‘Blue Bloods’ Season 12 Premiere: Frank vs. Mayor Chase, Plus a Change for Danny (RECAP)

Donnie Wahlberg as Danny in Blue Bloods
Spoiler Alert
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[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Blue Bloods Season 12 premiere “Hate Is Hate.”]

Tensions are running so high between Commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) and Mayor Peter Chase (Dylan Walsh) in Blue Bloods Season 12 that we don’t see how this will end well — and it’s only the premiere!

In “Hate Is Hate,” two Reagans — Frank and his detective son Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) — are part of investigations of tough shootings involving kids. Frank must answer to the press while combatting Chase’s responses (if he can!) while Danny and his partner, Detective Maria Baez (Marisa Ramirez), try to find who’s responsible for killing a five-year-old at a neighborhood gathering.

The season doesn’t get off to an easier start for Frank’s daughter Erin (Bridget Moynahan), who reopens a case in which her boss, D.A. Kimberly Crawford (Rosyln Ruff), was the primary witness when she was a teen, or his other son Jamie (Will Estes), who tries to go to bat for one of his officers only to run into problems with higher-ups (and IAB).

Well, there’s plenty to debate around the dinner table and they can always sing away their frustrations!

1PP vs. the Mayor’s Office

When someone shoots into a bus, killing one kid and seriously injuring another, Frank and Chase hold a press conference — and aren’t on the same page in their answers. Frank even says he’s doing everything he can with his hands tied behind his back, with a pointed look at the other man.

Tom Selleck as Frank in Blue Bloods

John Paul Filo/CBS

After, Frank blames Chase for the cuts he’s made, including in the field and in the NYPD’s budget, but the mayor is more focused on not scaring away tourists with rants about crime and more guns. He needs people to feel safe (even if they’re not) because he needs the city to get back on its feet. Frank strongly disagrees.

The shooter is identified off an anonymous tip and bumper sticker, and the mayor schedules a press conference to announce his arrest … solo. Uh-oh. It’s “like learning you’re getting divorced from a scheduling update,” Abigail Baker (Abigail Hawk) says as Frank’s inner circle checks on him when he’s still in his office late at night.

The two men meet again, in Chase’s office. The mayor promised a bigger police presence, but Frank notes that’s tough to make happen with less police and less money. Chase refuses to discuss rolling back policies with him. Instead, he turns the conversation to an arrest made in the other shooting. Frank refuses to attend and pretend Chase’s policies are working when they’re not. As the mayor sees it, some are working well and his wanting to grow back their economy isn’t causing the crime wave. The only thing they can agree on is that NYPD is Frank’s department. Uh-oh.

Tom Selleck as Frank, Dylan Walsh as Mayor Chase in Blue Bloods

John Paul Filo/CBS

A Case That Shouldn’t Have Been Opened

Thinking she’s going to help Kimberly get some closure, Erin digs into the homicide her boss witnessed as a teen (since there’s no statute of limitation on murder). Kimberly is reluctant but does tell Erin and Anthony (Steven Schirripa) what she saw. Reggie and Sandra were arguing down the street when she pulled out a gun and shot him in the chest. She claims she was scared to come forward and Reggie had ties to gangs.

However, the more Erin and Anthony look into it, the more it becomes clear that there’s a reason Kimberly didn’t come forward that had nothing to do with any potential gang ties: She was best friends with Sandra’s alibi, her daughter, Leticia. Rumors suggested Reggie was abusive. When they bring Sandra in for questioning (with Leticia representing her), she doesn’t have much to say, but she does leave her prints on a glass. Those match the ones on the murder weapon.

Kimberly didn’t come forward because Sandra was a single mom; her best friend would’ve ended up in the system. “Not everything is black and white,” she says. “Even at 13, I knew that if I testified, who would believe the word of a child? It wouldn’t have been enough.” She’s embarrassed she didn’t do anything but she doesn’t regret her decision. She was protecting herself, her family, and her friend.

Roslyn Ruff as D.A. Kimberly Crawford in Blue Bloods

John Paul Filo/CBS

But now, Erin has no choice but to arrest Sandra for murder. “The next time you want to help me, please don’t,” Kimberly tells her.

Who Might Be Losing a Partner?

When Eddie (Vanessa Ray) and Witten (Lauren Patten) respond to a guy raging in a store after hearing the cost of cigarettes, they chase him down as he’s trying to run. But everyone standing around tells them to let him go. One even hits Witten from behind, and she pulls her gun. Jamie arrives on the scene and takes control of the situation.

But when they get back to the station, Witten is put under investigation by Internal Affairs for “menacing with her weapon for no reason,” based on a witness’ statement. Both Eddie and Jamie try to defend her, but it’s no use. Captain Espinosa (Luis Antonio Ramos) is leaving it up to IAB, even though Witten had been assaulted. The argument: Witten shows no physical injuries. The point is they can’t have a video of a cop holding a gun on unarmed bystanders, the captain tells Jamie and, when the sergeant protests he should be standing up for his cops, kicks him out of his office.

Eddie checks on her partner and assures her she didn’t do anything wrong and will be cleared. However, Witten seems to be changing her mind about her entire career now. After reading a magazine quiz, she’d tell her 18-year-old self “no police department.” She’s fine, Rachel assures Eddie, but after her partner leaves, she cries.

Lauren Patten as Witten, Vanessa Ray as Eddie in Blue Bloods

John Paul Filo/CBS

Jamie brings Espinosa video footage to exonerate Witten, but the captain doesn’t care. In fact, he threatens to write up the sergeant if he catches him even whispering about the case and assigns him to the DWI checkpoint, babysitting rookies.

When IAB questions Eddie, she comes to Witten’s defense as much as they let her, even questioning their apparent “presumed guilty until proven innocent” attitude. But as she later shares with her husband Jamie, she doesn’t even know if Witten wants to be a cop if she can return to full duty. And the problem with this job, he points out, is that you can’t do it if you don’t think you can.

Finding Joy

After a five-year-old is shot (and no one will talk), Danny brings his sock left at the scene to psychic Maggie (Callie Thorne) in hopes she can give him a lead. The father is the reason for the shooting and the key to the case, she determines, also sensing rage and jealousy. When Baez learns her partner went to see Maggie, she can’t help but ask if he was looking for help or “an excuse to see her.” Danny argues she’s helped in the past.

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Plus, stay tuned for another Halloween-set installment and the 250th episode and, by extension, the 250th Reagan clan Sunday dinner, in the spring.

And it turns out Maggie was right, only they don’t realize it until they figure out that she meant the kid’s biological father … who didn’t realize he killed his son. “I’m his father, not that guy,” he says. He was aiming for the man who was raising the boy.

Maggie’s also right when she calls Danny out on throwing himself into work and depriving himself of joy. When did he last go out to have fun, with a woman, not romantically, just as a friend to enjoy her company? He can’t remember, but he does admit that he knows he buries himself in his work. She knows about work that can take an emotional toll and invites him to join her at a nearby karaoke place. Maybe another time, he says, and he means it. The episode ends with the two of them at the bar, and he even gets up and sings the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up.”

Blue Bloods, Fridays, 10/9c, CBS