mon 23/09/2019

Blue Bloods, Sky Atlantic | reviews, news & interviews

Blue Bloods, Sky Atlantic

Blue Bloods, Sky Atlantic

Meet the Reagans, New York's Number One crime-fighting dynasty

Whether the family name was intended to convey any kind of political resonance is a matter for conjecture, though it serves well enough for a multi-generational family of Big Apple police officers of Irish descent. Actually, they're not quite all police officers – the various grandchildren are still too young to wear the badge, while Erin, daughter of Police Commissioner Frank Reagan (a mightily moustachioed Tom Selleck), is an Assistant District Attorney. Played by Bridget Moynahan with two-fisted feistiness, Erin is destined to be the sounding board for any number of ethical and legal issues. These have a habit of surfacing around the dinner table as the clan gathers for Sunday lunch, a recurring set piece of the series.

Take this opening episode, for instance. Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg) is an aggressive, high-achieving detective, one of the very finest of New York's finest, but he has an unfortunate habit of overstepping the line. This week, it took him barely 15 minutes to crack a child abduction case, via the simple expedient of flushing the prime suspect's head down a toilet and then smashing his face into the rim of the toilet bowl. Even as the cops were rescuing Teresa, the tearful (but unharmed) kidnapee, the battered perp was yelling “police brutality!”

selleck__dadDanny and his fellow officers notched this up as a win, but Internal Affairs were already looking into the case, and frostiness ensued around the Reagan dinner table. “The laws are there for a reason,” fumed Erin. “Yeah, to protect the criminals,” snorted great-grandad Henry Reagan (Len Cariou, pictured right with Tom Selleck). Frank weighed in weightily, as is his wont – there'll be no Magnum PI wisecrackery on Selleck's watch – with the assertion that “enhanced interrogation” can be valid in certain circumstances. It was the old 24 defence – if you're trying to find a ticking bomb in the subway with hundreds of lives at risk, surely torturing the bomber is justified?

Future episodes will find the Reagans debating further prickly themes, not least the racial profiling of terrorist suspects. Meanwhile the newest recruit to the family business, Officer Jamie Reagan (Will Estes, pictured below), has only just been made a cop, having given up a glittering law career to follow his genetically ordained path. Already though, he has been tapped up by the FBI to be their inside man in the investigation of the mysterious Blue Templar, a secret society within the NYPD involved in murder and corruption, and which may have killed Jamie's brother Joe.

Jamie_smallThis was a pretty rich stew for one episode, which also touched on Danny's military past in Iraq and set up Police Commissioner Reagan's fraught relationship with the Mayor. The obvious risk Blue Bloods faces is trying to keep the complicated family ties in play every week while also delivering a plausible crime story (a sneak peek at future episodes reveals that there's a tendency for Danny Reagan to solve every major crime in the New York area single-handed).

On the up side, the show wears its New York locations with pride, and it's a cracking cast. It would be nice to see Selleck's Mount Rushmore gravitas loosen up a little bit, but Wahlberg sizzles in every scene, while even the smaller roles – notably John Turturro as the Joe Pesci-ish Sgt Renzulli - are meticulously rendered. Bit of a bummer if you're not a Sky subscriber, of course.

Watch the trailer for Blue Bloods

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