Blue Bloods is the show where more is discussed in more real terms in eight minutes at the dinner table than has been discussed and accomplished on Capitol Hill in the last eight months.
On Friday night’s episode, titled "Stomping Grounds," the show delved behind the scenes into the very un-PC world of how the police used to get information out of perps. And how that has changed from then until now:
Sean: So, what's the deal with these bunny ears?
Linda: Okay, what's this?
Sean: Well, when we were setting the table, I overheard Pops and Grandpa talking about how it's not like the old days, when you could just use the bunny ears.
Nicky: You care to explain?
Frank: It's a myth. Never really happened.
Jack: What was it?
Henry: Well, the story goes that back in the good old days, if a perp wouldn't confess, a detective would leave the room and then he'd come back wearing a pair of bunny ears. And then he would beat the hell out of the perp until he confessed.
Frank: So, in theory, when the perp was on the stand and said, "A detective put on rabbit ears and beat me up," no one would believe him.
Jack: That's awesome.
Erin: Yeah, well, we don't do it that way anymore.
Danny: Well, but maybe we should. Once in a while, you know, it might do some good.
Erin: Unless you care about the Bill of Rights.
Henry: Look, the point is the police saved this city because they had a freer hand. We had more than 2,200 murders in a year. Everyone forgets that.
Frank: No one's forgotten that. But times change.
Nicky: Meaning? Meaning we do not have 2,200 murders a year anymore. More like 300.
Erin: And you don't need to rule with an iron fist to issue a parking ticket.
Danny: Yeah, but we weren't hired to be social workers either.
Jamie: Some of this new training is good, and some of it doesn't work out on the street.
Frank: Well, some of it won't work. But the city isn't a war zone anymore.
Danny: No, but any car stop could have a gun under the front seat. And you got to think that way if you want to get home safe to your family.
Linda: Danny, can we not...
Erin: Good luck getting the public on your side with that attitude.
Danny: It's easy for you to say, up in your cushy office.
Frank: Every day is a balancing act. But that's what we signed up for.
Erin: Here's what I know. You don't make cases with bunny ears or blackjacks anymore. You make 'em by convincing people to talk.
Danny: Fair enough.
Jamie: That's true.
Linda: Well, I'd like to talk about somebody passing those carrots down here.
Jack: So now it's okay to be a snitch?
Danny: No. No. To report a crime, yes. That's different.
Henry: In fact, it's your duty as a citizen.
Jack: Well, Sean took my earbuds last week and never gave 'em back.
Nicky: Sean, as your lawyer, I advise you to take the fifth and pass the potatoes, please.
Here’s the thing, there are a lot of people out there who wouldn’t have an issue with the police getting rough with a suspect (within reason) if the police were genuinely convinced of the perp’s guilt. Of course, the “within reason” thing is a bit of a slippery slope. As is the underlying matter of the possibility the perp could be innocent.
That point could be argued back and forth all day.
However, there’s no argument that “Pop” (Len Cariou) has one heck of a point when it comes to New York being a safer place when the police had more of a “free hand.” As we saw in the months after the NYPD’s “Stop-and-Frisk” program was ruled unconstitutional.
Were the “good ol’ days” always that great? No. But they were better than a world where police are literally being ambushed and targeted for execution, like they are today. I don’t know that Bunny Ears are going to stop that. But a free hand might do some good.