The CBS police procedural “Blue Bloods” focuses on the Reagans, a multigenerational law enforcement family. Francis “Frank” Reagan (Tom Selleck) serves as the New York City Police Commissioner, and his four children all work within the justice system. The close-knit family is proud of its contributions to fighting crime and takes time out of every week to celebrate its accomplishments with a family dinner. This tradition keeps their bond strong, and the togetherness it fosters also influences their approach to their professional interactions. Despite the challenges they face in their respective careers, the Reagan family members go above and beyond to support each other in times of crisis.
This strong dynamic is a major draw for viewers, many of whom have faithfully tuned into the series since its pilot episode in 2010. Although there are plenty of things to like about the long-running crime drama, there are some aspects of “Blue Bloods” that even the most die-hard fans struggle to enjoy. Viewers across multiple online platforms have complained about a lack of realism, questionable police tactics, and some unlikeable characters. These unpopular facets of the series make it more difficult for some audiences to fully embrace everything that “Blue Bloods” has to offer.
Although procedural shows are formulaic by design, the storylines of most “Blue Bloods” episodes are a little too predictable for some fans. Michael Hann of The Guardian notes that most people can easily discern what the series is about “without even watching” it due to the overwhelming similarities between episodes. Even though the Reagan family members have individual story arcs, it’s rare to see them step outside of their comfort zones, either personally or professionally. Viewers expect procedurals to operate within a consistent structure but also appreciate some variety regarding characters’ behaviors.
However, this predictability isn’t limited to the Reagan family. Most of the criminals in “Blue Bloods” also have very similar motives, and the detectives generally approach solving cases the same way week after week. Some viewers feel that the reason behind the series’ stale storylines lies with the writers who may sometimes rely too heavily on the tried-and-true procedural format. For example, one IMDb reviewer suggests that the series might benefit from adding fresh voices to the writing team because the episodes are too uniform. This reviewer echoes Hann’s assertion that all episodes are too similar, highlighting the family’s overly predictable habits. Every long-running series needs a refreshing change of pace at times, and taking some of the storylines in a new direction would improve “Blue Bloods” for many fans.
There’s a fine line between having a solid moral compass and believing that one knows the best way to operate in the world. Unfortunately, some Reagans blur that line a little too often throughout the series. Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg) is an undeniably passionate detective, but his self-righteous behavior can rub fans the wrong way. One Reddit user finds Danny’s consistently correct hunches tiresome and believes that the detective should be proven wrong sometimes, writing: “If Danny likes someone as the perpetrator at the beginning, it’s guaranteed to be proven that they did it by the end of the episode.”
The Reddit user also notes that Danny rarely faces the consequences of his behavior, regardless of how unethical his behavior is while pursuing justice. He is always quick to justify both his beliefs and his behavior, and the series proves him right time and time again.
Danny isn’t the only character who irritates fans with his self-righteousness. According to another Reddit thread entitled “Jamie’s Moral Righteousness Has Hit Next Level,” many viewers have the same issue with Danny’s younger brother, Jamie (Will Estes). Several users in this thread note that his holier-than-thou attitude makes it difficult to like the young police officer and that this behavior worsens each season. Jamie can easily be a voice of reason for his hotheaded brother, Danny, but his constant moralizing also alienates many fans.
Improbable family dinners
The elaborate family dinner scenes in every episode are among the most recognizable parts of the “Blue Bloods” formula. The family patriarch, Henry (Len Cariou), gathers the whole family for a Sunday night feast in which the Reagans unwind, reconnect, and discuss the recent goings-on in their lives. The meals feature occasional guests from outside the family but are mostly limited to the core group. The family dinners are so well-known that MacMillan Publishers even released “The Blue Bloods Cookbook,” written by cast member Bridget Moynahan and Wendy Howard Goldberg, the wife of the series’ executive producer, Leonard Goldberg.
However, despite the popularity, some fans have taken issue with these family dinners because they are overly idealistic and predictable. A Reddit user even cites them as a factor in their decision to stop watching the series after only a few seasons. The user explains that someone has something profound to say at every meal: “… it just got so irritating.” The dinners often serve as a vehicle for the episode’s moral message, which can also be off-putting to certain viewers. Ironically, the family dinners aren’t exactly beloved by Tom Selleck, either. Speaking to Cinemablend in 2019, the actor said he finds filming these scenes “miserable,” mainly because the actors have to repeatedly eat the same foods for up to eight hours.
The media’s depictions of how law enforcement sometimes treats minorities is a sensitive subject, and it has become a common theme in television shows and movies. Unfortunately, the treatment of this issue in “Blue Bloods” is something that some fans can’t support. Laura Hudson of Slate explains that the series “…has a habit of depicting people who speak up against the police as malicious, manipulative, or deceptive — and a lot of those people happen to be minorities.” Additionally, there are several instances of Reagan family members racially profiling suspects or witnesses. For example, some fans took to a Reddit thread to discuss the lack of positive African American representation in the series, and several users noted that African Americans usually appear as criminals in the show’s early seasons.
However, the series has also featured unfair characterizations of other minority groups. One particularly troubling instance of this tendency occurs in the Season 1 episode, “What You See.” As the NYPD tracks a mysterious bomber, Danny becomes determined to solve the case as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, he conflates Arabs with terrorists more than once in this episode, which angered many fans. One IMDb reviewer notes that racial profiling “jeopardizes every single citizen’s civil rights.” Though this kind of profiling is sadly realistic, fans would probably prefer to see Danny learn a lasting lesson about how wrong he was to behave in this manner.
Working in law enforcement is often a high-stakes career choice, so naturally, the “Blue Bloods” characters exhibit strong emotions in the line of duty, however, some tend to be overdramatic. This behavior makes it difficult for audiences to take the Reagan family members seriously and detracts from the overall enjoyment of the series. One Reddit user explains: “There are copious amounts of heavy sighs in this show.” The user also comments that many Frank Reagan scenes include overly exaggerated dialogue. Many fans would argue that it’s unnecessary to overemphasize Frank’s lines to make him a strong, memorable character.
Although Frank’s overly worried nature may annoy some fans, Danny’s anger issues are equally troublesome in the early seasons. The detective gives his all to tracking criminals and solving cases, but he doesn’t know how to keep his emotions in check. His explosive temper leads to overdramatic responses to witnesses, suspects, and even his own family. He tends to overreact to situations he encounters in the field which lands him in anger management classes in the Season 3 episode “Warriors.” Unfortunately, Danny chooses to be rude and sarcastic during his sessions and gains little from the experience. His character gradually mellows out as the series progresses, but the seasoned detective always maintains his propensity for off-putting, angry outbursts.
The “Blue Bloods” detectives work hard to bring criminals to justice, but some fans dislike their tactics. Far too often, the Reagan family is willing to bend the rules or use extreme measures to make arrests or secure convictions. Unfortunately, as one Reddit thread points out, this isn’t unique to the CBS procedural. However, the original poster specifically calls out Frank, Danny, and Jamie as law enforcement officers who stop at nothing to get to the bottom of their cases. In addition, Frank uses his position as police commissioner to influence any potential disciplinary actions against his officers, which enables them to break the rules without consequences. In real life, this behavior would be considered corruption, which makes it unpopular with fans of the series.
Another Reddit user suggests that Danny is the biggest culprit when ignoring the code of conduct viewers would expect police officers to follow. The user also notes that Danny’s problematic behavior makes it hard to see him as a heroic character, despite the series trying to make him seem like a good police officer. Ever since the series began, audiences frequently see Danny resort to unnecessary violence and witness intimidation. For example, in the pilot episode, Danny pushes a suspect’s head into a toilet to coerce him to comply with his investigation. The fact that one of the primary characters can abuse his position without ever being held accountable is a very unpopular facet of this series.
Linda Reagan (Amy Carlson) is an emergency room nurse at St. Victor’s Medical Center who becomes part of the Reagan family through her marriage to Danny. Not only is she a dedicated, talented nurse, but she is a genuinely caring person who supports her family. Fans can easily relate to her because of her subdued personality, which is a welcome balance to Danny’s fiery temper. Linda is a very likable character in the first seven seasons of “Blue Bloods,” but her sudden death is an unpleasant surprise. Linda’s off-screen passing after Season 7 upset fans because the series never hinted at the possibility of the compassionate nurse not returning for Season 8. In an interview with Deadline, Carlson reveals that even she “feels badly” about the abrupt manner in which the show’s creative team wrote her longstanding character out of the series.
Although she died in a helicopter crash, many viewers still hold out hope that Linda will return, however, a Reddit thread points out that wanting the character back is something fans “need to let go” despite their ongoing appreciation of her. When a psychic named Maggie Gibson (Callie Thorne) gives Danny a message from Linda in the Season 9 episode, “Ripple Effect,” the hardened police officer finally gets some closure from his wife’s death. However, this brief reference to the beloved nurse likely doesn’t satisfy fans, especially since Linda never actually appears in the episode.
Inaccurate depictions of police work
One of the biggest challenges with many police procedurals is the delicate balance between realism and drama. A little story-serving embellishment is to be expected, but many audiences still want to see a high degree of realistic police work in their favorite series, something “Blue Bloods” has often received praise for since its inception. Jennifer Aldrich of Country Living explains that the creative team even hired a former police officer named James Nuciforo to consult on the series, which lends credibility to the drama. However, some fans insist that the early seasons of the series feature wildly inaccurate depictions of how law enforcement officers investigate crimes and apprehend suspects.
These inaccuracies can be very aggravating for viewers because they make the show far less believable. In particular, many fans struggle with the fact that the Reagan family operates by its own set of principles and seems to be exempt from consequences a real member of the NYPD would encounter. According to one IMDb reviewer: “In reality, Danny would’ve been fired or killed years before he ever became a detective, and cops like Jamie simply don’t exist.” Although police corruption and misconduct are an unfortunate reality in some cases, they occur a little too often in the series. Danny slowly cools off as his storyline progresses, but some fans still dislike the fact that he never faces realistic disciplinary action for his behavior.
An outdated concept
Even though police procedurals are fictional, some fans prefer to see concepts and storylines rooted in modern reality. Unfortunately, “Blue Bloods” tends to be behind the times regarding how the NYPD relates to the larger community. Many of the detectives still track leads and crack cases with only minimal awareness of the modern implications of their actions. While old-fashioned police work can be thrilling to watch, the series could better address current real-world concepts such as the public’s expanded awareness of police brutality and movements such as Black Lives Matter. Issues regarding inclusivity are also rarely discussed, and one viewer on Reddit notes that the series portrays one of the only non-white police officers in a negative light.
These issues make the popular series seem outdated, but the show is making progress. Before the premiere of Season 11, actor Donnie Wahlberg discussed how “Blue Bloods” addresses current events during an interview with TV Insider. When it comes to handling these topics, Wahlberg explains: “I think we can certainly be more mindful and do a better job of how we do this. We’ve always tried to engage in tough conversations with multiple opinions.” Subsequent seasons incorporate contemporary social justice issues more often, but the early seasons still feel behind the times for many fans.
Humor is a perfect way to add balance to the heavy subject matter that TV procedurals often tackle. However, many fans feel that the Reagan family’s attempts at humor often miss their mark. The original poster of a “Blue Bloods” Reddit thread lists the series’ failure to successfully make audiences laugh as one of the most noteworthy problems with the series. Almost every character is guilty of cracking the occasional cringe-worthy joke, but Danny is the family’s resident comedian. He tries to lighten the mood under challenging circumstances and at family dinners, but most of his jokes are more corny than funny.
However, Danny’s attempts at being funny are just some of the missed humor opportunities for the series. For example, one IMDb reviewer points out that Jennifer Esposito is a comedic actress (previously appearing in shows like “Spin City,” and “Samantha Who?”) whose talents were underutilized during her short tenure. Jennifer plays a detective named Jackie Curatola, Danny’s partner for the series’ first three seasons. Unfortunately for audiences, Curatola spends much more time being annoyed with the other NYPD detectives than she does being funny. Curatola is still likable, but Esposito’s knack for delivering well-timed humor, which viewers got to see in later projects like “Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens” could have been employed to provide more comic relief to the procedural drama.
Sometimes, one character stands out as a particularly unpleasant part of their respective series. In the case of “Blue Bloods,” several viewers take issue with Nicky Reagan (Sami Gayle), Erin’s only child. She begins the series as a young girl, and fans watch her grow into a bright, opinionated first-year college student. Nicky is a relatively minor character compared to the adult members of the Reagan family, but she ironically causes more division among fans than almost any other character. Nicky leaves for college in the middle of Season 10, but fans still have plenty to say about their dislike of the character.
For example, fans in one Reddit thread openly air their grievances about Nicky, calling her an unnecessary distraction from more important aspects of the show’s plot. Although a handful of users argue that Nicky sometimes serves as a helpful counterbalance for some of the other characters’ conservative views, most agree that she is their least favorite member of the Reagan family. Unfortunately, this is just one of several Reddit threads dedicated to a shared dislike of Nikki. In another Reddit thread the original poster makes their negative opinions about Nikki abundantly clear, and the comment section’s consensus is that the teenager is obnoxiously naive. Given all of this disapproval, the character’s departure from the series is probably for the best.