Friday night’s episode of CBS’s Blue Bloods, “Love Lost,” took a turn for the worse in promoting assisted suicide, but also showed the true dedication officers have for everyone in their communities, regardless of race.
The episode opens with an investigation into the death of Emily Copeland, which first appears to be a homicide. However, we find out by the show’s end that she actually had terminal pancreatic cancer and asked her husband to help her commit suicide to avoid the pain and suffering of the disease. Detective Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg) visits Mr. Copeland in jail to talk about what really happened.
Danny: How you doing, Mr. Copeland?
Mr. Copeland: My lawyer advised me...
Danny: Not to speak to anyone. He's right. So, I'll talk, and you listen, okay? Toxicology report came back yesterday. They found secobarbital in your wife's system. The M.E. Said that secobarbital is used to treat insomnia, or as a sedative before surgery.
Mr. Copeland: So?
Danny: So, I found the bottle of secobarbital in your medicine cabinet. Interesting. You know, it's... Prescribed by a doctor in Vermont. I thought to myself, why would a couple from New York go all the way to Vermont to get a prescription? Couldn't figure it out, so I called the doctor myself. He told me that secobarbital is also used in physician-assisted suicide, which is legal in Vermont, but, unfortunately, it's not legal in New York.
Mr. Copeland: I can't do this.
Danny: He also told me you called him the day your wife was murdered. She wanted to die on her own terms. She didn't want to drag it out. And the doc agreed. But when she took it, it didn't work.
Mr. Copeland: I called the doctor, panicked. He apologized, said that it's an inexact science, that he didn't prescribe the right amount. And then Emily turned to me, and she knew the drug would knock her out. But...
Danny: It wouldn't be enough to kill her. So she asked you to smother her while she was unconscious, right?
Mr. Copeland: I didn't want to. I really didn't want to, but I didn't want to see her in any more pain. I did what she asked. I loved her. She let go so peacefully, just the way she wanted. And I don't care what happens to me. I have no regrets.
Danny: Nor should you.
“Nor should you” have any regrets? “Unfortunately,” it’s illegal? Obviously, we know where the show stands on the issue of assisted suicide now. Otherwise known as murder in most states, and in the hearts of those who value life.
As I stated in a previous article this week, my son’s best friend committed suicide a little over a week ago. He was only 21. What kind of message do shows like this send to vulnerable people like him who are contemplating suicide?
That it’s okay as long as it’s to avoid pain and suffering? To most who commit suicide, the mental pain and suffering is immense. Are we telling those who carry the weight of that suffering that suicide is the answer?
Assisted suicide may seem loving to some, and Mr. Copeland is portrayed as brave for smothering his wife with a pillow as she slept (really?!), but in reality, it’s a very disturbing act that is fortunately illegal in most states.
Not only do scenes like this (designed to tug at the heart strings and indoctrinate viewers into supporting assisted suicide) contradict the efforts of suicide awareness groups and send the wrong message to those contemplating suicide, it’s also a slippery slope that can lead to very dangerous consequences.
The show also avoided mentioning basic truths about assisted suicide, including the fact that, thanks to advancements in medicine, compassionate palliative care is available as a life-affirming alternative.
While Blue Bloods failed to cover the issue of assisted suicide with truth, facts and concern for life, they did manage to send a very positive message regarding police-race relations with the public. Main character Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) is confronted in public by angry, grieving black mother, Shelly Wayne, whose son was murdered in East New York.
Wayne: Commissioner Reagan. May I have a word with you?
Garrett: Now's not a good time.
Wayne: No time like the present.
Garrett: Uh, unless it's now. The commissioner is late for his next appointment, sorry.
Wayne: No, I'm sorry, but my son was killed in your streets! This can't be the first time you're hearing this. His name was Charles Wayne, and he was just 16 and he's not just a statistic to me.
Commissioner Reagan: Or to me.
Garrett: Ms. Wayne, I'm happy to arrange a meeting for you to discuss your issues with the commissioner.
Wayne: When hell freezes over.
Reagan: All right, hold on just a second, Garrett. Why don't you just give me your information?
Wayne: My innocent boy was killed on your streets in cold blood. That's my information.
Reagan: I'm sorry.
Wayne: Sorry doesn't cut it.
Reagan: I know that. We'll look into it first thing.
Wayne: (If) He was some rich kid on the Upper East Side, you'd have already looked into it. Would've man-hunted the killer down.
Garrett: Let's go, Frank.
Wayne: My son was murdered, and I'm being removed because the commissioner wants to shut me up?! Well, I'm not gonna shut up! You hear me?! He's never gonna shut me up!
The scene was reminiscent of today’s Black Lives Matter activists who are openly hostile to most police officers and argue that the majority are racist and don’t care. We later find out that Ms. Wayne has a reputation for causing such scenes and is the founder of a group called Mothers United to Fight Violence. The group is comprised of other East New York (which another detective refers to as the “murder capital of New York") mothers who lost their children to violence.
But it turns out, Wayne’s son wasn’t just an “innocent victim” as she thought. Commissioner Reagan discovers that the boy was killed in a drive-by shooting by a gang member from “Double Treys” while he himself was being initiated into the gang “Warrior Kings.”
Reagan tries to speak to Ms. Wayne to let her know that he looked into her son’s murder. But despite her repeated attacks on him, he can’t bring himself to tell her the truth about her son's involvement in a gang. He tells her he doesn’t know why her son was targeted.
Wayne still hurls accusations at Reagan, despite his attempts to show compassion, arguing, “They may be numbers to you, but they're all people to me.” Reagan replies, “Nobody’s just a number.”
But she still believes racism is involved and continues, “A black teenager in East New York?”
Reagan answers, “I know his name, who he was, who his mother is, so please stop.”
Wayne just hasn’t had enough, however, and continues to bash Reagan.
Wayne: You have no idea what it's like to lose a child. You throw your weight around and you get someone to name who killed my boy and now you get to go back to your office and feel good about yourself?
Reagan: Nothing about this makes me feel good.
Wayne: When Charles was killed I started a group.
Reagan: I'm aware.
Wayne: We have 55 members so far. All mothers who have lost their children to violence. We have vigils and marches and rallies, and guess who's never there at any of these events. Your cops.
Despite the repeated attacks on his character, Commissioner Reagan is bound and determined to prove to Ms. Wayne that her view of him and other officers is wrong and, in an ultimate act of compassion, he attends the next Mothers United to Fight Violence event.
This appears to finally make Ms. Wayne realize that the police are on her side as she stops her speech in stunned silence when Reagan walks quietly into the room and takes a seat. And she actually smiles at Reagan as she continues with her speech.
Blue Bloods displayed perfectly the hard work, dedication, unity, patience and compassion that most officers show to the communities they protect, even in the face of hate and aggression. Yes, there are may be a few who abuse their power. But they thankfully are a small minority and are appropriately dealt with in most cases.
In the end, black and blue lives matter. And Blue Bloods proved that beautifully.