“Blue Bloods” weaves together a moving tale of the rites of passage between fathers and sons, and rectifying some moments when honor was due, but neglected, in January 30’s “Love Stories” (Season 5 Episode 13). When Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) is nominated for a Medal of Valor, Frank (Tom Selleck) feels caught again between perceptions of favoritism and proper respects. At home, Danny and Linda who (Amy Carlson) relish seeing their son, Jack (Tony Terraciano), take his first steps, or slides, into young love. He and Baez (Marisa Ramirez) catch a case of a cocktail between marriage and Mafia, and Erin (Bridget Moynahan) questions whether she put an innocent mother in prison.
When a home intruder is fatally shot, Danny and Maria are called to investigate, but when the victim turns out to be a Mafia hit man, things become more complicated. Off-camera, Wahlberg and wife, Jenny McCarthy, have taken some hits this week for their vaccination views, but this victim truly was an unlikable sort, scaring and extorting everyone in sight, but does that excuse the shooter? Danny gives Jack, his son, some tips for his first date with girlfriend, Charlotte (Cossette Rinab) and ice-skating becomes the ticket. Sgt. Gormley (Robert Clohessy) submits Danny for the Medal of Valor, without telling his boss, and Frank feels the pressure of what would usually be a satisfying honor, and Gormley stresses that Danny “shouldn’t be punished” because of who his father is. Meanwhile, the Mayor’s other issues of wanting a hiring freeze but added police protection put a burr underneath the Commissioner. Erin runs into young lawyer, Justin Taylor (Eric Todd), who is pushing for a 440 hearing to fight for his mother’s release and vindication after serving 12 years per Ms. Reagan. Digging into the case only shows that the investigation was indeed a little shoddy, so. Erin has a lot to think about. The shooting in the Bianco home first leads to a competitor in the concrete business, Petrov (Ethan Herschenfeld), but he makes it clear that Mr. Bianco (Joseph Siravo) would be “part of a landfill” if he was intent on rubbing out his competition. Danny marvels that this is a case of “too many suspects” who want the victim or Bianco gone. Business owners share stories of hit man, Epstein’s, many moves at shakedowns for payoffs.
Frank is torn by conflicting considerations during a night of refrigerator reflections, and Pop assures him that “Danny will understand,” whatever his decision. They recall that Frank himself never received commendation during his father’s tenure and Frank asks if there are any regrets. Henry responds that there was only one, the case when Frank single-handedly took care of a case of a deadly robber without backup. Baez discovers that when his wife was away, Mr. Bianco brings in a “hot tamale” with no reference to food. Of the 440 hearing, young attorney, Taylor, discredits both the detective and the primary witness, proving they were cohorts, serving each other with testimony and street drugs. Mr. Bianco dances around with Danny under questioning, describing how his marriage had changed through the years, with both partners two-timing. Danny advises that he start cooperating.
Frank pays Garrett (Gregory Jbara) an office call, and his story about his father working for Oldsmobile, and that indelible legacy, doesn’t register at first for Frank, but gives him pause to ponder later. Erin discovers a cigarette butt that puts Suzanne Taylor, the incarcerated mother, at the crime scene. James Lesure provides one of his finest performances yet, relating how his character, Alex McBride, suffered his mother’s murder at 16, and looked to the law to find her killer, while Erin looked to law because she loved the truth, a scene worth repeated viewing on the DVR. The waitress and the landscaper were just side attractions for Mr. and Mrs. Bianco, not really anything credible to make the case. Danny and his dad have a talk about transparency, and Frank reminds his son, “I’m proud of you.” Epstein’s girlfriend won’t give anything, either, at first, but then reveals that her boyfriend was there by order of Mr. Bianco to kill his wife. Erin pays a prison visit to Suzanne Taylor, urging her to tell the truth to her son, who is fighting valiantly for her innocence, in spite of her guilt, allowing her love for her boyfriend and for drugs to become part of another’s death. Mom Taylor contends “you don’t understand” to unsympathetic ears. It all comes out in the courtroom. Danny doesn’t let up on Mr. Bianco ordering the hit on his wife, and the besieged husband insists that he “couldn’t cancel the hit, like a burger order,” so he waited up to handle it all his way.
Danny and Linda delight in chaperoning Jack and Charlotte at the rink, and remember their own first dates, with Linda’s favorite sweet treats, orange crèmes, special ordered by Danny, and the smiles sealed with a kiss. The deflated young lawyer tells Erin that he has rescinded the 440 motion. Erin praises him for “making me question” and prompting her to do deeper investigation. She also offers her card, and a job “on the other side” if he ever chooses to make that move as a gifted attorney. Danny and Baez are presented with their medals with little protocol fanfare, as proud family look on. There is a pizza celebration at home. Danny does his own medal presentation to his father, with Pop reading the commendation. Frank is speechless, but offers a prayer of grace to bless the occasion, marking the moment in “Blue Bloods” style.