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October 9, 2015

Pilot Watch: 'Blue Bloods'

by Joel Keller, posted Jul 7th 2010 11:02AM
Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, and Will Estes in 'Blue Bloods' on CBSFrom now through the end of July, we're going to be taking a quick look at the fall and mid-season pilots that the networks sent to critics after their upfront presentations.

Keep in mind that in each case, our opinions are based on a pilot that could be completely recast and reworked between now and the fall.

Show: 'Blue Bloods'
Network: CBS
Timeslot: Fridays, 10PM ET

The lowdown:
The Reagans are a family of New York City cops. Patriarch Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) is the city's chief of police, who tries to keep the department on the straight and narrow, but he's running into the same political landmines that sunk his father Henry (Len Cariou) when he was chief. Oldest son Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg) is a detective who is fighting some PTSD-related anger issues since coming home from Iraq, and youngest son Jamie Reagan (Will Estes) gave up a law career to become a just-graduated rookie after the Reagans' middle son was killed on the job. Frank's only daughter, Molly (Bridget Moynahan), is an ADA who tries to remind her family, especially Danny, that sometimes their methods may get results, but they don't always lead to convictions.

What we're saying:
I'll give "Blue Bloods" credit for two things: 1) Shooting their externals in New York City, and 2) bringing Tom Selleck back to series TV. But everything in the pilot felt off, from the performances to the use of the location to even how the mystery got solved.

Here's an example: For a guy who made a name out of showing the emotions just underneath his man's man exterior, Selleck seems unusually monotone and subdued as Frank Reagan. And the role seems like a weird hybrid between New York's actual civilian police commissioner and the from-the-ranks chief of the department. Anyone who's watched television over the last decade knows that the commissioner is the one who faces the press and deals with the politics, not the chief; there was no reason that Selleck couldn't be a former cop who was now on the civilian side as commissioner.

But other things seem off about the pilot: even though it's shot in New York, the vibe of the city isn't really present. The mystery of the first episode is solved too quickly and easily, to allow for Molly's "a suspect has rights!" pontificating to her brother (why is she even involved in his case, anyway?). The accents aren't quite right. And the pilot even failed to utilize the oh-so-New York Nick Turturro (of 'NYPD Blue') as Jamie's training officer. There are some intriguing storylines established in the pilot, but it needs to do a better job of staying authentic if it hopes to gain an audience, even in a tough Friday night timeslot.

Here's a preview:

Tell us what you think. Does Selleck have a hit on his hands?

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September 30 2010 at 7:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joyce Campbell

Tom Selleck and my home town in one show - can't be all bad. Definitely will get a watch in our house.

September 11 2010 at 2:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've been a Selleck fan since I had dinner with a talent agent that worked for the agency representing Tom; showed me, & then gave me, an outstanding photo of him representing a cigarette company. I was in awe of his looks & how he spoke with his eyes. I knew he was going to be big.
As for the adversities of NY speak, I HATE NY speak; so gutteral & rude. Let the show speak for itself & NOT how NYish it is. If don't like, move it to CA.

August 20 2010 at 12:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim LaForce

Lemme see; Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, Nick Turturro etc, yep, I'm watching it for at least 4 episodes before I pass judgement. BTW, don't mistake monotone for understated. Selleck's persona and character has grown into a thoughtful, thinking man's man.

August 20 2010 at 1:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Anything Tom SSelleck is in, is bound to succeed. When Magnum P I first came out, critics yawned, too.

August 19 2010 at 10:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't know how the name angie got on that e-mail. My name's Noreen and I wrote it.

August 18 2010 at 5:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Tom, welcome back to weekly TV. I'll be watching, again. Best of luck on the new show.

August 18 2010 at 5:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

From what I've seen so far it Iooks like a winner to me. It has an excellent cast and Tom Selleck in my number one guy. I love everything he does. I'm looking forward to this series.

August 16 2010 at 8:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've been a Tom Selleck fan since I first saw him in a Close Up toothpaste commerical. If the clip is a real look at what the series will be like, his acting talent (previously overshadowed by his looks) should be validated. It doesn't hurt that the supporting cast is so top notch. I will be there!

July 08 2010 at 7:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've read a few other reviews on the pilot. They said it was good so I'm looking forward to it. Plus it's got an awesome cast.

July 07 2010 at 4:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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