Tom Selleck is Blue Bloods' Only Asset

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Hollywood’s best-known moustache and its owner have scored a part in new NYPD procedural, Blue Bloods (Tuesday, 10.30pm on Sky Atlantic). The Reagans are a New York cop family and Tom Selleck (aided by his trusty face fur) plays its widowed, police commissioner patriarch, Frank.

One of his sons, we learn, died on duty and his remaining two are also in law enforcement. Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) has been in the job for years while Jamie Reagan (Will Estes) is a nervous, idealistic and overqualified rookie (he has a Harvard law degree). The Reagan boys also have a sister, Erin (Bridget Moynahan), a fiery assistant district attorney. She puts away perps but doesn’t hesitate to scold Danny when he disregards the law for what he decides is the greater good.

This new cop show is a big deal for the Magnum, PI star and his British admirers. Selleck dropped off our radar in the late 90s after he played Richard Burke, Monica’s over-aged boyfriend in Friends, though had a year-long cameo as billionaire casino owner, A.J. Cooper in Las Vegas before the show cashed out prematurely.

In Blue Bloods, Selleck reminds us why he deserves big parts in chunky shows. He’s the only cast member whose performance isn’t a huge embarrassment. Somehow Selleck walks away untarnished by the horrible script and cliché cascade that dominate the pilot episode. Even Donnie Wallberg is dismal. But his screen dad’s measured, confident performance helps airbrush out the cracks.

Sadly, Selleck doesn’t get do much on the show. Along with his own father Henry (a retired cop, naturally), Reagan jnr/snr presides over his brood and watches their backs. He’s not central to the main plot, which sees Danny search for a kidnapped little girl. At best it’s an adequate storyline but you’ll have seen similar and better on any number of the CSI (insert city here) episodes. The family scenes, meanwhile, are actively painful: from the alliances and banter to the scuffles and hushed sorrow. Their chemistry is all off.

Blue Bloods’ old boy Selleck is its only asset, but we reckon even he won’t be able to save the show from the critics’ knives and CBS's axe.