Blue Bloods S8E1 Review

Blue Bloods Review: 8x01 “Cutting Losses”

WARNING: Major Spoilers for the Blue Bloods season premiere below. Do not read if you haven’t watched it.

            The promos for “Cutting Losses” made it clear that Blue Bloods was in for some big changes, just not the ones it seemed like. The promotion focused on the new mayor possibly firing Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) as police commissioner. This did not come to pass in these exact terms. The big change was the death of significant character. Danny Reagan’s (Donnie Walhberg) wife Linda (Amy Carlson) is dead.

            Before I get into the meat of the review, I will discuss this decision. This event has caused a bit of controversy from the fanbase and parallels made to fellow CBS series Kevin Can Wait, who also killed off the wife of the main character. I believe that this was done tastefully, it was the pragmatic thing to do and is an unfair insult to compare it to Kevin Can Wait in anyway. Once Amy Carlson decided to leave the show after 7 seasons, this was the only good decision. Her character was too important to have disappear without explanation. Danny and Linda’s marriage was too strong for them to get a divorce. Yes, Danny and Linda didn’t have the perfect relationship. They fought. However, the fought after realistic things husbands and wives fight about and what would happen when they had high stress positions such as a nurse and homicide detective. A divorce or separation would have been out of character for both, especially if it involved infidelity from either party. After Amy Carlson made the voluntary decision to leave the show, a tasteful off-screen death was the only good option to be respectful to the actress and character.

            In “Cutting Losses”, Frank and Danny are feeling tired and exhausted by the weight of years at their jobs, and are not sure if they want to keep going on. This is significant because neither Danny nor Frank have ever shown much second guessing of their careers. Being a cop is something they are 100% committed to.

            We last saw Danny in the breathtaking season finale in May watching his house be burned down by arson. This included an image of Danny clutching his wife and children. The house was destroyed, but the family was safe. The family had been through a lot. Nicky had been kidnapped by a serial killer because she was Danny’s niece and in the season 5 finale had featured his wife Linda being non-fatally shot and wounded.

            Danny’s story this episode starts out with Erin Reagan (Bridget Moynahan) asking her brother to come with her to investigate while her ex-husband Jack has not been responding to her. When they discover Jack unconscious and have to rush him to the hospital, after it seems like he has been attacked, Danny is asked by his sister to investigate the case. Danny is apprehensive to take the case. This is the first foreshadowing of things to come. Danny is shown to be in therapy. The first session makes it seem like it had to do with the events of the season 7 finale, which would be traumatic in itself. Danny takes on the case for his sister. When investigating a suspect, he is triggered when the suspect asks him about May 28th. The audience is again led to believe that the 28th is the events of the previous finale.

            We see Danny in therapy again. He says he could do this if he had Linda. The therapist reminds him that Linda is dead. This is a big reveal to the audience and it comes up in conversation organically, which is good. Linda has killed in a freak helicopter crash transporting a patient at the hospital on May 28th. She was working a shift she was not supposed to. Danny blames himself. He regrets working so much time. The therapist reminds him that Linda switched shifts all the time that it is not his fault.

            I like Danny’s struggle here. The death is not his fault, it is not anyone’s fault. It is a freak accident. However, Danny has understandable grief from losing his wife. He also has understandable guilt from being a workaholic that wasn’t home with his wife and kids enough. Danny is now considering retiring from being a homicide detective. He feels detached and no longer passionate about his work. He says “The job doesn’t need me anymore”.

            Danny helps solve the case regarding the attack on Erin’s ex-husband and Jack survives mostly unscathed. But this storyline and wrap up feels inconsequential compared to the Linda death reveal and Danny’s emotional struggle. It does work as a nice contrast to Linda’s death. Jack and Erin did not have a good relationship, they were divorced, and he rarely saw his daughter. He survives his brush with death. Linda loved her husband and was a good both, but she died. Life is unfair.

            The rest of the Reagan family surprise Danny and his sons Jack and Sean by buying them an new home to live in. After a fire burned down their house and Linda was killed, there were too many memories where they used to live. They got a fresh start. I liked this part.

Blue Bloods has always been a show about faith, and Danny has been shown to have the shakiest faith of the Reagans. What he has been through could easily test his faith. However, in a sign of character growth, at family dinner in the end, Danny is the one who says Grace. “Bless us, O Lord, and these, Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.”

Frank’s story has to deal with the new mayor (Lorraine Bracco). After long time Mayor Poole resigned in the previous season finale, it was clear we would get a new Mayor. There was been some sort of police involved shooting of a civilian. We don’t get much detail about it. Frank has a news conference to address the situation. The new mayor crashes the conference, and when she speaks to the press, she essentially throws the officer under the bus. Back in his office, Frank clashes with her over the interruption, and Mayor Dutton fires Frank as police commissioner.
Frank has had plenty of crashes with Mayors and other politicians before. This is not knew. But he always had fight in him and never had been fired before. Garrett (Gregory Jbara) informs Frank that since Dutton is only acting Mayor, she cannot actually fire Frank until she is elected. Frank seems to already know this, but has no intention to fight. He says he does not want to stay if the Mayor doesn’t want him. This prompts a response from his assistant Baker (Abigail Hawk) who yells at him for not fighting back and has about as many lines as she has had in seven seasons in one scene.
Frank is tired. A “tired you can’t sleep off”. His feelings mirror Danny’s. So does his situation. Frank is a widower, his wife Mary having died shortly before the series began. His father Henry also is a widower. He tells his father “When Mary died, my kids became my purpose”.
Frank’s firing arc comes around. The officer involved in the incident comes and tells him that he is going to resign following the public pressure of the incident. Frank does not want him too. New evidence comes to light that shows the officer was not in the wrong and the Mayor rushed to judgment. It is not very well explained.
Frank meets with the Mayor and she apologizes for trying to fire him, but defends many of her actions. Frank attempts to explain why officers might seem so paranoid and quick to act around civilians. “Police officers have seen the worst humanity has to offer, and they too often assume the worst of humanity as well”. He agrees to not resign.

Jamie (Will Estes) and his partner Janko (Vanessa Ray) have a small subplot about some young adults collapsing at a night club. They do a sting operation that works. It adds nothing to the episode. It looks like the felt the need to give everyone something of a plot for the premiere.

I apologize this is so long. This is my first review. Sorry, also, for the delay.
I really enjoyed the season 8 premiere of Blue Bloods. The Danny storyline was handeled well and was compelling. If they had taken out the Erin and especially Jamie subplots and spent some time focusing on the officer involved shooting in Frank’s storyline, it would have been better. Blue Bloods is still putting out quality stuff 8 seasons in.

Grade: B+

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