‘Blue Bloods’: An Episode From Season Two is Facing New Scrutiny

Police brutality has been an unfortunate reality throughout the United States for decades. Historically, police violence and abuse of power have disproportionately affected Americans of color. On May 25, 2020, an unarmed black man by the name of George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer. Ultimately, the killing of George Floyd has been the straw that broke the camel’s back. This senseless killing has made many reevaluate, not only the institutions America has in place but, also society as a whole.

This reevaluation includes the ways media and television portray the narrative of law enforcement in America. Many police dramas have taken some heat on their past storylines following the recent death of George Floyd. Blue Bloods is one popular TV drama that has received some backlash for its previous storylines depicting racial tensions with the police. Read on to see what both fans and critics have been saying about the show in recent weeks.  

Danny (Donnie Wahlberg), Jackie (Jennifer Esposito) and Erin (Bridget Moynahan) survey a crime scene
Danny (Donnie Wahlberg), Jackie (Jennifer Esposito) and Erin (Bridget Moynahan) | John Paul Filo/CBS via Getty Images

What is ‘Blue Bloods’ about?

The television police drama known as Blue Bloods first premiered on CBS in 2010. The show revolves around the fictional Reagan family. The patriarch of the Reagan clan, Frank, is the New York City Police Commissioner. However, Frank’s not the only member of the Reagan family involved in the city’s justice system. 

The storyline of the Reagan family is based on patriotism, passion, and family. The three Reagan children have followed in their father’s footsteps when it comes to upholding the law. Both Reagan sons, Danny and Jamie, are part of the New York City police force. The only Reagan daughter, Erin, is an Assistant District Attorney. 

While the show has attracted many fans over the last decade, it has also attracted quite a few critics as well. Critics of Blue Bloods see the show as just another police drama pushing “copaganda,” or propagandistic pro-police messages. This is not merely false accusations put out by critics either. When examining past episodes of Blue Bloods, there are recurring storylines that depict people who speak out against the police, especially minorities, as malicious or deceptive individuals.     

The season two episode, ‘Black and Blue’

RELATED: ‘Chicago P.D.’ and ‘Blue Bloods’ Fans Might See Very Different Stories in the Future

Blue Bloods as a whole has faced some serious backlash over the last few weeks. However, one episode from season two has experienced some of the heaviest criticism. The season two episode, Black and Blue, first aired on November 4, 2011. This episode aired nearly a decade ago. However, it illustrates that we, as a society, are still plagued by the same problems. 

In this episode, racial tensions are running high in the city of New York. Two police officers force their way into a church after receiving reports that there is a man with a gun inside. However, in reality, there was never a man with a gun inside. 

The Blue Bloods writing team created a storyline that showed a black minister orchestrating false reports to provoke an incident with police. In essence, the storyline was trying to push the perspective that the black community only has problems with the police because they are literally asking for it, as Slate observed.

Fans and critics speak out against “copaganda” 

Fans and critics alike have taken to social media platforms to state their opinions of police dramas and the messages they push in recent weeks. One critic spoke out about Blue Bloods on Twitter writing, “I never watched the show because I could tell it was copaganda.” Another critic echoed this sentiment writing, “That show has the most offensive and stupidest sh*t I’ve seen in a while.” 

Even after receiving so much criticism as of late, it doesn’t look like Blue Bloods or police dramas are going anywhere anytime soon. However, critics of these shows may be pleased to hear that the writing teams on these popular police dramas will be looking to go beyond “the hero cop” storylines in upcoming seasons. The goal is to have writers be more inclusive and conscious of how they portray the justice system, class, race, and the image of black men in America.