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Blue Bloods: Little Fish, Big Apple

In Recaps on January 20, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) in “Little Fish,” last night’s “Blue Bloods” episode. (Screen cap)

Last night, Blue Bloods began a four-week trial run on Wednesdays, where CBS hopes the freshman police/family drama will pick up more fans before it returns to its tough Friday slot next month.

My gripe with Blue Bloods is that it tries to be all things to all viewers, and Little Fish, last night’s installment, is exhibit A.

It squeezed stories about a dead hooker, a cold case involving a missing kid, FBI/New York police politics and judicial misconduct into a 42-minute-without-commercials episode.

Little Fish opened with New York City police detective Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg) being awakened in the middle of the night by a phone call from Anna (Gwynneth Bensen), a visibly frightened young woman who told him she needed help.

When Danny asked for more details, Anna balked.

“Nobody can help me,” she wailed. “I don’t know why I called.”

Click.

The next day, Danny’s younger brother, rookie cop Jamie Reagan (Will Estes), was on the scene when a woman’s body was fished out of the East River.

Scuzzy detective Sonny Malevsky (Michael T. Weiss) arrived and needled newbie Jamie, then examined the body and discovered bruises on the woman’s neck – and Danny’s card in her pocket.

“Now there is one for the small-world department,” Malevsky told Jamie.

Get used to it, detective – that happens a lot on this show.

The body, of course, was Anna’s and we soon discovered how Danny knew her: She was a high-class call girl he befriended after busting her a year earlier.

Danny and partner Jackie Curatola (Jennifer Esposito) began investigating Anna’s death and soon found themselves questioning her sleazy boss, Johnny Vega (Donnie Keshawarz), who claimed he was with another of his “ladies” – Jolene (Christina Evangelista) – on the night Anna was murdered.

Initially, Jolene confirmed Johnny’s story.

But when the detectives leaned on her a little harder, she confessed that – unbeknownst to Johnny – she saw him strangle Anna when Anna threatened to have him arrested for stalking her.

“He said that’s what happens when people talk to the cops,” a tearful Jolene told the detectives and Danny’s prosecutor sister Erin Reagan-Boyle (Bridget Moynahan).

(See what I mean about this show suffering from small-world syndrome?)

Meanwhile, patriarch Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck), the city’s police commissioner, learned that newly discovered human remains were likely connected to a case he worked on 25 years ago: the abduction of a nine-year-old boy named Leo Gates.

Frank dropped everything and headed to the abandoned building where the skeleton was found.

“It’s him,” he declared solemnly when he spotted the skeleton.

Sure enough, the medical examiner confirmed that the bones were Leo’s and that the boy had died from a blow to the head.

Frank broke the news to the boy’s mother Laura (Kristin Griffith), who told him the building where Leo was discovered was on his school route.

“He was so close, all those years,” she said.

Frank became obsessed with his old case, cancelling appointments and even skipping a police foundation dinner honoring Mayor Russo (Bruce Altman), who was none-too-pleased that his top cop was a no-show.

Frank was also hard on old partner Bill Carter (James McCaffrey) for taking too long to track down the superintendent of the building where Leo’s bones were found.

“Find him,” Frank told Carter. “Do it quick and do it right – or you’ll be walking a beat so far out in Queens you’ll need a passport to get back to Manhattan.”

Elsewhere, Danny and Jackie arrested a nonplussed Johnny, but as the detectives discovered, the creep is a snitch in a federal case against a major mob boss.

“Our case hinges on Vega’s cooperation, alright?” FBI agent Stuart Lemarque (Chip Brookes) told Danny and Jackie. “We’re going after the bigger fish here.”

Erin delivered more bad news: Johnny’s lawyer had asked Judge Fenton (Jon Lindstrom) to review her eyewitness’ statement.

“Then Johnny’s going to know it was Jolene!” Danny helpfully noted.

This latest wrinkle led to a big argument between Danny and Erin over a defendant’s right to confront his accusers – a debate conducted during one of those rowdy family dinner scenes at Frank’s house.

Fenton agreed to allow Johnny’s legal team to review the eyewitness statement – exposing Jolene, who recanted her accusation.

Of course, Danny kept digging and discovered that Fenton was a client of Johnny’s escort service.

Convenient!

Just as Fenton was about to dismiss the case against Johnny, Danny marched into his courtroom, accompanied by a court administrative officer.

“You are out of order,” Fenton told Danny.

“I’m not the only one who’s out of order!” Danny bellowed.

The administrative officer adjourned the hearing and escorted Fenton off the bench, paving the way for Erin to proceed with her case against Johnny.

“Not bad for a little fish,” Danny told FBI agent Lemarque triumphantly.

Back in Frank’s story, the commissioner personally questioned Ted Wessel (Sean Weil), the superintendent of the building where Leo was killed.

Frank showed Ted a school assignment that the police retrieved from the boy’s backpack; it was a fill-in-the-blank autobiography in which Leo listed his greatest fear as not being able to hit a baseball.

“Imagine that, Ted,” Frank said. “Before [his murder], all Leo was afraid of was not being able to hit a baseball.”

Frank also recalled that when he interviewed Ted the day after Leo went missing, Ted’s tool belt was missing its hammer.

(Um, that’s a pretty amazing memory, Commissioner Reagan.)

Before long, Ted was weeping and confessing to Leo’s death, which he said was an accident.

It wasn’t clear to me how the boy died, but Frank seemed to believe Leo, deeming him “a good man” who made a terrible mistake, 25 years ago.

Although this scene was a mystery to me, Selleck was masterful in it.

The actor is just as magnetic as he was during his Magnum, P.I. heyday, but instead of rakish charm, he now exudes stoic authority.

Why he is relegated to Blue Bloods’ “B” story each week, I’ll never know.

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  1. […] to the home of New York City police detective Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg), where – for the second episode in a row – he was awakened by a middle-of-the-night phone […]

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