Sunday, January 19, 2014

TV Drama BLUE BLOODS Deals With Combat-Induced PTSD

Fans of the CBS drama “Blue Bloods” know that New York police detective Danny Reagan (actor Donnie Wahlberg) has previously served two tours as a Marine in Iraq. Now these fans know that Danny has not escaped being mentally scarred by his two tours.

The episode “Unfinished Business” — written by Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green — that first aired January 17, 2014, deals with an Army corporal who has served three tours in Afghanistan. The corporal has beaten up his wife and kidnapped his eight-year-old son because of PTSD problems four months after returning from the corporal's most recent tour.

(There is a very brief mention that the corporal is seeing a private therapist. The implication for those who know about the military is that the corporal is afraid to see a military therapist because this would go on his service record.)

While the episode has many compelling scenes, one such scene is when Danny talks to the major about how soldiers sign off that they are fine after a tour. Danny says he signed off on such a form also, but he implies that this does not mean it is the truth.

While I will not give away the ending of the episode, I will share here the public service message narrated by actor Tom Selleck that followed the episode:
The characters and incidents in tonight's episode are fictional and do not represent the vast majority of [v]eterans.

However, PTSD and other challenges faced by some of our returning [v]eterans are all too real.

If you're a [v]eteran experiencing PTSD, please visit the National Center for PTSD.

And if you'd like to support our veterans, please visit the Wounded Warrior Project or the Bob Woodruff Foundation.

CBS Cares
This is not the first time “Blue Bloods” has dealt with PTSD symptoms although it is the most extensive episode.

One episode dealt with younger brother and police officer Jamie Reagan seeing a therapist to hopefully head off PTSD symptoms after Jamie shot and killed someone. Click here to read my blog post about this episode.

And another “Blue Bloods” episode dealt with non-combat-induced PTSD. Click here to read my blog post about that episode.

P.S. Although there are innovative strategies being developed and used to treat PTSD, there is a long way to go. For more information, see


Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her book-related posts at

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