Season 12 of Blue Bloods was one of the best yet for the series, thanks to its usual mix of great cop drama amid the family dynamics.
The Reagans faced a lot this season, from a public backlash against the police to battles with superiors, lives in danger, and even some internal strife with the family.
But at the end of the day, the clan still gathered for those family dinners to show the bond that never breaks against the greatest pressure.
The 20 episodes over Season 12 provided drama, thrills and a few laughs as the Reagans and their friends continued to provide the terrific storytelling that made Blue Bloods so successful.
There are a lot of moments that stood out, but these are the best parts of Season 12 of Blue Bloods and fans are hopeful Season 13 can only continue that success.
10. Frank vs Chase
One of the overreaching arcs of the season has been the conflict between Frank and Mayor Chase (Dylan Walsh).
Once good friends and allies, the pair have been at odds over Frank feeling Chase is cutting down on police resources to put on a good face to the public.
Chase defended himself on having to handle politics, but the pair have fought in the media, with each blaming the other for various problems.
It built to Chase openly demanding Frank resign, which he refused to do. The pair tried to make peace, but Chase continued to play games, from offering a job to Jamie to sending a spy against Erin.
The cold war between the pair continues as Season 13 might finally bring it to a major head.
9. Witten quits
While real-life pushed it, it was still a sad moment.
Rachel Witten had been a good cop and partner for Eddie over the show’s last few seasons. The Season 12 premiere had her in trouble for drawing a gun in public during a tense stand-off.
It built up with Witten confessing to not handling the backlash against the police with people literally spitting on her in the street.
She finally put in her papers, telling Eddie she just burned out and couldn’t handle it anymore. Eddie understood for them to part on good terms.
Witten bid goodbye to Frank, who told her the door was always open for a return. This was for Lauren Patten to return to her Broadway work, but sad for fans to see this popular character leave.
8. Eddie and her dad make up
As Blue Bloods fans know, Eddie and her dad have, to put it mildly, a rough relationship.
Eddie was never happy when she found out her father was a con artist who went to jail and they’ve been estranged ever since.
Still, when her dad got out of prison and had nowhere else to go, Eddie agreed to let him stay with her for a while.
That naturally put tension in the marriage with Jamie, who worried Armin would hurt her again.
But when her dad was held captive by another crook, Eddie managed to rescue him. Her father was clear he really was trying to change, so they mended their relationship to friendly terms.
It was good to solve some problems in Eddie’s past and put her and her dad on a better path.
7. The return of Waylon Gates
It’s always fun when a past face returns to Blue Bloods, especially when it’s someone like Waylon Gates.
The Texas Ranger, played by Lyle Lovett, made a return as he and Danny were tracking a drug gang in New York. As usual, the highlight was the culture clash of the cowboy Gates and rough New Yorker Danny.
The pair worked well together, both to bust a drug gang and hunt the hitman sent to kill Gates. Danny personally saved the guy in an ambush.
They topped it off by raiding the drug lab, rescuing some women, and showing the odd respect between them.
It was a fun ride to make the episode pop and hopefully, Gates makes a return visit soon.
6. Jimmy Buffet’s dual guest turn
Blue Bloods doesn’t have a lot of big-time guest stars, but they sure changed that this year.
While out for dinner, Danny ran into famous musician Jimmy Buffett at a bar to buy him a meal. Too late, Danny discovered he’d been scammed by Dickie Delaney, a lookalike con artist.
It was clear Buffett was having a good time with the part as Dickie was able to slide out of any punishment for his scam.
As it happens, the real Jimmy Buffett arrived as he and Dickie were actually old friends. Buffett even gave his imposter some cash to tide him over.
It was a fun dual role for the singer and gave the show a great boost in the ratings to boot.
5. Eddie’s new career goals
Eddie saw a big shift in her work this season as she had to handle a sometimes troublesome new partner in Badillo. After a rough start, the pair ended up getting along well.
But Eddie also confessed how she wanted to be known as more than just “Mrs. Jamie Reagan.” That included studying for the sergeant’s exam and ended up acing it.
However, Eddie admitted she wasn’t comfortable being “the brass” as she much preferred being on the streets. That led to her aiding some detectives in catching a man preying on women at a club.
Eddie told the family she was hoping to become a detective herself, remaining a street cop while still helping others. Jamie accepted his wife’s decision as Eddie seemed ready for a new direction in her life.
4. Henry’s health concerns
It’s never easy to accept time is slowly winning over the best of people.
As much as Reagans love their grandfather, they’ve had to face the reality that age is catching up to Henry. Jamie was concerned he nearly set the kitchen on fire after falling asleep and tried to help.
Henry fired back that he knew one day time would win but was determined to keep fighting.
Frank was worried when he heard Henry was seeing a doctor who revealed Henry had prostate cancer. While it was benign, it was still a major blow.
While Henry is still a strong presence at the family meals, this season was a sad reminder he won’t be around forever, and the family treasures what time they have with him.
3. Joe accepts his family
A recurring theme in Season 12 was Joe Hill working with the Reagans on a variety of cases. Jamie was struck by how Joe insisted on being called “Hill” and not revealing his connections to the family.
He clashed with Jamie, Frank, Danny, and Erin, each time telling them he didn’t want to live under the Reagan shadow and be his own man.
But Joe also bonded with his half-siblings and felt closer to them. That paid off in the finale when he, Danny, and Jamie had to take care of a girl outfitted with a bomb.
When the brothers refused to leave, Joe joined them, declaring, “you’ve got three Reagans here.” They saved the day with Joe then attending the family dinner.
So while he may stick to the Hill name, Joe has finally accepted his standing as a Reagan and hopefully can join with the family more in Season 13.
2. Baez becomes a mom
Baez went through some ups and downs in Season 12. That included being shot by a suspect but thankfully pulled through.
She confessed to Danny she wasn’t sure they were making that much difference in the world and not helped when a pregnant witness in a case was killed in a bombing.
The doctors saved the woman’s daughter, but her family wasn’t willing to take the child on. In a surprising move, Baez decided to adopt the girl herself, confessing she wanted to be a mom.
Danny offered to help in any way he could to show the good bond the pair had. While balancing a baby and this tough job will be a challenge, Baez seems up for it in a major move for the character.
1. Erin’s big decision
Throughout the season, Erin’s clashes with Crawford got worse and worse. From Crawford accusing Erin of being after her job to a rough trial, the pair’s relationship became more difficult.
In the Season 12 finale, after Frank bad-mouthed Crawford’s politics putting perps back on the streets, Erin had it out with her dad for making her job harder. But she also took issue with Crawford for all this in the first place.
While she’d been pushed to run for D.A. in the past, Erin was reluctant, knowing the optics of the police commissioner’s daughter in the spot and not wanting the big fight.
At the family dinner, Erin finally announced she was going to run for District Attorney herself. She knew it would be a bold move to handle Crawford as well as the inevitable conflict of interest with Frank.
However, it wrapped up the season well, with Erin ready for a bold new direction in her life and setting up Season 13 in a strong way.
Blue Bloods Season 12 is streaming on Paramount Plus.