Skip to main content

You can’t please everyone, and television show writers know the truth of that old adage better than most. In particular, long-running shows are likely to frustrate fans as time goes on. Whether it’s the effort to make things fresh and new that upsets fans’ sense of the characters or the inability to keep their interest as the seasons go on, a show that has run for more than five or six seasons faces a challenge. 

That’s definitely the case with Blue Bloods. The long-running drama is now in its tenth season. While fans have had some complaints about characters and their portrayal in the past, their take on the latest season focuses on a former fan favorite, and it might spell disaster for the show’s future. 

The cast of 'Blue Bloods'
The cast of ‘Blue Bloods’ | Giovanni Rufino/CBS via Getty Images

‘Blue Bloods’ has struggled with ratings

Blue Bloods is a CBS drama that follows the lives of a family of New York City police officers. The show has followed plenty of ups and downs for the Reagan clan of both the professional and the personal variety. There have been the necessary love stories (including some that led to wedding bells) and inner struggles with purpose and meaning.

Through it all, the show has explored what it means to be a family and how duty and passion intersect with the gray areas of morality and the gritty reality of the streets of New York. 

When it premiered in 2010, it was a big hit, and it remained popular year after year. It struggled in its ninth season, however, with ratings taking a beating. While the show still continued to pull in an impressive 8.5 million viewers, the rankings with its key demographic dropped a whopping 13 percent, leaving its renewal for Season 10 up in the air.

CBS renewed the show for a tenth season

Despite the lackluster response from the key demographic of 18-49-year-olds, CBS ultimately decided to give the Reagans at least one more season of unfolding family drama. Obviously, the show’s writers feel the pressure to improve ratings and bring viewers something exciting, but this is exactly where a long-running show faces tough choices. 

Character changes are often necessary to prevent a show from feeling repetitive and stale, but those same transformations can leave fans feeling frustrated and confused. When people have spent a full decade watching a character develop, abrupt changes will feel forced and out of place. Some fans are convinced that’s exactly what’s happening with the show’s patriarch, Frank. 

Fans are confused about Frank’s personality change

Frank, played by Tom Selleck, is the heart and soul of the Reagan family. His characterization is crucial to fans’ reception of the show as a whole. For most of the series, he has been portrayed as level-headed, reasonable, and principled.

While Frank did not always agree with every move his family members made (it would be a pretty boring show if he did), he was still shown to be someone who could compromise and consider other viewpoints. 

These days, however, fans feel like Frank’s character has undergone a rigid personality switch. Where he was once seen as able to take in everyone’s perspective, he’s now being portrayed as hard-headed and overly macho.

Frank’s relationship to the police force is particularly in question. While his work has necessarily made him a little biased toward those in the profession, past seasons illustrated a man capable of setting his own biases aside when necessary. The newer version of Frank, however, doesn’t show that kind of clarity and capability. 

Some fans have even gone so far as to call this new Frank a hypocrite. When he orders raids on a housing complex instead of arresting the individual problem makers or when he intimidates a convicted murderer into withdrawing his name from consideration for parole, he demonstrates disregard for the impartial justice system.

This is out of character with his former portrayal, and it has fans scratching their heads — and possibly tuning out.