Divided loyalties tend to make for strong drama, especially among cops.
Blue Bloods Season 12 Episode 4 had two such stories, with both Jamie and Frank dealing with people who work under them, expecting them to put loyalty above the rules.
Jamie's investigation could have brought the wrath of the entire rank and file down upon his head, while Frank could handle his, but were there any winners here?
Jamie was right to do what he did about Dorsey and Adams' scandal.
He would have let it go if he didn't think Adams might have hurt someone. It's one thing to let a drunk cop dry out in a safe place, but covering up an alcohol-related accident was a bridge too far.
Arguably, it's unfair that cops get any special privileges like bars that double as safehouses at all.
But realistically, it's going to happen. There will always be cops that look out for their own, whether it's fair or not. The question is, how far should other cops let them go before they do something about it?
In this case, Dorsey was enabling Adams more than anything else.
It happened that Adams didn't hurt anyone while he was driving drunk, but he did have kids in the car, and it could have ended tragically.
Dorsey would have argued that beating Adams up in the boxing ring imposed consequences on him for his behavior, but that's debatable.
And in any case, it wouldn't have even gone that far if Jamie hadn't confronted Dorsey about Adams driving drunk with children in the vehicle.
I was surprised that Frank was behind the idea of an O'Rourke's type place. Frank is usually by-the-book and wedded to his integrity, and he generally doesn't like cops having special privileges, especially ones that could get people hurt.
His story about the bar's origins made sense, but it was a far cry from what was going on here. Foolish behavior and adultery might not make cops or firefighters look great, but it doesn't hurt anyone other than the people involved.
Adams' DUI could have ended in tragedy, not to mention that if a cop ended up killing someone in an alcohol-related crash, it would make people less likely to listen to anti-DUI campaigns coming from law enforcement. After all, if the cops drive drunk too, why should citizens refrain from it?
It would have been far better for Adams to be punished through legal channels just like anyone else who drives drunk, even if it did mean he lost his job or faced the prospect of having a felony on his record.
That doesn't mean there aren't times to look the other way on something silly, but if the department will unofficially endorse safehouses for cops, at least limit it to victimless indiscretions!
Erin: You worked with Dorsey. Was he a good cop? Anthony, I asked you a question.
Anthony: You "axed" me?
Erin: Stop stonewalling and answer me.
Anthony: Dorsey is true blue. Maybe too much. He's one of those cops who thinks the job is to look out for other cops instead of, you know, citizens.
I'd have liked more interactions between Jamie, Erin, and Anthony, too, since they were supposedly investigating this together.
Anthony and Erin were both reluctant at first to get involved. But there wasn't much else here, and that was a shame. A more explicit conflict over this case might have made it more powerful.
Elsewhere, was anyone surprised that Witten quit? I certainly wasn't!
It's been going that way since Blue Bloods Season 12 Episode 2. Something was going to happen sooner or later to convince Witten to hang up her cop hat altogether, and a victim spitting at her happened to be it.
This story wasn't about Witten quitting as much as it was about Eddie wanting to fix it and not being able to.
Witten was already fired and reinstated, and now she's gone. She may reach out to Frank in a year as promised, or she may not. This seems like the end of the line for her right now, but you never know.
Frank's dilemma was one of the most compelling stories of the hour, though it seemed a bit rushed.
I'd have liked for his press conference about Brian's misbehavior to be on-screen.
That might have made Abigail's anger at the statement Frank made more understandable. It would have created extra drama if Frank also had to field the press' questions about whether he treated Brian the same way he would any other officer.
I also wondered if Brian might have had some brain damage from the shooting that contributed to his behavior -- something that was never addressed.
Frank emphasized that Brian might need mental health treatment that he never got, and this was important. Cops have a high suicide rate partially because they are conditioned not to take mental health seriously, and Blue Bloods addresses this issue often.
But some types of brain damage can cause personality changes.
Brian: You want a drink?
Frank: It's a little early for me. Just a Guiness. Tell me, did that perp's description matching the guy who shot you set you off?
Brian: It's not an excuse if it did.
Frank: No, it isn't, but it would offer some insight.
Brian: I guess I have some resentment from being shot.
Frank: The perp looked like your shooter. But he wasn't. Your shooter is in jail for life.
Brian: I know that.
Frank: Then act like it, if there is a next time. You know, cops roughing up collars wasn't okay when it was okay.
Brian: I know that.
Frank: Then act like it, if there is a next time. You sitting here day drinking, toasting to your newfound freedom from your wife and kids?
Frank: That's good. At least that part of your brain still works.
There's a reason for the trope of the person who acts violently or recklessly because they have a brain tumor: it's medically possible, though it is often used as a way for writers to cheat their way out of a corner when a character's behavior starts repelling viewers.
In any case, Frank gave Brian one of his signature tough love talks, and Brian began getting his act together, so it didn't matter whether his condition was purely mental or also involved brain damage.
But it would have added another layer to this already compelling story if Blue Bloods had acknowledged this possibility.
Finally, Danny's case was mildly interesting because of its similarities to the story from Benson's past on Law & Order: SVU Season 23 Episode 6
I always enjoy comparing how different shows handle similar storylines. While SVU was, as typical for that show, focused on how the perp's behavior influenced his victims, Blue Bloods took a different tact.
Things were wrapped up a lot more neatly, with both Nadia and Anderson getting arrested. I wondered how Nadia's diplomatic immunity played into this, but the episode didn't address that, so I guess it wasn't important.
Your turn, Blue Bloods fanatics. Hit that big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know what you thought about the various situations!
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Blue Bloods airs on CBS on Fridays at 10 PM EST/PST.