Think every family in the Crime And Punishment genre is on the bad guys side? This family is different. The Reagan family is a cop family, not a robber family. A four-generational family with a retired Police Commissioner from Ye Goode Olde Days as the great-grandpa, current Police Commissioner Frank Reagan as The Patriarch, his sons who are all cops and his daughter who is a DA. And their children (two of which have declared they are seriously considering joining the NYPD). They live together, quarrel but stick by each other. Because the family that arrests together stays together.They have different personalities. Grandpa Henry is a hardbitten Da Chief from the old days. Frank is an incorruptible patriarch and responsible leader, who knows how to keep peace between his children and how to encourage them without giving undue favoritism. Danny is a ruthless but competent homicide/major case detective who always catches the bad guys. Erin is a stickler for points of law but she can also manipulate the law to advantage when seeking a conviction. And Jamie is an idealist who feels a call to serve and protect. They are all loyal to each other and they all serve the cause of keeping order in the city of New York.Blue Bloods episodes typically interweave about three plot threads focusing on different parts of the family. Every episode has Danny and his current partner in a fairly standard Police Procedural Case of the Week, but the other threads vary widely by episode, from family drama around Erin's and Danny's children to Frank wrestling between his duties as police commissioner and his desire to do right by his family and city, to Jamie's growth and maturation from rookie academy graduate to experienced patrol officer.Not to be confused with the aristocracy, whose article is named Blue Blood.
This program provides examples of:
20% More Awesome: Rossellini promising Erin that he'll turn over a new leaf. "I'll change — fifty percent."
Actor Allusion: Frank's mention of being a Marine with service in Vietnam. During Magnum, P.I.'s run, Tom Selleck often wore a cap with the legend "VMO-2", which was a Marine Forward Air Control squadron out of Da Nang.
The Aggressive Drug Dealer: Noble Sanfino trying to push some new party drug on Jamie, only to OD himself. He gets revenge by giving his dealer a near-fatal dose of his own product.
Erin gets weak in the knees when she meets art aficionado "Frank Weller." And she gets even weaker when he turns out to be an art thief who is using a fake alias. Frank is less than thrilled, but Erin tells him to mind his business.
Averted with almost every other major female, however. Any woman drawn to Jamie (Sydney, Laura, Bianca) or Frank (Kelly, Melanie) is almost surely not looking for a bad boy, and although Danny might have shades of being a bad boy, Linda clearly appreciates his very real husband / parenting skills.
Amoral Attorney: DA Rossellini has his eyes on the Mayorship, and is happy to manipulate Erin in order to get it. And if the Mayor goes, Erin's father goes.
Ancestral Weapon: Frank's Fitz Special revolver, which was handed down from his Grandfather to Henry, and then to him. Danny also uses Henry's old not-quite-authorized / not-quite-legal slapper (essentially a small blackjack).
Arranged Marriage: Sammy Khan wasn't shot because of his anti-terror credentials, but because a traditionalist Muslim already had dibs on his wife.
Ask a Stupid Question...: In "Leap of Faith", Danny thinks some small-town detectives could have been more thorough with the investigation of the first late Mrs. Bines.
Danny: And where was Mister Bines during all this? Detective: Oh, right, I forgot to tell you. He was at the arsenic store.
Very much so. The best example of this is when Danny's wife is kidnapped by a drug lord: the family bands together and figures out where she is, allowing Danny and ESU to be Big Damn Heroes, and Erin finds the mole in the DA's office.
Lampshaded when Danny's son asks fearfully if a burglar could target them.
Grandpa Henry: Are you kiddin'? He'll get one look at this table and run the other way.
Big Brother Mentor: Ironically enough, not Danny, Jamie's actual brother; but Sergeant Renzulli, his training officer.
Big "NO!": Danny, when a fellow officer and family friend is shot. ("The Life We Chose")
Bittersweet Ending: Innocence. The wrong man was convicted of rape; while he's exonerated 18 years of his life are gone. Meanwhile the real rapist can't be prosecuted due to the 5-year statue of limitations, and has raped again... but this time, he's on Frank's radar.
I'll be watching you. And so will the thirty five thousand police officers in this city.
Blasting It out of Their Hands: Discussed and mocked after Jamie kills a man for the first time. A reporter at a press briefing asks Frank why Jamie shot to kill instead of trying to shoot the gun out of the man's hand. Frank just sort of gives him an exasperated look before explaining that Jamie followed department policy, which is to shoot until the threat is neutralized.
Bling of War : NYPD uniforms have a party salad of decorations on a plate that also includes their badge. In a small subversion, the most prominent decoration is a simple black bar, with the letters "WTC", awarded to 9/11 first responders.
Blunt Yes: A suburban detective, chafing at Danny's questions.
In "The Bitter End" Jamie Reagan and his partner Vinny Cruz are lured into a housing project by a Latino gang with a beef against the NYPD. It's an ambush, and Vinny is fatally shot. End of the next episode, what seems like half the NYPD storms the place and makes over 40 arrests on various charges, including Vinny's murder.
Newly promoted Chief Dino Arboghast jumps from OCCB Chief to Chief of Department. (The NYPD is so gigantic -and has so many civilian personnel- that the Chief of Department in charge of all sworn officers, but still answers to the Commish)
Sarge Gormley runs Danny's department, a job which harries him to no end..
Dude, Where's My Respect?: When Jamie rescues a baby from a burning building, Renzulli is hailed as the hero to protect the undercover sting. Played with a little: Frank gives Jamie the medal he deserves privately later.
Fanservice with a Smile: In her teens, Erin worked as a roller-bunny at a cocktail bar (specifically Roxy's). Frank was apparently aware of it (his mustache twitches in amusement at the memory) but he let it slide.
Get Out: Guilt-stricken Erin tries to pays a call to her informant's widow, and is sent packing. Rather than feel even guiltier, Erin zeroes in on the wife's total lack of interest in the case.
Giving Them the Strip: Chasing a suspect who dives into a waiting car, Danny gets his raincoat caught in the slamming car door. The suspect and accomplice start driving away, dragging Danny along with them; unable to keep up running for more than a few seconds, Danny struggles out of his coat just in time.
If Frank can't shoot them himself or put other cops in a position to shoot them, he's perfectly willing to outwit the bad guys instead. He even ran The Plan on a foreign ambassador whose son was a rapist in "Privilege".
Both Danny and Erin have a little bit of this in them too.
He-Man Woman Hater: A smug rapist who got off scot-free, and isn't shy about voicing his gender political views. After a heated meeting with Erin, he intones, "She lies. They all lie."
Hello, Attorney!: Erin Reagan-Boyle. And Charles Rossellini, to be honest (Hey, it's Bobby Cannavale).
In "To Tell the Truth", Danny and Erin have difficulty convincing an eyewitness to testify against a gangster. To remedy this, the cops leak his location to the underworld, then wait for the gangsters to strike before swooping in to "rescue" him.
In "Critical Condition", Jamie and his new partner, Sosa, stake out a park bench and wait for someone to take a bag of stolen goods. Jamie squirms over what he views as "borderline entrapment." In reality it would only qualify if they convinced someone to take the bag-just leaving it out there is completely legal.
In "Old Wounds", Erin Reagan prosecutes a case where her ex-husband is the defense attorney, when in reality that would never happen, because such would be a conflict of interests. This also happens in other episodes, all without any comment.
In "Protest Too Much", a young couple rob a bank, accidentally shooting a man in the process. Detective Danny Reagan is on the case. As the FBI agents investigating this point out, it's a federal crime to rob a bank, which includes any crimes committed during the course of that (even when the shooting was done by an off-duty NYPD cop's gun-he was at the bank and got disarmed by the bank robbers) meaning it should be an exclusive FBI investigation. The NYPD might not even be on the case at all, but then, of course, there would be no story).
In "Unwritten Rules", police detective Danny gets upset with his prosecutor sister Erin when she won't press charges on a suspect identified as killing a police officer during an armed robbery because the eyewitness, an elderly woman, is shaky on it being him and she doesn't think she'll hold up. While it would still be enough to arrest him, she says to let him go. Later they tell the suspect there's another witness against him, and offer him a plea deal where he'd only do seven years in prison. Danny then "let's slip" the fact that this witness didn't identify him, and the suspect backs out at once, which is all part of their plan. He's then arrested due to the confession he signed to get the plea deal. While police and prosecutors can lie to a suspect, this does not apply to the terms of a plea bargain, and self-incriminating statements made on the promise of a deal cannot be used against them if it falls through. Very few people would make plea deals otherwise.
In "Justice Served" its suspected that lawyer Angelo Gallo was shot because he dropped his client, a mob boss, who thought he would tell the police about killing a witness to make the case against him go away because supposedly "attorney-client privilege ends" when their business relationship does. Not even close-it applies to all past criminal activity clients admitted to (unless the lawyer themselves was party to it). Later on it turns out that Gallo knows the details of the contract killing his client ordered, which he gives to police. It's not made clear whether he knew about this before or after the crime had occurred, however. Assuming the latter, none of this information could be used against his client.
In the same episode, Jamie's partner officer Edit "Eddie" Janko is almost date-raped in her apartment. She's reluctant to come forward out of fear she'll appear weak in front of fellow (particularly male) officers. Finally he convinces her to press charges. Rather than hand it off to the detectives who handle such crimes, however, Janko personally arrests the man who attacked her. This is a massive conflict of interest, as she's the one who's complaint they're arresting him on to begin with, a fact that any defense attorney would make hay out of (cue Rule of Drama for this).
On a side note, it's very unlikely Danny, a homicide detective, would be allowed on the jury in a murder trial by the defense (though he turns out be on their side).
Honey Trap: The victim in "Family Ties" was supposed to be photographed kissing a hired blonde. The mother of the bride decided to cut out the middleman and shoot him instead.
Informed Attribute: In "Black and White", Frank blackmails the Mayor, insults an activist preacher to his face, and leaks a taped confession to the press. At the end, Frank's lawyer praises him for his political savvy (!) and urges to run for Mayor.
Internal Affairs: We've seen two recurring-role investigators so far. BOTH have been revealed to have been crooked.
In "Officer Down", a cop dies in the line of duty. It becomes personal for every single cop in New York.
"Hall of Mirrors": an undercover cop is shot.
And of course, "Dedication", in which Frank is shot.
Frank considers the death of any cop a personal grievance. ("The Life We Chose")
"Silver Star" is personal for both Frank and Danny, as both were Marine vets, and so was the victim.
The case of Raymond, the police dog accused of biting a boy in "Bad Blood", is personal for Frank, who was a canine handler in the 80s, but transferred out after his dog was shot and killed by a burglar.
Ivy League For Everyone: Jamie is a Harvard boy. Deconstructed in that it's mentioned a couple times he's having money problems due to his student loans.
Danny: Okay. Here's how my testimony's gonna go. The suspect grabbed a sword down the wall, I ordered him to drop the sword, he failed to comply, bladda bladda bladda, I feared for my life, so no had no choice but to fire my service weapon striking him several times in the chest and face."
Myth Arc: Jamie and The Blue Templars during season 1. Started out as the main thrust of the series but was quickly shoved to the back burner, appearing mainly in Book Ends in the episodes where it's mentioned at all. Season 2 shifts it to Jamie going undercover in the Sanfino crime syndicate. Dropped in season 3.
Nepotism : Zig Zagged. The Reagan clan is encouraged by family tradition, and Frank tends to prefer using Danny and his current partner for major cases. However there is no string-pulling for them per se and they all become competent at their work.
New Meat: Jamie. He's slowly leveling his badass and becoming street smart under Renzulli's mentoring.
No Badge? No Problem!: In "The Uniform" Danny's Case of the Week involves an auxiliary officer, a part-time patrolman who is not issued a gun and is usually supposed to call in the real cops. The auxiliary in question brought along his own gun and fired on a suspect. It was eventually ruled a good shoot, and the auxiliary even got into police academy later.
Henry certainly applies. When Frank was shot, the entire family was in the waiting room. After revealing that has a gun, Henry sits in front and the show proceeds to time skip a few hour. You don't think much of it, until you realize that Henry is the only one who's relatively alert. Meaning that he was guarding his family, as the only way to get to them was to go through him.
And then there was the time Henry pulled a gun on an EMT to save his son from meningitis.
It's also discussed earlier, as when Jamie is under an Internal Affairs investigation, Frank resists the temptation to tell IA to let him slide. Henry helps out by letting him know that the same thing happened to Frank when he was Commissioner, but he let IA go through because he knew Frank would be cleared. He was, and so was Jamie.
Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Danny and Linda's marital strife spills over into a family dinner during grace. Danny compliments his wife's prayer, "especially that part about making good decisions."
Danny has a somewhat shocking tendency toward this and sometimes the audience can't tell how far he will go. Given that it's usually towards quite despicable criminals, it comes off as Pay Evil unto Evil.
In "Whistle Blower", an incriminating video of a cop assaulting an old man goes viral. Actually a subversion: once they were able to subpoena the unedited version it was clear the old man had made a grab for the officer's pistol.
In "The Job", a suburbanite father is waging a one-man war against "halfway house dirtbags."
A pair of junkies holding up an immigrant family ("Parenthood"). "I know you people don't use banks. Where's the money, chica?"
Pompous Political Pundit: The borderline white-supremacist radio host who tries to make a live broadcast from a New York theater.
Principles Zealot: Erin, the daughter is an assistant DA and always getting in arguments with the other members of the family about the tension between legal protection, and law enforcement efficiency. An old problem that will always remain and is well handled in the show.
Protect This House: A father shoots dead the burglar who attacked his family, which is good enough for Danny. Not so much for the law, however, because a) the suspect was shot outside of the home, and b) the shooter is an illegal immigrant. In the end Danny coaches him on his confession to paint the case in the best possible light for the D.A.
Reed tries on Frank, holding Erin's hostage. Frank's response is to just shoot him.
A perp in Season 2 gets the drop on Jackie and tries to invoke this on Danny, who acts as if he's going to play this straight... and then Jackie slips out of the perp's grasp, grabs her gun back, and Danny's gun is back on target.
Put on a Bus: Mayor Poole does not appear much in season 3, as his actor was a series regular on Arrow. He returns for the last two episodes.
Reality Ensues: In the pilot, Danny beats the shit out of achild molester to find a kidnapped girl. The child molester slides because his lawyer successfully argues that his confession admitted under torture be thrown out, forcing Danny to find other evidence to put him away.
A Real Man Is a Killer: The letter of the trope is averted rather thoroughly by leaving Jamie Reagan's first kill until the middle of season three and making it a Suicide by Cop. Jamie, already in the grips of These Hands Have Killed, is understandably horrified, and not once does anyone treat it as a rite of passage. During the same episode Frank recounts a statistic that less than five percent of cops ever have to fire their weapons outside the range, and less than five percent of those shootings are fatal. On the other hand, Jamie's first shooting, which was nonfatal, gets a passing treatment as this by the IA detective doing the routine shooting investigation, who tells him to enjoy the paperwork.
Real Men Love Jesus: Like true Irish-Americans, the Reagans are good Catholics. However, in one season 3 episode Danny admits to only trying to set an example for his kids and that he lost his faith a long time ago.
Inverted in "Parenthood," when the Mayor's daughter Ariel joins a protest and his caught up in the ensuring dragnet. Ariel doesn't demand special treatment, but her parents politely suggest, separately, that Frank had better let the matter drop.
Averted with Jamie, of course. With his family connections, he could have made Detective by now.
Played with when Jamie arrests the previous mayor's daughter for smoking pot. She tries to invoke this, but after a discussion with Erin her dad tells the judge:
"I would like to tell the court that my daughter is a wonderful young woman ... (beat) ... who needs to learn to respect the law."
The bad guys don't have a monopoly on this. In "Warriors" the State Department refuses to grant political asylum to a Turkish cellist in danger of being the victim of an honor killing if she returns home (for having dated an American during the tour). Frank talks a contact into getting the New York Philharmonic to hire her, and his opposite number at State, the episode's Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist, expedites a work visa.
Semper Fi: Henry, Frank and Danny are all Marine veterans who've seen combat (Korea, Vietnam and Iraq, respectively).
Shoot Him, He Has a Wallet!: Danny shoots a man who seems to be holding a gun. It turns out the guy was an off-duty police officer and was about to show them their badge. Danny is in serious trouble while Internal Affairs investigates whether it was an honest mistake or negligence.
Sickbed Slaying: Narrowly averted with a counter-terror agent who survived his shooting.
Slobs Versus Snobs: So far, there is recurring tension between the Reagans who 'did good' and their friends who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. In a toss-up, the underprivileged tend to side with criminals.
Stop, or I Shoot Myself!: In the Season One finale, Sonny Malevski, member of the Blue Templar and the guy who killed Joe pulls this when Frank shows up to arrest the Blue Templar. Frank's response?
"We all die, Sonny, it's just a question of when."
Strapped to a Bomb: In one episode, an ex-con Danny put away takes his partner, Jackie, hostage and ties her to a bomb in order to draw Danny out.
Sure, Let's Go with That: When Frank returns from his secret trip to the psychiatrist, Garrett tries to figure out where Frank's been, and after several vague answers to Garrett's questions, arrives at the conclusion that Frank is dating someone secretly. Frank sees no reason to correct him on this point, since "[Reagans] don't [go to psychiatrists]". See also Mistaken for Cheating above.
Swallow the Key: Frank Reagan didn't raise no fools. When confronted by some mob brokers, Jamie gulps down the thumbdrive he used to hack their finances.
Faced with public outcry against a brutal dictator coming to New York for medical treatment, Frank has the police protect him before and during his surgery, then as soon as he's able to be moved he puts him on a plane back home, where a popular uprising has just deposed his government.
Faced with a white supremacist radio host making a live broadcast from a New York theater, Frank ensures the show can technically go on, but puts the man's police protection inside the theater and staffs it entirely with non-white officers led by a VERY large black sergeant.
When an off duty police officer, who has had a few drinks, stops a robbery at first he is an hero - then he is in trouble for pulling his gun after drinking. Frank is advised to stay out of it. Instead he calls a press conference and announces the man will be slightly punished, but he gets to keep his job. He also makes it clear he's punishing the officer only because the regulations require it and that he'd work the streets with him any day of the week.
Frank's not the only one. In one episode Nicky leads a demonstration against her schools policies regarding random, unannounced searches of lockers without consent from kids or parents, and Erin's caught between wanting to support Nicky against threats of suspensions for the protest and the fact that, legally, the school does have the right to do so. In the end Nicky inadvertently gives her the third option by holding the demonstration, key point, after hours and across the street from campus. The principal threatens to suspend the lot of them but Erin walks up and shuts her down by invoking the First Amendment.
Taking the Kids: Erin got Nicky after divorcing her husband, a defense attorney. To this day, Nicky is convinced on some deep level that defense lawyers are heroes and DAs are evil.
Tap on the Head: Oh, right — Danny doesn't appreciate people pointing guns at Jackie, either.
Perp: I give up. Danny: Too late. [punches his lights out]
That Was the Last Entry: While listening to Joe's old iPod, Jamie uncovers a recording of his late brother preparing to infiltrate the Blue Templar.
Therapy Is For The Weak: Frank sourly tells his shrink that Reagan men don't go for prescription drugs. Or shrinks, for that matter.
Unrepentant serial rapist Dick Reed attacks Erin, who is not only a DA but a woman who has not one, not two, not three, but four cops in the immediate family. Why he thought this would end well for him is anyone's guess.
Toyota Tripwire: A perp decides to rabbit and escapes on a scooter. He nearly mows down Danny, but doesn't quite clear Jackie's front bumper. Ouch.
The War on Straw: The show does not take a romanticized view of the NYPD Commissioner's office. Frank has butted heads with protesters and union reps. Zig-Zagged in "Leap of Faith", which seems to portray the archdiocese as a standard Corrupt Church shielding a anarchist priest. Though Frank initially opposes his nomination for sainthood, after performing his own investigation, he decides things weren't so black and white in the Vietnam days. He even comes to the Priest's defense when the archbishops show signs of buyer's remorse.
Mentioned from time to time. Frank was a 9/11 first responder and saw the towers go down; he suffers from Survivors Guilt as a result. He also has a peeve about people exploiting the tragedy to further their careers. Danny was a Marine who fought in Fallujah.
In one early episode, the entire department goes on high alert for a bomb threat by homegrown Islamic terrorists.
In "Hall of Mirrors" an undercover cop who infiltrated a terrorist cell is shot in a drive-by.
In "Moonlighting", Frank broods over a quote from Donald Rumsfeld regarding the Iraq War ("the known unknowns").
You Are Not Alone: Frank reminds Danny of this at the end of "Silver Star", when Danny muses on how he could have ended up just like the victim, a homeless vet.
You Should Have Died Instead: The wife of a slain informant discovers that Erin was the one pulling his strings. "So because you suck at your job, I'm a widow and my kids don't have a father." Of course, this is rendered moot when it turns out the wife was cheating on her man with someone he was investigating, who was the actual killer, and that it was the wife who blew his cover, if unintentionally, not Erin.
Your Cheating Heart: In "Whistler Blower", Erin's informant is murdered while spying on a white-collar criminal — the same criminal who is sleeping with the informant's wife. So much for wearing a wire.
Mrs. Milo: [to Erin] I don't know what fancy place you come from, but from where I come from, there is nothing worse than a rat!