Blue Bloods kicked off 2022 with the return of an old face.
With Baez recovering from a gunshot wound, Danny got a special partner to handle a tough assignment in the appropriately titled Old Friends.
That wasn’t the only friendship tested as Jamie had to take on a mentor while Frank and Chase once again went at it.
A familiar face returns
The episode opened with Sid joking with some reporters at a bar when he saw two guys getting into a fight and trying to stop it. His efforts were proven by showing up to work the next day with a massive black eye.
It seems Officer Paul Salter (Jamal James) was for defunding the force and Officer Christopher Zeal (Josh Crotty) took exception. The fact that Sid just happened to be drinking with a few reporters was the reason why Chase wanted to see Frank immediately.
Jason Reeves (DeLance Minefree), a store owner Jamie had helped out, came to him needing a new break. He’d gotten in deep with a bookie named Teddy T who had one of his guys lean on him for payment and begged Jamie for help.
Danny was annoyed that he was being kept out of the investigation into an incoming huge drug shipment. He and Baez ran into the person in charge, Major Waylon Gates (Lyle Lovett) of the Texas Rangers. The two continued their old banter with Gates, remarking, “If I had a horse, I wouldn’t need you.”
Inside Gates’ “great big inconspicuous truck,” the Ranger pointed out how, with border security tightened, New York was now seen as a way to consolidate control of the drug market. Danny had a contact to turn to as “it’s not my first rodeo.”
Jamie headed to a bar to meet the bookie’s enforcer…who was retired Sergeant Kevin Coolidge (James McCaffrey), Jamie’s former instructor at the police academy. He claimed only to handle the bar and brushed off any threats against Jason, with Jamie unsure how to handle this.
Frank called Zeal in for a meeting to clarify that he and Salter had to deal with each other and were ready to suspend Zeal.
Jamie and Gates went to Jamie’s contact, Rudy (Mateo D’Amato), who at first refused to talk but gave up intel that a big meeting between two gangs was going down that night. But when they got there, they discovered seven dead gang members as the ADT had betrayed the cartel and they’d sent an assassin after them.
Eddie broke it to Jamie that Coolidge was helping Teddy T lean on people who couldn’t pay and warned her husband that his mentor might be up to something dirty.
Loyalties are further tested
Once more, Frank was called onto the mayor’s carpet as Chase pushed Frank just to hush this fight up rather than push it with a suspension. Like a true politician, Chase had changed his tune from weeks earlier as now the public wanted more police although Frank pointed out it was more the rich people who voted for Chase and not blue-collar folks.
The talk between the pair got tense once more, with Frank telling Chase, “quit trying to micromanage a business you have no idea how to turn the lights on for in the morning.”
Gates and Danny debated the drug trade as Gates revealed his partner had been killed trying to stop this same cartel. Gates got a call on a truck having been used as part of the drug deal. The driver refused to give up info because of how dangerous the cartel was.
Coolidge was happy to be back at his old precinct until Jamie told him he was a person of interest in this case. He admitted he was tempted to look the other way for everything Coolidge taught him and was giving him a chance to get out of this before he got jammed up.
Coolidge reminded Jamie of his old lesson on “what’s the difference between a lawyer and a cop? Loyalty.”
Sid met Jamie about Coolidge, relating that the man’s wife was sick and needed all the money he could for her treatments. He not-too-subtly pushed Jamie to rethink making this an official report.
Danny figured that the same assassin who took out the gang also killed Gates’ partner, and that’s the real reason he was in New York. The killer was Juan Carlos Lopez (Joseph Raymond Lucero), a deadly cartel hitman known as El Demonio. Danny pressed that the drug bust had to come first.
Friends never give up
Sid and Moore were outraged to read that Chase was not only acting like he’d always been against defunding the cops but that “1PP needs real leadership” to stop being soft on crime.
Gates apologized to Danny and encouraged him to get to the family dinner. Eddie brought up how Sid was also driven by friendship just like Jamie was and that Jamie naturally felt guilty over possibly hurting Coolidge just for making extra cash.
At the Reagan dinner, the subject was somehow first kisses with Erin admitting to having kissed a pair of brothers, and Frank outraged Henry had kissed one of his mom’s old friends. Eddie brought it to a halt admitting hers was a former campmate while Frank pleaded the fifth.
Gates got a phone call to head to a bridge where Lopez got the drop on him…only for Danny to get the drop on Lopez as he’d put a tracker on Gates’ truck. Danny was then in the rare place of the cool head, stopping Gates from slicing up Lopez.
Lopez refused to talk until Gates and Danny threatened to make him sample some of the cartel’s product. Finally, he gave up that the cartel was using a daycare center, of all places, as a cover for their operation, finding one stray kid inside before taking the other dealers down in a shootout. The pair then moseyed off to get a meal.
Sid confronted Jamie on putting Coolidge’s name in the report with Jamie responding that giving Coolidge a pass wasn’t going to help anyone. Jamie headed to the bar to see Coolidge, who was upset about this even if the D.A. wouldn’t charge him.
He ranted on how the guy owed money, and he had to lean on him, defending it on his wife’s needs as he hadn’t been there for her during the marriage. Jamie tried to give Coolidge money, but the man refused while asking Jamie to stop by more often, touched at Jamie trying to help with Jamie hopeful his mentor could come around.
As Chase expected, Frank was steamed as he came in and, when accused of self-righteousness, responded “just right.” Once more, Frank pushed he only cared about the department’s good more than the public image and hated fighting Chase.
Frank acknowledged that the mayor’s job was tougher than his with Chase dryly pointing out Frank “didn’t have you to put up with on top of everything else.” The pair ended up agreeing to have a drink together to try and smooth things over.
It was a tough test of some friendships, but the bonds ended up being strengthened in the end.
Blue Bloods Season 12 airs Fridays at 10/9c on CBS.