Posted in: Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 15th, 2011
“It is with profound praise and gratitude that I welcome you new police officers, proud that you have answered the call to service and today join the ranks of New York’s finest.”
Guess who else answered the call. Tom Selleck has traded in his bright fire-engine-red Ferrari and Hawaiian sun and surf for a desk job at the New York Police Department. And oh, what a desk job it is. CBS has scored a homerun with its freshmen drama series Blue Bloods. It might just have been the best new show of the 2010-11 season.
“You have earned the distinction of being the best trained, best prepared police officers in the world. Ready to serve and protect the most vibrant city in the world, where everyday brings a responsibility to keep all New Yorkers safe. Safe from crime and safe from terrorism.”
Blue Bloods is the first television drama to capture the best of the police procedural and also the warmth and charm of the family drama. It’s like NYPD Blue invaded the set of Brothers & Sisters. The show brings incredibly good writing and production values that do look and feel like a film every week. You hear that a lot from series show runners, but this is one of those rare cases where it is true. It doesn’t hurt that the show has a strong cast that includes the like of Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg. It doesn’t work unless everyone connected with a show buys into a common goal. That’s exactly what you get here, and it shows on the screen.
“And though the city is on the very cutting edge of technology, nothing replaces your unwavering sense of right and wrong and your eyes and ears on the street. And we remain safe because of the hard work and dedication of the men and women of the New York City Police Department.”
Tom Selleck is Frank Reagan. He’s the police commissioner of the NYPD. He’s no stranger to the job. In fact, police is the Reagan family business. His father Henry (Cariou) was the commissioner before him who was fired for his brutal honesty and straight talk. His father is a constant reminder that the job is not always just about policing the city. There are politics to deal with no matter how hard he tries to avoid them. His son Joe was killed in the line of duty. His elder son Danny (Wahlberg) is one of the force’s best detectives. His youngest son Jamie (Estes) is a brand-new recruit on the force. He has a Harvard law degree but he decided to give up the idea of a law practice to go into the family business. Daughter Erin (Moynahan) is not a cop. But, that doesn’t mean she’s out of the loop. She is a lawyer who works for the DA’s office. When the Reagans gather for their traditional Sunday dinner, the family chatter often involves dead bodies and hard criminals.
Each week there is the traditional case-of-the-week format. Danny and his partner Jackie (Esposito) might catch a murder case, or Jamie and his training officer Renzulli, played by NYPD Blue vet Nicholas Turtorro, might have a run-in with a criminal. The cases get played out pretty much the way a normal cop show might play, and then there is the family dynamic. Cases might cause friction and stress between the family members. Here is where the performances and strong characters make this a very different show from the rest of the police dramas out there.
Then there’s the mythology of the show. As soon as he is sworn in Jamie is approached by FBI agents who hint that his brother’s death is connected to a grand conspiracy within the police department called The Blue Templar. It was an organization originally started for officers to police their own ranks but has now grown into huge corruption itself. The group is considered a myth by most, but Jamie and the Reagans learn it is very real.
There’s just enough of the mythology arc to keep things interesting. The stories are usually stand-alone, and you will enjoy this slightly different take on the cop show.
Each episode is presented in its original broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1. For the most part it’s a solid presentation. Colors are fairly natural and the image is about as sharp as anything else coming from television DVD. Because they stick with just 4 episodes on a disc you’ll get a more solid bit rate, and compression won’t be so much a problem. That means somewhat better than average black levels.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track isn’t going to be all that immersive. Surrounds are relatively quiet. This show is more about the characters, so dialog is what’s important here.
Deleted Scenes and Commentary on select episodes.
On Air Launch Promos
Creating The Characters: (23:55) The focus here is on casting. You get some audition footage and a good profile of each character.
Code Blue: (7:44) This feature looks at the Blue Templar aspects of the stories.
Keeping It Reel: (9:01) The obligatory feature on the attempt at authenticity.
Analyzing A Scene: (4:41) This one looks at those Sunday dinner scenes.
Empire State Of Mind: (5:07) This is one of those “the city is a character on the show” features.
Gag Reel: (6:00)
With so much recycled junk on television these days it’s rewarding to find a new show that can add some fresh ideas to familiar concepts. This is absolutely one of those shows. It’s coming back and I can’t wait to see more of the Reagan family in action. “Start spreading the news.”