“Blue Bloods” fans should be especially savoring Friday nights with the Reagan’s, since only a few episodes remain until Season 6 closes, and this week’s April 15 20th episode, “Down the Rabbit Hole” has its share of freaky and frightening moments, but ultimately, a very satisfying close in the chase of serial killer Thomas Wilder (Louis Cancelmi). It also gives a cast favorite a chance to stretch some acting wings, and conveys a worthy message of healing regarding the place of fathers in any life.
The story opens with Commissioner Reagan (Tom Selleck) and his staff at a meeting regarding the unveiling of a statue honoring the Irish heritage of serving on the New York City police force. Frank is moved by the occasion, and offers his full support, but soon more pressing matters consume everyone’s attention. A “body dump” near the bay in Nassau County is tied to serial killer, Thomas Wilder, sending Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) , and new behavioral analyst, Adam Parker, superbly characterized by Juilliard-schooled actor, Michael Beach, on the prowl. As always, Detective Reagan is loathe to accept any outside assistance, but he cools to at least professional respect. No one yet realizes how personal things will become. Jamie and Eddie (Will Estes and Vanessa Ray) are called to a volatile scene of a wronged man with a machete, and while he is in manic mode, Jamie keeps him talking, while Eddie takes him down with her baton, girl power on display. When it comes to Wilder, and with the count up to nine bodies so far, Danny doesn’t pay much attention to Nassau County jurisdiction, so he relents, letting Parker stay. Officer Phillips (Derek Klena) comes up to commend the police technique of Jamie and Eddie, throwing in “You’re Nicky’s uncle, aren’t you?” and getting a probing, “You and Nicky are..?” with no verbal response, but a look that said everything.
Frank demands full coordination with his office on the Wilder case. Danny takes to taunting at the behavioral analyst, relating how he’s been in pursuit since 22 victims have amassed all over New York. Nonetheless, Parker suggests that he can bring something meaningful to the case. After the meeting over the statue, Liam Farrelly (Charles Mesure) relates to Erin (Bridget Moynahan) how his father was killed in New York decades back, per his mother’s account, and that he would like to know more about the killer and the case. Erin agrees to find answers and closure for him. Anthony (Steve Schirripa) comes up with surprising news, that the Farrelly father (Cullen Johnson) was actually a gangster,who survived and is serving time in prison. He defends to Erin that there are worse things than having a gangster father, after all, he had one, so that shouldn’t stall any restart to the relationship. That evening, Phillips tells Nicky that “I told him about us,” referring to Jamie, and Nicky warns that her family is “overprotective.” What a virtue that proves to be. Parker believes that Wilder is in an “escalation phase,” relating to his relationship with his mother and her killing. Danny refers to efforts he made to get to Wilder through his mother. When Danny gets a call from Wilder, his tone is even more calmly ominous, making his deadly “kind offensive” to a woman and her pet Pomeranian in the Park. Parker insists that every call brings Wilder closer to being caught, and that Danny should “let him please you,” since he clearly wants to do so.
Eddie recounts her own young dating past, and encourages Jamie to ease uo on Nicky. A new victim is found, Gabriella Morretti. Frank threatens that he will cancel joint investigation between departments, asserting “the minute we have him, I’ll shoot you an e-mail,” beyond frustrated by their love of procedure, and lack of hands-on police work. When the younger Farrelly hears the truth about his dad being part of the Irish mob, he declines to have a meeting. Danny gets word of a message sent by Wilder two local newsroom that Danny is not a good detective. Against advice, he engages with his own messages to Wilder in reply. Over the family dinner, subjects of serial killers and Nicky seeing a cop are preeminent subjects. Nicky gives her granddad a nod for not passing judgment. Danny taunts Wilder in messages, referring to him as “a mama’s boy” and threatening that “you mess with my family, I’ll mess with yours.” The elder Farrelly want so desperately to see his son that he has sought a court order to come to Erin’s office for a face-to-face. Erin nudges the son into the room, with a bit of help from Anthony, and they watch them hug at the end. Upon receipt of a “family threat” from Wilder, Danny dashes home, moving faster than he’s ever moved, and finds Linda (Amy Carlson) and his teenage boys safe, but then almost instantly realizes that “it’s Nicky!” He races off. He finds newspaper clues and will Nicky’s clothes in the University laundry room, but now Nicky, and no Wilder to be seen. Cameras capture that Wilder drew no attention because he is dressed in a police uniform. Frank is agonizing, knowing that he can’t be “in the trenches,” and hating the helplessness. Calls come from Nicky phone, as alerts on her capture are posted across all media. Danny hears her cries and pain in being bound by this madman. The deals long enough to work out a meeting place in for open spaces. Nicky is found in the trunk of a vehicle, which Wilder abandoned five or 10 minutes earlier. She melts into her desperately grateful mother’s arms. This performance was a triumph for Sami Gayle. In a standoff with Wilder, Danny is determined not to fall for the “suicide by cop” card being threatened by the killer, while he eerily reminds the detective that “I’ll be with you forever.” Wilder has both hands behind his back, Danny not knowing if both or either hold a weapon, so he fires at first arm move, finally bringing the mass murderer down. Erin inquires “Self defense?” of her exhausted brother. “Justified,” he answers.
At the statue dedication, Frank remarks that police work on the beat and in the community “can only be accomplished with the support of family,” and praising that the beat cop is “the heart of every city.” For the central Reagan family of “Blue Bloods,” this particular reflection on those words rings with gratitude.