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During a time when multiple cop shows and even sit-coms are adopting Black Lives Matter sloganeering, CBS’ “Blue Bloods” bucked that trend by choosing to side with the police for once.
According to Newsbusters, the show’s December 4 episode “Triumph Over Trauma” went as far to reject the charge of “systemic racism” in the NYPD.
“The December 4 season premiere ‘Triumph Over Trauma’ sees Commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) arguing with City Council Speaker Regina Thomas (Whoopi Goldberg) over ‘systemic racism and oppression’ in the police,” reported the outlet. “Rather than roll over and take it like every other network show, Frank stands up for his officers and shows no fear in telling the Speaker to stop disparaging the police.”
As the episode unfolds, Frank and Regina continually spar over the merits of police in the city while he routinely rejects the charge that his officers are overwhelmingly racist or that bad cops go undisciplined. As the episode closes, Frank even considers resigning from his position until Deputy Commissioner Garrett Moore (Gregory Jbara) extolls him for having the courage to “speak the unpopular or inconvenient truth.”
In the wake of George Floyd’s death, shows have been under pressure to push more content promoting the messaging of Black Lives Matter, especially cop shows. Last month, rapper Ice-T told TMZ that “Law & Order: SVU” will tackle police brutality and racial profiling.
“In the season finale, I killed a black man. So now you’ve got Fin, going through the mental dilemma, like can he be a police officer in these times. And the last thing he ever wanted to do was to be a cop that shot a black man and killed him in front of his family. So, you’ll see my character go through that and question whether he can continue to be a police officer,” he said.
Simultaneously, the character of Olivia Benson, played by Mariska Hargitay, will be dealing with internal questions of her own racial bias.
“You’re gonna see Mariska deal with the challenge of, ‘Is she racist?’” he said. “We have this ‘Karen’ situation where we pick up this black guy, but did we profile him? Was implicit bias involved? Why didn’t we question the white lady?”
In an op-ed for The Washington Post earlier this year, Alyssa Rosenberg argued that such shows should be canceled entirely.
“There’s no question that it would be costly for networks and studios to walk away from the police genre entirely,” Rosenberg wrote. “Canceling Dick Wolf’s ‘Chicago’ franchise of shows would wipe out an entire night of NBC’s prime-time programming; dropping ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’ and a planned spinoff would cut even further into the lineup.”
Rosenberg went on to argue how Hollywood and police departments have been collaborating on projects throughout the years, leading the industry to show police only in a positive light.
“For a century, Hollywood has been collaborating with police departments, telling stories that whitewash police shootings and valorizing an action-hero style of policing over the harder, less dramatic work of building relationships with the communities cops are meant to serve and protect,” she writes. “There’s a reason for that beyond a reactionary streak hiding below the industry’s surface liberalism.”