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'Blue Bloods' recap: Father does not know best

Season 4 | Episode 20 | “Custody Battle” | Aired Apr 25, 2014

In the last episode of Blue Bloods, Danny Reagan and his father, Frank, nearly came to blows over an investigation into Danny’s harsh interrogation methods. Tonight’s new episode of the Tom Selleck drama focused on harsh police tactics as well, but Danny was featured far less than usual in this Erin-centric episode.

New York City police officer Randy Cutter (Charlie Semine) is the one under the microscope here. After he and his partner, Officer Kara Walsh (Tonya Glanz), arrest an abrasive father named Christopher Collins (Brent Werzner), Collins dies mysteriously in the police station bathroom. Collins had a criminal record, but questions about his sudden death quickly arise, leading to Erin being asked to investigate the case for the Manhattan District Attorney.

Frank is unhappy with his daughter’s assignment, noting the conflict it will inevitably create in the Reagan household. The Reagan family is packed with former police officers, and at the family’s weekly dinner, they are immediately put on the defensive in the case. To the family, Erin’s willingness to seek prosecution against Cutter (who may have violated police protocol) looks like an attack on the entire police department. Frank, usually the wise father figure on the show, shows his flawed side here as he brutally questions Erin’s motives for taking the case. (It’s a bit ironic for him to be so patronizing here considering that in the last episode, he was the one who was publicly lauding the values of public service over familial connections in his argument with Danny.)

Christopher, it’s discovered, was also a flawed father. His violence against the police partially arose from the anger he felt after learning that his ex-girlfriend was moving his daughter hundreds of miles away. Sure, he should’ve been arrested and he shouldn’t have lost control, but as Erin continually notes, he shouldn’t have died for these mistakes. “Officer Cutter went too far and he needs to pay for it,” she states after the investigation begins and she meets Christopher’s young child, who will never be able to see her father again.

Blue Bloods: s4, ep 20 - Eddie, Frank (CBS)In the third paternal storyline of this episode, Officer Edit Jenko — Jamie’s partner — faces a decision about visiting her father in prison. Edit, unlike Frank’s children or Christopher’s child, has seen the worst in her father and knows that he is a bad man. She wants nothing to do with him. Jamie tries to convince her that she should still visit her dad, but like Danny’s former partner, Jackie Curatola (Jennifer Esposito), Eddie has a hard time taking advice from a member of the “perfect” Reagan family. Edit eventually concedes and walks into the prison to visit her flawed father.

As the episode shows, though, all fathers are flawed in their own unique and distinct ways. As it ends, Frank realizes his own mistake and apologizes to his daughter. Cutter used excessive force (as his partner concedes, and which Cutter had a pattern of doing), and Collins should not have been killed. Even though the grand jury (whose findings are revealed right before the show’s conclusion) seemingly vindicate the aggressive officer, Frank will have nothing to do with him. He fires Cutter on the spot.

As a typical father, Frank Reagan has made many mistakes, but as a good father, he’s willing to own up to them and do the right thing — even when it means going against an officer in his own department.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Was Frank being hypocritical by criticizing his daughter for keeping her role in the investigation secret until the press got involved? Are you disappointed that Cutter won’t be facing criminal charges? Sound off in the comments below.