I promise, I’m not going to devote whole posts to every one of the nearly thirty ethics-focused TV shows starting new seasons this month. “Blue Bloods,” however, as the longest running such show and a drama whose very premise is an ethics problem (we call Tom Selleck’s baby “The Conflict of Interest Family” around the ProEthics office)–and it is a multiple winner of the Ethics Alarms Award for best ethics TV series— has earned a post of its own.
Last night was the premiere of “Blue Bloods,” and to its credit, the show that celebrates our men and women in blue did not duck the issue of police shootings and the national controversy over law enforcement. The episode, titled “The Greater Good,” had NYC Police Chief Frank Reagan’s oldest son, hot-headed police detective Danny (played by Donnie Wahlberg) facing a grand jury because he had shot and killed an unarmed man. Meanwhile, the wife of a fallen officer and Frank Reagan colleague and friend urged Selleck’s character to find a way to flunk her son out of the police academy, because she didn’t want her boy to end up hated and dead, like his father.
Unfortunately, the show’s writers managed to avoid all of the real issues involved in police shootings that have people getting hurt and killed in the Charlotte riots, pro football players grandstanding, and the races parting like the Red Sea as Barack Obama stands looking on, apparently content.
Danny, you see, shot an unarmed suspect who…
…an admitted serial killer
…tortured his female victims, over 20 of them
…had kidnapped Danny’s college-student niece and announced that he would kill her
…was goading the detective into firing as part of his vendetta against him
…had his hands behind his back intentionally behaving as if he had a weapon, grinning all the while like the eeevil homicidal maniac he was
…refused to drop the imaginary weapon when ordered to do so, and
…suddenly whipped his hands out from behind his back, prompting Danny to fire.