Thank you, Blue Bloods.
TV doesn’t always take mental health seriously, but Blue Bloods Season 11 Episode 9 gave us a moving, realistic story about Sid’s struggle with depression — and threw in Frank’s discomfort with getting help, too.
Suicide and PTSD are both common among real-life cops, and Blue Bloods did an admirable job of tackling the shame many officers feel around needing mental health treatment.
It’s not just police officers — studies show that cisgender men, in general, tend to be more reluctant to turn to therapists or other mental health providers for help during difficult times. It likely has something to do with cultural ideas about it being unmanly or weak to have emotional issues (or, in some cases, emotions at all).
And for police officers, who are often surrounded with that kind of messaging on top of having to regularly make split-second decisions that can result in the loss of life, it can be even more difficult.
Blue Bloods gave us two different examples of the difficulty cops have with the idea of seeking therapy.
Sid refused to consider the idea no matter how Frank tried to help make it easier for him, only admitting in private that he was having problems. And Frank was willing to engage with Dr. Dawson… but only to talk about Sid.
Of course, in the end, Sid took a leave of absence without using that time to seek help, while Frank endured an awkward first conversation with Dawson.
This was a brilliant move on Blue Bloods’ part. Both men’s behavior was entirely in character, but now men who are struggling with the idea of seeking mental health treatment have a role model in Frank.
The best stories teach a lesson without twisting characters out of shape or being preachy, and this was a great example of that.
Sid: I haven’t been to see a shrink because I have a right to privacy.
Frank: It’s like when you were a kid, on a trip with your parents and they had to stop short. They put a hand out to brace you. To keep you safe. That’s all this is too. To keep you safe.
Sid: Whether I want to go or not?
Frank: Just because you don’t see it –
Sid: So you’re rushing out for session #2 with Dawson?
Sid: Cause you don’t need help, right? The great Frank Reagan doesn’t need help. Just me. I’m the only one who… [breaking down] who is a basket case.
Sid’s breakdown in Frank’s office was one of the most emotional Blue Bloods scenes in a while, too. It was sad that even after that, Sid still wasn’t ready to seek help.
When Frank said that Sid wasn’t returning for a while, I was afraid he would say that Sid had attempted suicide. Thank God I was offbase with that, though it would have dramatically hammered the point home.
I think Frank should include Erin next time he pushes a group of people to seek therapy, though.
Her behavior with Kim was entirely unprofessional and ridiculous, and then, after all that, she was going to quit because Kim didn’t want to do things her way.
I know Erin is disappointed she didn’t get Kim’s job, and it’s frustrating when a supervisor doesn’t see your skills or experience level, but if I were Kim, I would have fired her or at least disciplined her in some serious way.
You don’t reject your boss’ notes using a red Sharpie, and you don’t go and scream at them about it, either.
Erin didn’t know that Kim was on the phone, but that doesn’t matter. Phone or no phone, that was incredibly unprofessional, and I’m glad Kim told her it was unacceptable.
Erin’s attempt to rage quit wasn’t much better, and I wasn’t impressed with her threat to take a different job if Kim didn’t stop giving her notes.
Erin: It’s not me. It’s her.
Anthony: She fired you?
Erin: Not in so many words.
Anthony: This is real simple. Did she say the words ‘you’re fired’ or not?
Erin: Well, no, but she’s pushing me out.
Anthony: So push back.
Maybe I’m too harsh, but I would have called her bluff on that. You don’t get to tell your boss that she doesn’t get to be your boss and keep you.
If Erin hates the job that much, then sure, she should find one she likes better. But what she shouldn’t do is use the threat of leaving to try to force her way.
What kind of reference does she think she’s going to get for a new job if she acts like this?
Jamie and Eddie’s conflict had a similar dynamic, but it was more forgivable because of their personal relationship. Jamie and Eddie have always been adversarial on the job, and this was nothing new.
Plus, Jamie seemed to enjoy the idea of Eddie going up against him at the hearing. He even encouraged her when she complained that his lawyer skills made it impossible for her to win.
And then he secretly gave her the win after the CO said otherwise. How sweet was that?
For what it’s worth, I thought Eddie was right.
Jamie made a point of saying the officer could have altered his evening routine so that he could both take care of his wife in the mornings and get to work on time, but I had a better idea.
Why couldn’t Jamie, as the commanding officer, switch this cop to night duty, and then he wouldn’t be trying to be in two places at once in the mornings?
Elsewhere, was it just me, or did Danny and Baez take another tentative step toward a relationship?
The Baez story wasn’t what I expected. From the trailer, it seemed like Baez would actually get accused of murder and have to clear her name.
But we got plenty of action from Danny/Baez, from him interrogating her about her sex life as part of the practice session before she talked to Internal Affairs to her admission that it was awkward to tell him she was dating anyone.
Although Danny/Baez might be a retread of Jamie/Eddie in some ways, they make a cute couple and have great chemistry. And if Danny is going to move on from Linda, I’d rather he do it with Baez than with someone that seems like a total mismatch. (Yes, I’m looking at you, Maggie, the psychic.)
All in all, this was a nearly flawless episode that just flew by, except for one thing. The dinner scene felt tacked on to the end instead of being an organic part of the story.
Out of nowhere, Sean got a college acceptance letter. Wasn’t he insisting he didn’t need to go to college at all not that long ago?
I was curious about where he was going and whether he is still going to live at home if and when there is a Blue Bloods Season 12. But either way, I would have liked this college application arc to be more of a fully formed story.
I can’t complain, though. That less-than-perfect moment was more than made up for by Frank quoting the same verses he did at Joe’s funeral when he learned about Sid’s former partner’s death.
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Blue Bloods airs on CBS on Fridays at 10 PM EST/PST.