One of the things Blue Bloods does best is to examine criminal justice reform from the cops' perspective.
The series often presents an alternative point of view that balances compassion and fairness with the need for law and order, often with interesting results.
And on Blue Bloods Season 10 Episode 11, the dual issues of treating addiction like a public health issue and dealing with homeless people demonstrated that the need for systemic reform affects both cops and citizens in negative ways.
Erin's conflict with Judge Harvey addressed the topical issue of how to deal with drug addicts compassionately rather than filling jails with non-violent offenders.
Erin: Do you really think rehab is appropriate, Judge Harvey?
Harvey: I forgot for one precious second what it was like to work with you.
Judge Harvey wasn't wrong in her claim that addiction is an illness and that addicts need help more than they need jail, though Erin also wasn't wrong that the defendant's history should be taken into account when determining the best placement for them.
But when Siriani escaped from rehab, the rehab director made a salient point that seemed to be at the root of the issue. His rehab center was overwhelmed with new residents thanks to judges sentencing more people to rehab.
Any reform that didn't also include opening more rehab centers or hiring more staff at existing centers was doomed to failure because overwhelming existing centers wasn't going to be helpful to anyone.
That's the major reason such reforms don't get enacted or don't last long.
It costs more to open and staff rehab centers than it does to keep the existing system, people don't want rehab centers in their neighborhoods, and when an overwhelmed system fails and a tragedy happens, people point to that as proof that the reform itself was a failure.
It was also interesting that the rehab director assumed Siriani was the troublemaker because he'd been using drugs for longer.
Siriani claimed that the whole crime spree was Hicks' idea. Addicts often lie, so who knows if that's true. But since Siriani didn't have a history of gun use, it's possible.
And if so, that rehab director needs to check his attitude. He probably needs to do that anyway, because assuming that hardcore drug users are lost causes isn't helpful.
In a way, it was disappointing that Judge Harvey had a personal relationship with Siriani that was clouding her judgment. That undercut the point Blue Bloods was trying to make about the unintended consequences of criminal justice reform.
Once that came out, the story was no longer about the way the new sentencing guidelines were affecting the community. Instead, it was about how a judge wanting to believe the best of her childhood best friend messed things up.
The storyline evaporated with fifteen minutes left in the hour, too.
Hicks attacked Harvey, she shot him, and then she cried and expressed shock that Siriani would have given Hicks her address. The end.
It felt like there should have been some more fallout from that, like the judge being investigated for the shooting or her decisions being investigated because she was so clearly biased in this case.
Instead, she was just gone, presumably having learned her lesson from having almost been killed. She didn't even confront Siriani about how he could have betrayed her like that.
Meanwhile, Frank and his staff struggled to deal with a new, more conservative policy in which the cops were expected to round up homeless people.
Garrett: This is going to hurt our standing in the community.
Sid: What community? The hobo community?
Mayor Chase was naive to think that everyone in New York City was going to love the cops for doing this.
If Nicky was still on the show, she would be the first to argue that this policy amounted to criminalizing poor people for existing, and she likely would not be the only one in all of New York City who felt that way.
Plus, there is already a lot of tension between cops and certain communities in New York City, particularly communities that are overwhelmingly poor and overwhelmingly black or Latino.
How would cops arresting people who had committed no crime help that?
I also had my doubts about Frank's claim that this is what the people wanted because they'd elected this mayor in a landslide.
Campaign promises and actual policies after an election are often two separate things, and people may have voted Chase in for other reasons and not because his solution to homelessness is to criminalize it.
In any case, it was predictable that this policy went to hell quickly. Nobody should have been surprised that the homeless population was going to fight back or that homeless people were dying in custody.
Like Erin's storyline, this story showed the problem of trying to reform one piece of the system without reforming the rest.
The homeless shelters were getting overwhelmed and the homeless ended up in other communities since they weren't welcome in the one they were arrested in. That's because the homeless have to go SOMEWHERE; making it illegal to be homeless doesn't eradicate the problem.
In short, Chase accomplished nothing and the only one who had the foresight to see what would happen was Garrett
Garrett: Why are you certain he's going to have war stories?
Frank: It's Sid. He's gonna have war stories.
Garrett: Are they gonna be true?
Frank: I certainly hope so.
It was disappointing that Frank expected Sid to spin this positively for the cops instead of immediately investigating what went wrong. That seemed out of character for him.
Usually, Frank has his cops' backs while also pushing back against crazy ideas by mayors who don't have any clue about laws or law enforcement.
But perhaps he wanted to give Chase enough rope to hang himself with this one so that Chase would learn to rely on Frank's wisdom instead of trying to push through ridiculous ideas.
The two most interesting stories of the night both involved Jamie.
Jamie and Danny don't often work together, and if Danny had his way, they wouldn't have this time either.
It's always interesting to see the brothers clash on a case, and Jamie was right -- he was in the best position to help close the case, and that's exactly what he did.
Katrina and Wayne's scheme was weird.
The distress call was always the same: unresponsive male on the pavement in an isolated area. You'd think that the EMTs would be suspicious after the first couple of times.
In any case, they were going to get caught sooner or later. Too bad Wayne lost his life before anyone figured out what was going on.
Jamie and Eddie's marriage woes were interesting and relatable, too.
Most of America is struggling with student loan debt, plus many couples find it challenging to figure out how to pay jointly for debts that were originally each partner's own business.
Jamie: $300,000 to go to Harvard. A lifetime with you: priceless.
It was surprising that Eddie wanted to use the trust fund since she generally wants nothing to do with her dad. But the compromise she and Jamie came up with was perfect.
Your turn, Blue Bloods fanatics.
Who did you think was right: Erin or the judge?
Do you think this mayor will last?
And what did you think of the Jamko storyline?
Hit SHOW COMMENTS and share your thoughts.
Miss the episode? No problem. Watch Blue Bloods online and then come back to the conversation.
Blue Bloods continues to air on CBS on Fridays at 10 PM EST/PST.