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The Thin Blue Line
Credit: David M. Russell/CBS

WARNING: The following contains spoilers from the season finale of Blue Bloods! Read at your own risk!

In the season 7 finale of Blue Bloods, “The Thin Blue Line,” Danny is targeted by a drug cartel out for revenge after he confiscates millions of dollars, Frank grapples with the retirement of Mayor Poole (Arrow’s David Ramsey), and Jamie — following his instincts, and acting on his own — looks into a serial killer attacking the elderly. Here to shed light on the season ender is executive producer Kevin Wade:

Here to shed light on the season ender is executive producer Kevin Wade.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was your aim going into this season finale?
KEVIN WADE: A bigger scope of story, and while we don’t have a sort of serial storytelling and arcs where at the end of the season you’re wrapping up a bunch of plots or stories that the audience has been following for the season, we try to give our characters something significant that they have to face up to, whether it’s a change in their life or, in Frank’s case, it’s basically losing the guy who’s been his main colleague in running the city for six of the seven years that we’ve been on. Mayor Poole eventually breaks under the pressure of that senseless violence or impenetrable evil that a police officer comes up against a few times a week — finally it just gets to him. I think it’s about Frank also taking the measure of how much longer can he do this. We’ve visited that a lot in this season in different ways, so this was another way of looking at it. With Danny, it becomes about his character getting a comeuppance for all the times that he stepped out of bounds or crossed lines, which he does in going after this cartel’s money, and what comes back at him is the loss of his house and all his personal belongings and obviously a mortal danger to his very own family.

Danny struggles with the consequences of his actions, but his family is really there for him. Can you speak to how they’re supporting him during this tough time?
I think the main thing is that, yes, they are his [family] and support him because that’s what they do. Something like that is sort of like if you get a bad haircut — I gotta say your hair looks great because there’s nothing you can do about the bad haircut. I think that when something terrible happens to somebody, even if they could be said to have had a hand in their own misfortune, you don’t really bring that up if you love the person. That being said, for Danny it’s like he doesn’t believe it. He’s got enough self-incrimination in this that their sympathy bounces off of him more or less, right through the very end of the last scene — and him not even being able to say grace without faltering and going silent and they pick it up for him.

What does Mayor Poole’s retirement mean for Frank?
For Frank, watching that guy go by the wayside and succumb to the pressure I think makes him take another look in the mirror and either go, “Do I still have it in me?” or, “If I do still have it in me, what’s wrong with me that I can still do this? There must be something wrong with me,” which is, I think, always useful to visit for characters because you can’t have characters patting themselves on the back. Nobody’s going to relate to that — they’re not going to want to watch it — but if they’re going, “What’s wrong with me?” well, everybody does that every day. So, I think that is what he faces up to. Then, in the next season we will introduce a very different mayor, very different from David’s character, but also very different from Frank.

According to the real New York City Charter, if the mayor is incapacitated or resigns, it’s the public advocate who fills in for them, which is a pretty unknown position, by and large, usually filled by a lawyer and usually filled by someone with some sense of noblesse oblige about it. So, we’re looking at bringing somebody from an entirely different educational and economic background who sort of finds his or herself sitting in the mayor’s office in city hall in New York City not really having ever thought about being there.

Which would be interesting for Frank because he’d be collaborating with, as you said, somebody very unlike the predecessor.
Yes, and somebody who is not a professional politician or community activist, which Mayor Poole was both of those things. If it’s somebody who’d need to actually rely on Frank, just for some of the nuts and bolts, it might make for some fireworks.

Turning to Jamie, how did the story about going after a serial killer targeting the elderly come about, and why was that something you were interested in for this episode?
Well, Ian Biederman — who wrote the episode, who’s a wonderful writer — and [I] often talk. Especially because it was the season finale, we talked for a couple of months at least beforehand. One of the things when we first started talking about it was that absolutely horrible Facebook stream of those kids in Chicago torturing that challenged kid and we just sort of were going, what is that and what do you do about it? You can’t prevent it. You can’t profile it. It’s just something horrible that happens, and we thought, well maybe that’s the lynchpin for two of the stories. That’s for Jamie to step up, taking another full step into a detective’s shoes and more or less solving the thing through his instincts. Also, that becomes the straw that breaks Mayor Poole’s back, so we were just looking at that sort of just terrible thing that happens every day. It’s usually buried on page five and gets a couple of column inches, but if you were around it in your life you would perhaps lose a lot of faith in the world.

Looking ahead to season 8, what can we expect?
I’ll start with Frank. Because we will have a new mayor and be introducing a new, main character, we will play probably more episodes, more stories for him based on the scope and the toll of managing a city that’s almost nine million people now and spread over every ethnicity, every economic status, everything. I think because it’s a new mayor who won’t be a professional politician, he will perhaps be working more hand-in-hand in a political and community relations sense than he did in previous seasons. Not that I have these mapped out. The strike is only over for about nine or 10 hours, so that’ll be, I think, the main thrust for him — at least as we step off. For Jamie and Eddie, I think it will be either detectives or perhaps an undercover operation that we play out over a number of episodes, kind of a long sting. For Donnie, I think it’s going to be dealing with some family issues coming off of them basically losing everything and possibly something that I won’t go into now, but that may be a surprise at the beginning of season 8.

[Editor’s Note: Wade hopped on the phone on Tuesday, just after writers agreed to a new contract and thus avoided a strike.]

You mentioned the potential strike. How are you feeling now that it’s been avoided?
I was very relieved. I just sent an email to Michael Winship and Lowell Peterson congratulating them because it was very clear that the issues, the things we were asking for were not…luxury items. They were [things] that the union really needed and had earned. I haven’t seen the details yet, but the sort of top of the waves view of this was that they’d gotten a lot of what they’d asked for. Most of all, I think that for the six or seven of us who work at Blue Bloods and are Writers Guild members, all of us wanted to avoid having to say to the other 160 people who we’d be putting out of work, “Well, we had to do this.” So, that’s really a great relief to me and frankly, just to know that we’re going to be able to go back on schedule and do another season. It feels, certainly, like a win-win for everybody.