained a mystery, the lack of explanation was distracting.

Character With the Best Storylines – Jamie

Jamie spent half the season working undercover.

The multi-episode arc about his attempt to bring down a sex trafficking ring was compelling, especially when the big fish he was trying to catch threatened to trap a bunch of trafficked women in a burning van to cover his tracks.

Jamie was willing to risk everything to save those women’s lives, which is one of the reasons he’s always been my favorite. Jamie cares a lot about the people he serves and will go to extremes to protect them.

In earlier seasons, there were some moving mental health stories involving Jamie understanding suspects with mental health issues and stopping other cops from shooting them when they didn’t comply with orders.

This story offered him the ability to do something similar.

The only weakness in this story is that Eddie is underused.

She mentioned at the dinner table that she was worried while Jamie was away but had to accept the danger as part of being married to a cop.

However, she didn’t have any other stories related to her need to cope with Jamie being on a dangerous undercover assignment.

It was also silly that Jamie could attend a Sunday dinner in the middle of the assignment, but that’s a ridiculous TV trope that shows involving undercover missions often use.

(Ask Law & Order: Organized Crime’s Elliot Stabler, who is forever coming home after a day of working undercover.)

Character With The Worst Storyline(s) – Frank

One of the core aspects of Blue Bloods’ premise is Frank’s conflicts with the Dream Team and the mayor.

Usually, he wants to do something unpopular because he believes it’s right, provoking Garrett’s ire because the optics are terrible or aggravating the mayor.

Frank only clashed with Mayor Chase once this season, which is fine. I don’t like the overdone Frank vs. the Mayor stories.

What wasn’t fine was that his conflicts with the Dream Team were often silly.

The worst was probably Blue Bloods Season 14 Episode 7, in which an entire third of the episode was devoted to Frank trying to stop Sid from having a boxing match with a younger cop that annoyed him.

The usually optics-averse Frank was worried about how it would look for Sid to get in the ring, while Henry thought Frank should leave it alone.

Surely, the police commissioner had better things to worry about!

Blue Bloods Season 14 Episode 6 was even sillier. Frank helped Garrett’s neighbor after the woman’s car was impounded and she couldn’t get to work. 

Blue Bloods Season 14 Episode 8 was slightly better.

Frank dealt with hurt feelings because Abigail asked Sid and Garrett to help her husband get a job but didn’t ask Frank.

This was at least a more serious conflict, especially with Frank feeling that Abigail had used her position in his office to get her husband a job.

However, half the episode was devoted to everyone telling Frank he was intimidating, which was ridiculous and, in Abigail’s case, contradictory.

Frank can be a grumpy curmudgeon, but Abigail has never been afraid of him.

Were we supposed to forget that Abigail spent most of the season before this episode standing up to Frnak when she thought he was making the wrong decision?

Most Improved – Erin 

Erin Reagan has never been my favorite character. She often comes across as overly judgmental and annoying.

When she butts heads with Frank, it always feels like it’s because she has his stubbornness and determination to follow her value system without his ability to think things through.

Erin has had some more interesting stories that have shown a softer side.

Although some viewers objected to her attempt to make amends to a middle schooler who was angry that her brother was in jail, the story showed Erin’s commitment to justice.

Blue Bloods approaches social justice stories from a different angle, showing the cops’ perspective while leaving room for viewers to disagree, and many of Erin’s stories fit that bill this season.

Erin seemed to have been rewritten as an attorney who went into this field for the right reasons and took it hard whenever she learned she had perpetuated injustice instead of getting victims what they deserved.

Her determination to get a public defender who had a conflict of interest off an innocent man’s case on Blue Bloods Season 14 Episode 9 was one of the best of the season and one of the few times Blue Bloods has offered a tragic ending as a critique of the system’s imperfections.

Most Inconsistent – Joe Hill

Joe Hill was all over the place.

When he and Jamie cross paths on an undercover assignment, he is his usual annoying self, but by the end of the story, he expresses gratitude for his connection with the Reagans.

Yet he and Jamie got into a fistfight on Episode 9 because Joe didn’t want to be associated with the Reagans and thought Jamie was too much of a goody-two-shoes because of what family he came from.

That fistfight was contrived nonsense that didn’t fit Jamie’s character either (even if it did finally give Frank something worthwhile to do!).

As far as Joe went, it felt like the writers had forgotten what had come before.

If Joe is going to be in the show, he needs to stop going in circles and find some other storyline besides being ambivalent about being a Reagan.

Miscellaneous Thoughts

  • Danny explored the world of dating, but it didn’t go anywhere (yet!). Sean wanted to deal with having been mugged by himself rather than involve Danny. These plot points could be set up for a compelling final story for Danny involving him dealing with his soon-to-be-empty nest.

  • Sean is a woefully underused character nowadays. He and Henry competed for who could have the fewest lines per episode.

  • The family dinner scenes were not a big enough part of the show. This might be part of CBS’s attempt to save money, but it was still a disappointment. In past years, the dinner scenes were often part of the main story rather than a two-minute epilogue at the end of each episode.

  • The tribute to Treat Williams was beautiful, and the placard at the end made me tear up.

Your turn, Blue Bloods fanatics! What did you think of the first half of the final season? 

Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know!

Blue Bloods’ final eight episodes will air on CBS on Fridays at 10/9c from October to December 2024.

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on X.

Originally Posted Here

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