The job has hit very close to home all season long for Commissioner Frank Reagan and his family on “Blue Bloods,” but senseless death and crime never hit harder than they do in the April 24 part one episode of a two-part Season 5 finale, “New Rules.” Not since the loss of his own son has any death is harder than that of a beloved deputy chief, just awarded his second star, and his wife, gun downed by gang lords in broad daylight. Frank demands complete procedure “by the book” to honor his deputy, but can anything ease his own sense of helplessness? Some of the most memorable dramatic moments, most memorable dialogue written come in this gripping offering.
It’s a true treat for any TV fan when the familiar deep voice and commanding screen presence of Dennis Haysbert graces the screen, and ever since the March announcement of his appearance, the excitement has been building. Haysbert portrays deputy chief, Donald Grant, whose specialty is cracking down on gang related crimes, for which he’s been marvelously successful. In a gripping scene of command with command, understated emotion and humility are perfectly conveyed as Frank (Tom Selleck) bestows the star, sharing heartfelt memories and ultimate respect before a salute. The deputy is celebrating his 30th wedding anniversary simultaneously, and leaves the office, with the two friends intent on sharing a dinner together soon. Danny and Maria (Donnie Wahlberg and Marisa Ramirez) track down a car that they’ve been targeting, finding a stash of weapons in the trunk. Eddie and Jamie (Vanessa Ray and Will Estes) have their own gang shakedown beneath an underpass, where they find Curtis Turner (Denzel Whitaker), a familiar kid not known for gang association, in a very unsavory situation. He tells him he is only there because “they run the neighborhood,” and asks to leave for work. Jamie sticks with “he’s a good kid,” while Eddie is wary. Garrett and Sgt. Gormley (Gregory Jbara and Robert Clohessy) cannot conceal their devastation when they deliver the grim news that Deputy Grant and his wife have been gunned down in broad daylight, a definitive gang hit in retribution. Frank arrives on scene to confirm, and simply speaks three words, “Everything we got,” needing no further explanation.
When Danny arrives, he declares that he “wants this catch,” and his dad agrees, but orders that every dot and cross must be “by the book” to honor Kent, whose expertise had been hugely useful in the recent revisions of standards for detectives. Erin (Bridget Moynahan) will oversee all aspects of the case. During the very disturbing briefing, Frank tells one reporter who tries to make the news part of political fodder for the media that he is “not your guy” today, in disbelief of her agenda. Curtis tries to tell his mom (Quincy Tyler Berenstine) that the gang does make him feel protected, no matter her warnings. One of Danny’s wife, Linda’s (Amy Carlson) patients is Hector Florez (Felix Solis), who was present at the shooting. Deathly afraid for his life and his family’s he sticks to his contrived story that he shot himself cleaning his gun, but gives very lovely impressions of Mr. and Mrs. Kent. Photos and facial recognition identify Mario Hunt, played by Clint “Method Man” Smith, as their man. Featured guest stars add an authentic “street’ feel. Fear is dictating all failure to disclose. The photos are not enough to suffice need for a warrant, and Danny is blowing his top, not believing that Hunt is free to run. Danny tracks Mario down on the street, and gets it on record that he will speak “unofficially.”
Frank is really feeling the waves of helplessness and grief, telling Pop, Henry (Len Cariou) “you’re lying” for not admitting that he ever said “enough” against the daily battle. Mario is not budging under questioning, enjoying the cat and mouse play, and Erin denies Danny any kind of technical hold to keep him in custody, no matter how her brother pleads. Danny comes to emotional blows with Deputy Kent’s son, too. Sgt. Thomas Kent (Jamie Lincoln Smith) demands justice be served, reminding Danny that he would “burn this city down” if it were Commissioner Reagan who was killed. The power of his words burned through transmission wires through the telecast. Danny tries going to is dad again, knowing for certain what Hunt will try. He even puts him to be taken off the case if he can’t be effective in serving justice, requesting just enough wiggle room. Frank says all procedures must be taken, and if he needs to surrender his shield, he will, because “I’m still your Commissioner.” Curtis’ mom makes plans to take him to Tampa, to get him away from the gang influence. She and Linda share a mother’s knowing hug. Danny and Maria double-team with Florez to help them see that the “real monsters” are swarming around him and his family, and the only salvation is to stand up to the gangs. Hunt slips away, even under police surveillance, no surprise. The Kent’s are honored with memories at the Reagan dinner table. Frank deters Danny from returning to work, saying “not on a day like today.”
Sgt. Gormley confesses that he did not fully disseminate the Commissioner’s full order through the ranks, and then tells him that “to a man” every person in uniform would stay on the job “if you asked us to.” Danny and Maria journey “off to see the Wizard” at Rikers, Clinton Wallace (Kirk “Sticky Fingaz” Jones), who offers smirk, but no satisfactory assistance, declaring how he hates cops. Linda comes into Hector Florez’ room with a new IV refill, commending his courage in standing with truth. In the same moment, she turns to see Curtis aiming a gun. The screen goes black to end this taut “Blue Bloods,”as shots are heard firing.