Many shows on the CBS schedule are shimmering with Christmas cheer, but December 12’s “Blue Bloods” ninth episode of Season 5, “Under the Gun,” tackles the serious subject of personal protection through carrying weapons with a very serious tone. Frank (Tom Selleck) confronts vocal community leaders convinced that three high-profile murders are hate crimes, while he is convinced that another motive is involved. Erin (Bridget Moynahan) discovers that even her most trusted aide can fall prey to poor decisions under the worst pressure. The Reagan’s aren’t ready to deck the halls yet, but they are still doing some really good drama.
Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) and Maria (Marisa Ramirez) are called to the scene of a horrific homicide, leaving a well-known judge, Herman Kleiner, dead across the steps to his chambers, and his best friend, Rabbi Moscowitz (Andrew Polk) stunned in mourning. The victim was known as a “hanging judge,” tough on the “frequent flyers” through his court, but not so tough with first-timers. The killer has a pattern of calling out the names to announce those he murders, and it isn’t long before more names are added to his list. Erin is in a sticky battle in court, when her officer on the stand can’t verify that gun found in a sugar canister is the one he signed off on a voucher. Soon there are two victims, both known, both Jewish, and a third, a doctor, also of Hebraic faith. Before he can catch his breath, Frank has Donald Stein, masterfully made more human by the buoyant stage talents of Victor Garber. The scenes between him and Selleck are tasty gifts, and the scenes featuring the Commissioner defending his position against the mounting community coalition leave any viewer with more appreciation for the forces in blue.
Danny’s wife, Linda (Amy Carlson) is mugged in a frightful attack after finishing her shift at a mobile medical clinic in a dangerous neighborhood. She fights back, in a sense, losing her mother’s silver chain, but refusing to surrender her wedding ring. She can’t shake the fear, or sense of helplessness, and she decides that a gun might offer some security. Carlson consistently remains as one of the standouts in this cast, and the honest, fragile line she walks between the strength of a mother and police detective’s wife and the ordinary woman, facing the same fears as every other woman, is remarkable. When Kleiner’s clerk, Bendix (Craig MuMs Grant) assures Danny and Maria that the judge had no enemies who felt enough hatred against him to kill him, they decide to move in another direction, and find cases that might have involved all three victims. They find one, involving a botched kidney transplant. When the husband from the courts at any level, he takes vengeance on his own. Erin knows that finding the “gun means the case,” and she arranges a kind of sting, spreading word that there will be swab samples taken from everyone to try and match DNA evidence and find who took her evidence room card. Soon, her law school clerk assistant, Olivia Gordon (Jasmine Carmichael) doesn’t turn up, and she knows where Erin keeps the card. When the knock on her door comes, she admits her guilt, but presents her case that she did it to keep her brother alive in a twisted sort of ransom. No matter how Erin pleads, Jasmine contends, “I know my rights, arrest me.” She refuses to give unofficial information.
Frank denies Stein’s request for details to guard synagogues, declaring it a waste of resources to guard property. He stands firm that motivation beyond hate crimes is at fault, no matter the favor to be traded with community leaders. Linda tells Danny tearfully about her ordeal, and he reacts by telling her not to do her job in those areas. She feels dismissed and disregarded, and that night, goes to bed angry, against her Reagan house rules. She uses her police courtesy card to get early processing of her paperwork, allowing her to carry the gun, and she has awkward run-in with Jamie at the shop, asking him not to tell Danny since it’s a “surprise,” certainly true. Dinner discussion is overtaken with views on personal protection, and even Erin tells her dad that he is turning into “a politician,” caring more about how he looks than the core issue. Erin plays hardball with Olivia to convince her to testify, saying “I’ll see you in the morning, or I’ll see you at your own trial.”
Danny and Maria go on a late-night chase for the motorbike killer. After several false alarms, they hear a shot, and see the shooter spin out off his bike. He identifies himself, and Danny goes off in search of where the shot came from, finding it came from a nurse, like Linda, Leslie Caitlin O’Rourke. She shot when she heard her name called out. Linda sees her mugger, and reaches for her gun, but instead, calls police with his whereabouts. When she comes home, she lays the gun on the table, saying “I don’t want it. It’s not for me.” Danny tells her that he thought of her when he talked to the nurse with a gun. Linda will gladly trade her weapon for respect, and her husband being proud of her.
The episode closes with Frank asking Garrett (Gregory Jbara) to conjure up some words to offer to Stein to express that his ego clouded his judgment. Garrett wisely suggests that those words be spoken in private at a later date– fade to black. Another “Blue Bloods” is put to bed, leaving viewers with great performances, and serious matters to mull over.