LOS ANGELES – Despite being Friday night's most-watched program, "Blue Bloods," which averages 13.69 million viewers, doesn't get the ink from the critics that other shows do, and series star Tom Selleck, who plays Police Commissioner Frank Reagan, doesn't understand the reason.
"The work on the show is superb," Selleck tells FOX411.com. "It is truly an adult drama. I have no idea why. I think that kind of perception is fostered by people who haven't really seen it. I say that we are as good as any dramatic show on television."
This Friday, March 13, "Blue Bloods" airs an episode that Selleck feels is especially good, so much so that he decided to publicize it. In it, Frank helps a woman whose life he saved when she was only 6 years old meet the man who killed her father, mother and brother through a prison program called Restorative Justice. Frank has been very protective of Sarah (Amelia Rose Blaire) ever since they met, and he is about to walk her down the aisle when she receives a letter from the murderer.
Selleck, himself the father of 26-year-old daughter, Hannah, says that fact makes the storyline more poignant for him.
"It was the most disturbing crime scene Frank had ever witnessed, and he couldn't do anything about it… It's a big frustration for cops."
In the "Bad Company" episode, it appears that Frank doesn't have a fondness for programs such as Restorative Justice, where criminals have the opportunity to seek forgiveness from their victims with face-to-face meetings. But it is not something that his character can voice out loud because of his position as the police commissioner.
In real life, Selleck says there are often times when what he and Frank believe are not the same, and without saying whether or not this is one of those times, he does offer that he thinks "it would be wrong artistically and ethically to basically foist whatever my personal opinions are -- and they vary -- [on the character]. I don't think that is my role."
The "Bad Company" episode has a second storyline that deals with human trafficking, a subject much now in the news. When a 911 call comes in from a young woman who has just entered the country from Serbia, Eddie (Vanessa Ray), as one of the few Serbian-speaking women cops on the force, goes on her first undercover operation to investigate a sex-slave ring targeting young women via fake youth hostel websites.
"Trafficking is more prevalent than people realize," Selleck said. "It is stunning and shocking that human beings have evolved to this. It is an important story."
With a memorable confrontation scene between Sarah and the man who killed her family, "Bad Company" joins the list of unforgettable episodes for Selleck. But the one that still stands out in his mind, of the almost 100 episodes filmed, is "The Job."
"I still remember vividly we were the first show that ever shot at the 9/11 Memorial," he says. "I thought, 'I am not going to have to work too hard this week.' It was so powerful. It certainly was for Frank Reagan, who was in one of the towers when the other one started coming down. I've got to say that the reality of the memorial was so stunning -- we saw it at night -- it was so stunning that the work was actually quite difficult, because it was so real… I had to conjure up every technique I had to perform what Frank was doing personally and for everybody there."
"Blue Bloods" airs Friday nights at 10 p.m. on CBS.