With NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit having been on the air for eleven years, chances are that there isn’t a case involving sexual assault that hasn’t been featured on some cop drama somewhere at some point in time. Unfortunately for Blue Bloods, this week’s episode revolved around what appeared to be a serial attacker of female students, and from the very beginning of the case, seemed to be determined to use every single trite plotline in the book…in one single episode.
On the one hand, it’s comforting that writers are sticking to the usual stuff, because it’s unsettling enough that there are real-life events from which to pull most of these stories – to have the writers dreaming up even more horrifying situations would be to serve a death sentence to a show, most likely – but at the same time, there’s a reason that some cop dramas run so long. They don’t try to put every possible plotline into one single episode. Beginning with the revelation that the prime suspect was a diplomat’s son, and that his father had invoked his diplomatic immunity, and spiraling into the involvement in a secret society at the college, plus the responsibility of the first victim’s boyfriend, the plot was pretty much as predictable as they come. Add to the mix that the father of the girl who was raped was ready to take matters into his own hands and kill the boy responsible for raping his daughter, Kelly took advantage of her relationship with Frank to get the jump on the rest of the press corps in the city, and the police detectives used slightly-questionable means to attain the DNA of the diplomat’s son, and well, it was about twelve episodes of three other shows all rolled into one.
Except, for as annoying as the predictability of the storyline was, this family still engages, and that chemistry is what will keep this show afloat, and keep it fresh from other police procedurals. As compelling as the core four – Frank, Danny, Erin, and Jamie – are, however, it would be wonderful to see more of the rest of the family, too. So far, Amy Carlson has been woefully underused as Danny’s wife Linda, only appearing at the always-cut-short family dinners following the pilot episode, in which she also appeared at Jamie’s graduation from the Academy. A capable dramatic actress, she needs to be given something more to do than gently scold her children, or sit and give amused looks to Erin and Grandpa Henry from across the table before everyone scatters to tend to various duties.
That being said, the interruption of family dinners is getting a little bit tired, and it’s only the third episode. We understand that their lives as public servants mean that they’re never really off the clock, but it’s quickly approaching the realm of boring. By this point, audiences know that the family has dinner together every Sunday, and that it generally gets interrupted by a case. We don’t have to see it happen in every episode. Yes, this dinner was a little more important than others have been, considering it was the first time Jamie’s fiancée Sydney (Dylan Moore) apparently sat down to the family table, and she proceeded to challenge Danny and Jamie in their beliefs surrounding diplomatic immunity. She also proved that she is easily the most annoying member of the cast. Her high-and-mighty attitude coupled with a distinct lack of real presence make it a blessing that she probably won’t be around much longer, if the growing tension between her and Jamie is any indication.
She does, however, have some competition in Kelly. Her behavior in this episode went beyond her usual opportunistic tendencies, and the fact that she blatantly used her relationship with Frank to get ahead is actually kind of disgusting. The construction of this character leads to nothing but questions about why the Commissioner is even with her, because there have been no indications thus far of a side that isn’t completely consumed by her job, and ruled by the desire to do whatever it takes to get her scoop. The breakup phone call may or may not have led to vocal cheers from some people, but the receipt of the box of cigars at the end of the episode led to a few more questions regarding the state of the relationship.
Those same cigars, however, led to what was probably the best scene in the entire episode, with Frank professing “if you want a pat on the back, don’t become a cop,” and his three children and father proceeding to pat him on the back and teasingly chorus “Good job, Dad,” and “Good job, Son.”
Oh, there was also another bit of Templar storyline revealed – once again, towards the very end of the episode – and a wrench thrown into the information we’ve already received. As learned in a photograph, Danny, too, is/was a Templar, which visibly shook Jamie up. So far, things seem to be pointing to something even darker than expected, and my money is on the involvement of Renzulli (Nick Turturro), Jamie’s training officer who seems to harbor distinctly negative feelings towards Danny. Why? Because Nick Turturro rarely plays characters who are totally on the straight-and-narrow, and he’s good at them. That being said, these small tastes of the Templar storyline are absolutely maddening in that they’re so small, but brilliant in that audiences are kept on their toes about it. I’m looking for it to come to a head during November sweeps.