Someone who certainly knows the turf called the shots on the latest "Blue Bloods."
Series co-star Donnie Wahlberg made his directing debut on the CBS police drama with Friday's (Jan. 31) episode, "Manhattan Queens." He also continued to have a major presence in his weekly role as Detective Danny Reagan, who began the hour hiking through woods with partner Maria ( Marisa Ramirez) to the location of a decomposing body.
Maria noted the expensive dress on the victim, who also sported a wig Danny referenced ... prompting him to reason the cops were onto "a story with an unhappy ending."
As Nicky ( Sami Gayle) left for school, Erin ( Bridget Moynahan) walked part of the way with her, dressed for a morning run. After the mother and daughter separated, Erin noticed a van seemed to be following her. She turned into an alley, and as she looked back at the vehicle, a blanket was thrown over her and she was taken into it.
A female occupant identified herself to a terrified Erin as Doris Cooper (guest star Sharon Washington) -- the mother of Timothy Cooper, a man jailed for more than two years for "a crime he did not commit," Doris insisted. She'd previously contacted Erin, who explained again she wasn't the prosecutor on the case that involved the second-degree murder of a drug dealer and possession of "marijuana for me," said the mother, who revealed she was dying.
The woman then handed Erin her address, willing to be arrested if the lawyer felt it was warranted. "But please," she implored, "help my son."
Frank ( Tom Selleck) wasn't too rattled when Garrett ( Gregory Jbara) showed him an online video of someone speeding through the boroughs of New York from the driver's point of view, verbally taunting Frank -- at a time when the commissioner happened to be overseeing a convention of police chiefs.
However, Frank's concern level rose when his assistant Baker ( Abigail Hawk) suspected she knew who the perpetrator was: Deputy Chief Sal Laduca (guest star Joe Maruzzo), whose numerous date invitations she'd rejected. Even with the perp's voice electronically disguised, she was sure the behavior fit what she knew of him, and Frank agreed to look into it.
Danny and Maria were stuck in their murder investigation until they got information that "our Jane Doe is a John Doe." Searching the Internet led Maria to a possible ID for the victim: Tiffany Lamp, whom Danny knew as one of the drag-queen stars of a TV series called "Queen Bee." Claiming wife Linda ( Amy Carlson) watched it and he just happened to look in, Danny then left with Maria for a nightclub where Tiffany performed.
Club owner Tallulah (guest star Jerick Hoffer), recognized by a mildly starstruck Danny as another "Queen Bee" personality, revealed Tiffany had gotten engaged recently and supposedly was going to Paris. A cell-phone check traced a number of calls between Tiffany and a high-class club for Ivy Leaguers, the cops' next stop.
Erin spoke with Thornton Mead (guest star Michael Potts), the attorney who was prosecuting Timothy and who immediately resented Erin's apparent interference. She asked if he would mind her taking a look at the information, and he sternly cautioned her, "Do not sully my case."
Going to speak with the only eyewitness to the murder -- the slain man's girlfriend, Barbara Keyes (guest star Rebecca Naomi Jones) -- Erin found her quite hostile and uncooperative, and could only look on as the woman drove off.
At the private club, Danny asked for any records under Tiffany's actual name, Terry Bell. Payments for Sidecar drinks provided a link to the only other patron who ordered them regularly there: recently divorced Burton Maxwell (guest star Reed Birney), who was taken back to the precinct by Danny and Maria.
Under interrogation, Maxwell admitted he'd been fooled into thinking Terry was a woman: "I'd never been attracted to a man. In this case, it didn't matter." Indeed, to the extent that Maxwell proposed, then was heartbroken when Terry ran off with the diamond engagement ring that Maxwell had stolen from his family's safe-deposit box.
Baker's ongoing probe indicated the speeder wasn't Laduca, but his brother-in-law. She had a thought on the next step to be taken, and she barely could conceal her appreciation when Frank informed her, "You're the lead on this case."
Having noted the expensive coat the unemployed Barbara Keyes was wearing, Erin got hold of her juvenile record -- and discovered she'd had ties to Timothy's co-defendant in the murder. Keyes' complicity was confirmed by a prison-call recording in which she told the co-defendant about buying the coat, leading a chastened Thornton to admit to Erin, "I was wrong." She replied, "Yes, you were. Live with it."
Back at the nightclub, Danny and Maria asked the other performers for anything they could recall about the night Tiffany was killed. Later, Tallulah showed up at the precinct to offer information, and Maria playfully suggested an empty squad room where Danny and Tallulah could "be alone."
Having "fantasized about being the femme fatale in a detective's office," Tallulah suggested the murderer might be her business partner, Mickey O'Donnell (guest star Larry Mitchell). He had shared late-night cabs, and possibly more, with Tiffany until Maxwell came into the picture. Thus, jealousy could have been the motive.
At the weekly family dinner, the conversation revolved around which Reagan had racked up the most speeding tickets. The younger relatives were surprised to learn it was ... Erin, whom Henry ( Len Cariou) gleefully reported had once driven at 112 mph on the Garden State Parkway. "One of the great things about parents," Frank informed Nicky, "is that you can learn from their mistakes."
To get the goods on O'Donnell, a wire-wearing Danny posed as Maxwell and went back to the nightclub. Accusing O'Donnell of the murder, Danny demanded the engagement ring back. "That could take some time," O'Donnell said. "Or maybe I should just kill you, too." That was all Maria, monitoring the chat from outside, needed before rushing into the club with other cops -- by which time, Danny had taken out O'Donnell by wielding an umbrella skillfully.
In another return to the club later, Danny met with Tallulah, who actually was Dennis out of the drag-queen garb. Sharing the news that O'Donnell was going away "for a long time," Danny joined Dennis in a toast to Tiffany Lamp.
At Erin's request, Doris visited her office, where the prosecutor explained how the reopened investigation had turned out. Asked what Timothy's favorite meal was, Doris said, "Lemon chicken with roasted potatoes." Erin advised, "You should cook that meal. He'll be home for dinner tonight."
Doris asked how she could thank Erin, who said she admired Doris' devotion as a mother ... "but as an officer of the court, I want to throw you in jail for what you did to me. So you can thank me by leaving, before I change my mind." And Doris did.
At the police chiefs' convention, Frank called Baker to the podium, and she revealed the speeder had been identified through visual surveillance that she shared with her audience -- including Laduca, who became visibly nervous. As Baker said another suspect was being sought, Laduca claimed he had "urgent business" and bolted from the room.
"What a shame," Baker mused, as Frank smiled knowingly.
Photo/Video credit: CBS