A personal tragedy can affect someone in unforeseen ways.
Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) got new proof in "Knockout Game," Friday's (March 14) episode of CBS' "Blue Bloods" written by co-executive producer Brian Burns and directed by Robert Harmon, who also worked with series star Tom Selleck on most of the "Jesse Stone" TV movies.
The story opened with expectant parents Mike and Stephanie Rose (guest stars Josh Segarra and Rose Hemingway) taking an evening stroll and discussing possible names for their child. Suddenly, a gang of youths came rushing up behind them and one punched Stephanie in the face, felling her. A panicked Mike cradled her and screamed for help.
Frank (Selleck) already had concerns about the so-called "knockout game" being practiced randomly throughout the city's boroughs. As he struggled to determine factors linking the attacks, he ordered the NYPD to reach out to informants for any potentially useful information.
At a hospital, Danny and Maria (Marisa Ramirez) tried to get information from a distraught Mike. He was too shaken to be of much assistance, then was shattered when a doctor told him Stephanie had lost the baby.
Still with nothing to go on the next day, the detectives visited an informant known as Third Person Thorpe (guest star Sharrieff Pugh). Indeed referring to himself in the third person, he told Danny, "Thorpe's in the dark on this one, man" -- until his lady friend was threatened with arrest for drugs Maria found. Suddenly, Thorpe came up with a name for them: his cousin, Willie Hayward (guest star Julito McCullum), cited as "the dummy running the knockout game around here."
Finding Willie at a bar, Danny and Maria chased him when he tried to bolt out the back, then used special persuasion to get details from him ... tossing him in their car trunk and driving him around until he agreed to talk.
After asking Garrett (Gregory Jbara) to appeal to the New York press to stop giving the knockout game attention, Frank wasn't happy to find on his desk a letter recommending the promotion of Officer Timothy Doherty (guest star John Behlmann) -- which he already had rejected. Henry (Len Cariou) had enlisted Garrett to put it in front of Frank again, so it was time for a father-son chat at home.
Henry was a "drinking buddy" of Doherty's father, and the two of them had conspired to help secure the promotion, something Frank wanted no part of. "I don't work that way," Frank maintained, saying he didn't approve of earlier regimes that "valued greased palms over an honest rise up."
Nonplussed, Henry asked Frank whether holding someone back professionally because of the same "hook" -- or personal connection -- for which someone might be promoted "isn't just as bad."
Erin (Bridget Moynahan) frantically ran late as her day began, the cause being Jack (guest star Peter Hermann), her ex-husband who secretly had spent the night while their daughter Nicky (Sami Gayle) was away. Erin was concerned Nicky would come home and find Jack there, but he wasn't remotely as worried, pulling Erin into a shower he was in no rush to finish.
As Danny and Maria brought Willie into the precinct for questioning, they found Mike Rose waiting, and wondering if Willie was the man who had attacked his wife. Danny tried to talk down the clearly vengeful Mike, then interrogated Willie, who admitted to being a knockout-game participant. He maintained he wasn't Mrs. Rose's assailant, though, and he had the alibi of having been at a Knicks game that night.
Visiting Mike later, Danny found him painting the baby's intended nursery as a possible form of "closure." Danny also spotted red-paint footprints from Mike's work boots while trying to get information on the attack again. Stephanie then entered and said she recalled one of the youths saying, "You're up, Moses."
Danny reasoned aloud that it probably referred to Moses Caldwell, a known drug dealer in the area. Trying to determine Moses' whereabouts later, Danny found he'd hit a dead end, literally: Moses had just been found in an alley, fatally shot. And when he went to the homicide scene, Danny saw something troubling on the ground ... red-paint footprints from work boots.
Garrett apologized to Frank for doing Henry's bidding, but the matter wasn't resolved yet. Garrett had put the recommendation letter on Frank's desk yet again, believing Officer Doherty deserved the promotion. "Are we going to have a problem here?," Frank asked. "We already do," Garrett replied, accusing Frank of being inflexible.
Frank summoned Officer Doherty to his office to inform him the promotion had been denied, and the young cop mentioned he knew their fathers had been in cahoots on it. Doherty added that he wouldn't want his career advanced that way anyhow, and that he knew Frank had made commissioner on his own, without his father's help. "I know I have a long way to go," Doherty noted.
Erin was less than thrilled when Jack showed up at her office, sporting flowers ... and suggesting they tell Nicky they'd started seeing each other again. Erin replied she wasn't sure, especially since she also wasn't sure she wanted to reunite with Jack completely.
Returning to the Rose residence, Danny strongly advised Mike to get rid of the work boots, prompting Mike to start confessing to having gone to find Moses. "Just stop talking!," Danny shouted, explaining he wasn't there to question Mike again -- though he might have to later.
The weekly Reagan-family dinner proved tense, with Frank and Henry still at odds over Officer Doherty, and Danny preoccupied with the Rose case. Not identifying himself as the subject, Danny talked about having inner conflict over what to do with evidence, and Jamie offered that the cop in question "took the oath" and had to abide by it. Frank added that if the cop was that torn, "Maybe it's time for a career change."
That was all Danny needed: He then went back to the Roses' and arrested Mike for Moses' death.
Still, he sought Erin's help after taking Mike's statement -- in which Mike claimed Moses' gun "just went off" as the two struggled -- and Erin felt a grand jury would rule in Mike's favor. Which it ultimately did, though Danny reminded Mike upon delivering that news to him and Stephanie, "This could have gone the other way."
Things did go the other way for Erin and Jack, during dinner at a restaurant they used to visit on special occasions. Erin thought it might be one, since she was ready to recommit fully to their relationship ... but when she suggested he move back in, Jack hesitated.
"You want just the fun stuff, the easy stuff, like when we were kids," she told him with familiar resignation as she got up to leave. "You're breaking up with me?," her ex asked, startled. "Yes. Yes, I am," she replied firmly, then kept walking.
Frank brought Garrett a bottle of liquor as a peace offering, and revealed he had decided to promote Officer Doherty after all. "I just wanted to thank you for bringing him to my attention," Frank said, then asked how the New York media was responding to the request to downplay the knockout game.
Garrett confirmed that he had made his case to all concerned, and reflected that if another incident occurred -- which both men hoped would not -- "We'll know if we have friends in this."
Photo/Video credit: CBS