“Blue Bloods” topped off CBS’s highly-rated crime-fighters Friday block last night with its Season 5 premiere episode, “Partners.” Whether in the squadron, around the table, on the streets, or between the sheets, the story pivoted on what makes relationships work, and what makes them worth the effort.
Faithful fans had plenty to feast on, with the return of old faces, and a few that will likely be seen again. The story opened with a crazed man cavorting half naked on the streets, Owen Stapleton, played by Michael Buscemi, brother of “Boardwalk Empire” star, Steve Buscemi. With only seconds to decide if true danger to the public is about to ensue, officer James McCarthy (Charles Borland) attempts to close in to corral and contain the protester, whose erratic behavior could escalate at any second. When he moves in, Stapleton makes a run, and is fatally struck by a truck in the street. Meanwhile, Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) and his partner, Maria (Marisa Ramirez) are called on to escort a confiscated drug shipment for safekeeping. Eddie (Vanessa Ray) is celebrating the entire day with excitement over her one year anniversary on the force.
Some welcome scenes spark up once more between Mayor Poole (David Ramsey) and police Commissioner Reagan (Tom Selleck) when the mayor orders the Commissioner to keep his mouth closed, other than obligatory nods and yeses and no’s during a press conference. The two actors are so good at their craft, and so intellectually credible, that their scenes supersede anything written in the script. The Commissioner plays it as ordered, letting the press feast on the Mayor’s rather transparent feelings of the force’s overreach into neglect, and he hates himself for it. Naturally, he is advised on all sides not to talk to McCarthy. Danny and Maria are stuck broadside in a heist to nab their cargo, and Maria is badly hurt, but still able to lift her weapon, while Danny takes off after the gang, who has captured a ride along, Agent Martínez, to do with as they please. He hold on for dear life to the back of a moving truck, until he falls off into a frustrated roll. Maria and Danny squabble over him making too many decisions in the hospital, while Jamie Reagan (Will Estes) is struggling to make one very important decision.
Jamie and Eddie were called to a domestic disturbance scene, and the hot-headed male got riled up against Eddie, throwing her to the ground. With Sgt. Renzulli (Nicholas Turturro) looking on, Jamie steps and with full force, far beyond what his boss thinks justified in the situation. Eddie is defensive, because it makes her seem unable to handle the situation, and Jamie is told that if he allows romantic feeling to enter the equation, he will lose his partner, and both will be transferred. A terrible call comes that Agent Martínez is shot, and Maria and Danny go to the scene, only to learn that her brother, and informant, Javi (Kirk Acevedo) is the one who ordered it done. Sgt. Gormley disregards his own fate by paying a visit to Frank, going to bat for his officer and friend, McCarthy, and pleading for the boss to give “perspective” for the man on the street the situation. Jamie goes to see his sister, Erin, protesting that he has only pure, platonic, “partner” relations with Eddie, while she begs to differ, citing the example that he seeks out Eddie even after their long shifts are done, and that the choice of a relationship that deep, is so easy that she “wouldn’t be sitting here asking” if that were her situation.
Frank calls the besieged McCarthy to a house call, and asks him, “Would you do anything different?” The answer comes, “yes.” During the fixture of the Reagan family dinner, television coverage takes over, and the bickering between everyone seated goes “back to fifth grade,” as Frank says he wishes things were that simple, announcing that McCarthy is in dire straits in the hospital following a night of drinking and missing a curve. In a poignant scene, Sgt. Gormley offers last rites and a final blessing to his friend. In a shootout at an auto glass shop with the drug smugglers, Javi tries to shield his sister, and is fatally shot. Despite all the shame brought by his lifestyle, Maria is devastated and her piercing cries come from the soul as she stays at her brother’s side. Danny cradles her in comfort. When she tells Danny she wants him to do with her to give her mother the news, she looks to him and says, “you’re the only person who’s never disappointed me.” He responds “I never will,” but of course, as long as humanity remains, that cannot be promised, which only adds to the powerful moment.
Frank calls in Sgt. Gormley, not for any demotion or feared transfer, but simply to thank him for speaking his heart, and say “I’m sorry about your friend.” Eddie is confused and hurt Jamie begs off her one year anniversary celebration, and everyone watching at home realizes his battle to keep things at partner level is a pitiful, failed attempt already. Frank confides his remorse for not defending his force to Erin. In the kind of scene that exemplifies the why the police drama is “appointment TV,” Frank gives his own address to the press, asking no slack for his officers in blue, but adding “a little recognition would go a long way,” before quietly departing for the stairs, and letting the NYPD shield on the wall do the talking as the cameras fade to black.
Additional source: “Blue Bloods” broadcast, September 26, 2014 CBS Networks.