Blue Bloods is a drama with a dedicated Friday night following, as attested by the police family saga dominating in rating shares. After several weeks of revisiting past episodes, the series packed an emotional punch with “Open Secrets” (Season 4 Episode 15) this week. When a young girl, Jenna Wallace, is taken into a white car after school, memories come flooding back for Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) of another case, and another girl, Allie, whom he never brought back home. Frank (Tom Selleck) is taking on IG Kelly (Bebe Neuwirth) again over an elite, semisecret policing force abroad known as the ILP, and Nicky (Sami Gayle) is asking herself if she’s ready for sexual intimacy. Themes of protection permeate on many levels!
Danny and Maria (Marisa Ramirez) are called to the case of Jenna Wallace (Gabriella Palminteri) , who has just been seen being forced into a white car. Her mother and stepfather seem understandably distraught, but perhaps Mr. Wallace (Quincy Dunn-Baker) seems not distraught enough. In court, a case involving Mrs. Del Rio and the death of a man comes down to the testimony of an “expert,” Dr. Haskins (Greg Germann), who is sure of his findings, despite only a 12 minute review of her file. Even though he might give a win for the prosecution, Erin (Bridget Moynahan) questions his cursory behavior and credentials, after Del Rio’s attorney declines a manslaughter plea. Frank his mum, even to Garrett (Gregory Jbara) about the IPL program in the face of an incident in London where protocol was followed by one of his officers investigating for evidence. Memories come flooding back for Danny of Allie, a girl abducted seven years ago, and her faithful father, perfectly portrayed by Patrick Breen, who refuses to give up hope, and does all he can to help Danny bring this case to a better end, pleading, “Don’t give up on her.” Danny is giving Jenna’s parents too much hard truth, leaving them little hope, despite Maria’s intervention . Nicky has been studying more anatomy and passionate kissing than anything found in her books, but mom tries to contain her concern, even inviting Ben (Jimmy Brewer) to dinner, after a nudge. Stacy (Daisy Tahan) comes to the station to find out about her friend, and tells Danny that Jenna’s stepdad was tough to deal with, “always mad at her,” which is why she rushed back to get her art project the day she was taken. Danny digs deep on Mr. Wallace, and questions him , not only about the difficulty of step-parenting, but also about getting brutal with his first wife over having kids. The stepdad sticks true to his innocence. Erin has other doctors review the files, and they disagree entirely with Haskins, so she recommends institutionalization over prison, even convincing her boss to sign off, because the right thing “means more than winning.” Frank defends the overseas surveillance to Kelly, who worries that it’s too much akin to tapping Angela Merkel’s cell phone in the current climate. He orders Garrett to stand with a firm but polite “no comment.” Joseph Scott brings all his files from his daughter’s case in to assist Danny and Maria. He reminds Danny that he always gave him hope, and now he needs to “do the same for them.” When Maria and Danny come to Mrs. Galecki, the custodian (Jayne Houdyshell), who was the last to see Jenna at school that day, she seems warm and caring, saying that Jenna only “grabbed her project” and was gone. She offers Maria a ribbon rose that she makes for craft shows.
Nicky confides to mom that Ben is more than “just” a friend, but she is not sure completely that she is ready for sexual intimacy. Erin is not shy about saying that she wishes her daughter would wait until she is more sure, but still assures that she is there for her, anytime. The scene is one of those reasons that keep viewers coming back-conveying authenticity and sensitivity in perfect measure. Danny’s protective nature kicks in to high gear with his boy, who gets his stayover after a ballgame taken away, dad escorting instead. Frank takes Kelly on a “walk and talk for your ears only” while he describes some of the instances where secret surveillance has been life-saving, especially important for the world’s target city. She reminds him that too much secrecy can lead to people asking “What the hell are they hiding?”
Maria sees a flower just like the one she was given by Mrs. Galecki in the box of Allie’s photos and files, and they realize the custodian is their key. A home visit makes the kind lady most uncomfortable, and when Danny pounds on a basement door, a cry for help comes back. Breaking the door going breakneck down the stairs, he sees Mr. Galecki holding Jenna. After he restrains her captors, Jenna looks with pleading eyes at Danny, saying “Detective Reagan…” with more to say. Frank convinces Kelly to nominate herself as the person to oversee a once-a-month monitoring board to keep check on the policing done abroad, as much of a win-win as the two can get. When he asks if she would really put him in jail, she replies “I would, but with a heavy heart.”
Danny returns Jenna to her waiting parents, and reassures Joseph that his records led to her safety. He then tells him that someone else wants to meet him, and the father runs to his now tween young woman of a daughter (Leanne Agmon), who cries “Daddy, Daddy” as they embrace. He tearfully looks to Danny, asking, “Did he….?” Danny responds that she said “he never touched her.” Danny walks away with his own satisfied tears. These kind of sobs do not seem the least bit manipulative, and the feeling of this last scene is as satisfying as any in Blue Bloods four seasons. Real always comes across.