The February 3rd episode of “Blue Bloods” provides yet another example of how television and film are beginning to focus more on the legacy of 9/11, as opposed to the threat of future terrorist attacks. As the 10th anniversary of the tragic event passed last September and in the (thankful) absence of another major attack, shows and movies are examining the long-term impact of 9/11 on those who survived.
Like most episodes of “Blue Bloods,” the emphasis is on the Reagans, as one or more of the police family is investigating a conventional crime in New York City. In this episode, however, Frank Reagan, the stoic police commissioner played by Tom Selleck, is also struggling with guilt because a close friend from the force is dying. The colleague was with him in the North Tower on 9/11 and it appears he became ill due to exposure at Ground Zero. Because he is having difficulty sleeping, Regan, who embodies traditional notions of masculinity, has even taken the step of surreptitiously seeing a psychiatrist. Eventually, Regan’s friend passes away and he speaks at the funeral.
Ironically, Selleck’s most famous television show, “Magnum P.I.,” focused heavily on the legacy of a traumatic event from another era, the Vietnam War, as Magnum (Selleck) and his two closest friends had served together in that conflict. At the end of the “Blue Bloods” episode, Reagan goes to the 9/11 Memorial to honor his friend, and concludes the show by touching it. The scene is reminiscent of the 1985 “Magnum, P.I.” episode, “Going Home,” which ends with Magnum going to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, finding the name of his half-brother, and touching the wall.