Suicide is one of those things that's vital to talk about, but most people tiptoe around it because it makes them uncomfortable.
Police departments really do have a suicide epidemic on their hands, though, and Blue Bloods Season 10 Episode 12 had the courage to address it.
Frank's dilemma after Rosemary Martin blamed him for her husband's suicide made for a powerful hour of television, especially juxtaposed with the other storylines.
It's hard to write stories about suicide well. It's too sensitive a topic and writers run the risk of either being melodramatic or writing unrealistic nonsense that makes it harder for viewers who are contemplating suicide to seek help.
Fortunately, Blue Bloods did neither.
Frank: Mrs. Martin, I'm so sorry. I -
Rosemary: Save it. I don't want to hear it. How many officers have to die before we admit the truth that nobody has their back out there? You killed him.
The story focused mostly on the people Tommy Martin left behind, especially his widow -- and of course on Frank.
That could have easily turned into an annoying cautionary tale about how suicide affects those left alive, but it didn't. Even better, Frank quickly countered the idea that cops who commit suicide are weak with a terse "it's more complicated than that."
One of the most powerful moments was the family dinner scene when Sean asked why police officers kill themselves and everyone had an answer.
Henry even put aside his cynicism to point out that cops often see the worst of humanity yet don't want to ask for help.
It was disappointing, though, that so much emphasis was put on Martin's relationship with this prostitute as a factor in his decision to end his life.
Frank had to decide whether or not to tell a grieving widow that her husband cheated on her and was being blackmailed, and that was dramatic, but it cheapened the message about suicide.
Blue Bloods pointed out over and over that suicide is a complex issue and there's no one reason why someone ends their life. So why dilute that message with a story about how 99% of the reason this cop committed suicide was that he was being blackmailed by a prostitute?
Plus, since everyone kept mentioning PTSD, it would have been more powerful if Martin had seen something on the job recently that he couldn't deal with. That would have also made Rosemary's comments that Frank wasn't offering officers enough resources for emotional problems have more merit.
It takes courage to stand up to our enemies, but it takes even more to stand up to our weaknesses. So if any of you ever thinks life is too much for you to handle, reach out for help.Rosemary
Rosemary ultimately used the tragedy her family suffered to encourage other officers to reach out for help, but did anything change?
Other than suggesting Rosemary talk to officers, Frank didn't do anything different policy-wise. He didn't hire more staff or make any changes to help screen officers for PTSD or anything like that.
So did he truly address the issue?
Nevertheless, the episode did a good job of raising awareness about suicide and encouraging viewers to reach out for help if needed.
I was surprised that there wasn't a PSA offering a suicide hotline as the credits rolled. It seemed like an appropriate thing to do given the subject matter.
Anyway, Danny's case dovetailed with Frank's story in interesting ways.
Henry: Funny how he was your sworn enemy and now you're eager to help him.
Frank: He lost his wife.
Danny: Yeah, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, right?
It struck me as significant when Danny told that annoying federal district attorney that he was focused on saving a life. Different circumstances, but the same passion.
Also, when Frank worried about Danny working so many hours in a row, I thought he was worried about him burning out because of Martin's suicide.
That would have been a logical connection, but it wasn't explored. Instead, that provided the segue for Erin and Eddie's conflict to spill out.
Danny's new alliance with Delgado and determination not only to find Carlos but to be honest with his former enemy made this one of the better chapters of the seemingly never-ending Delgado saga, too.
I wondered if this is the last time we'll see Delgado.
He usually shows up at least once a season, but with him going into Witness Protection and avenging both his wife's and Linda's deaths through testifying, it felt like an ending to his storyline.
As for Eddie and Erin, this is not the first time they've butted heads and it probably won't be the last.
Too bad Jamie had to get in the middle of this conflict. I'd rather have seen him and Eddie discuss it privately at home, even if Eddie got annoyed that he took his sister's side.
Erin: I cannot make a case on gut instincts. I need facts, evidence. And I would be saying this to any Reagan. I'd say it to Jamie or to Danny too.
Eddie: I am not a Reagan!
Eddie: I am with you but I am not one of you. I didn't have a father who was a paragon of virtue to break bread with every Sunday. I bring something different to the table. I don't have good instincts because I'm a Reagan. I have good instincts because my father is a criminal and I saw something in this girl, something you can't see.
Eddie's feeling of being the outsider has been building for a while. She's had a hard time accepting that she's married the entire Reagan family and that Jamie has a different dynamic with his family than she ever had with hers.
And that random detective deciding to be condescending towards her certainly didn't help matters any.
Sooner or later, this issue was going to have to come to a head, and Erin and Jamie ganging up on her about her overly zealous attempt to question Amanda provided that catalyst.
A big part of the issue is that Erin never gives anyone the benefit of the doubt, especially Eddie.
Last time they butted heads, it was because Erin took the word of a suspect over Eddie's and investigated whether she followed procedure properly. This time, she tore into Eddie for questioning Amanda without getting her side of the story.
And yes, Erin would do that to Jamie or Danny too, and they would probably fight back just as hard as Eddie did.
Anthony is about the only person who can get away with insisting Erin look at things from another perspective. I'm glad he stuck up for Eddie, even if the only thanks he got was to be on the receiving end of Eddie's diatribe.
And thank goodness that Eddie turned to be right. If she'd been overreacting because of her childhood trauma, she'd never have lived it down.
So what did you think, Blue Bloods fanatics?
How powerful was Frank's storyline?
Were you glad to see Delgado again?
And were you Team Eddie or Team Erin on this one?
Hit SHOW COMMENT and let us know your thoughts.
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Blue Bloods continues to air on CBS on Fridays at 10 PM EST/PST.