‘Blue Bloods’ Family Member’s Hidden Life Revealed in Season Finale

Blue Bloods saved the best for last with a pulse-pounding two-hour season finale on Friday night. The episodes, titled "The End" and "Justifies the Means," revealed where Joe Hill has been this entire time since he was last seen in December. We learned that Joe has really been working undercover this entire time, helping the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) take down a group of gunrunners. This story also left the entire Reagan family shaken, as they feared the same thing that happened to Joe's father would happen to him too.

The finale started with a family massacre, then Detectives Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg) and Maria Baez (Marisa Ramirez) discovering a seemingly unconnected body by the side of the road. The man's text messages revealed that he was about to make a gun buy, so Danny and Baez headed to that location, where it looked like two men were about to shoot someone. Once they went into the spot where the buy was scheduled, they found Joe (Will Hochman)! Danny's hesitance allowed Joe and Tyce Dickinson (Shannon Wallace) to flee. Meanwhile, A.D.A. Erin Reagan (Bridget Moynahan) and Anthony Abetamarco (Steven Schirripa) arrived at the scene of the family massacre, where Officer Eddie Janko (Vanessa Ray) was already working the scene. The deceased father wrote the name "Max" in blood on the floor.

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(Photo: John Paul Filo/CBS)

Everything turned out to be connected to the gun runners Joe was investigating for the ATF. It also turned out that Commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) and Sgt. Jamie Reagan (Will Estes) were in on this the whole time. Jamie even served as Joe's handler, but Frank and Jamie didn't tell anyone else in the family. This didn't quite make sense to Danny, Erin, and Eddie, since everyone thought Joe no longer wanted to work with the police when everyone in the NYPD found out he was a Reagan (as explained in "Atonement").

Frank explained that Joe told him a few weeks after he took some time off that he still wanted to do some law enforcement work. Frank and the ATF worked out a deal where Joe would track down the gun runners, but would never work within New York City's five boroughs. The ATF obviously wasn't sticking with this, and Joe had to go wherever the case took him. Of course, the Reagans know that Joe's father, Joe Reagan, was also killed while working undercover and none of them wanted that to happen again. Frank and Jamie relented eventually, agreeing to bring Danny in on the operation.

At first, it seemed like history repeated itself. Towards the end of the first half, the gunrunners and their assassin, Max (Shane Patrick Kearns), became suspicious that either Joe or Tyce was a cop. During a drive to a buy - with Danny and Jamie tracking them - Max tried to cut off all Joe's communication with the police. Jamie and Eddie finally found the car burned up, with a body inside. The body even had Joe's St. Jude pendant, so everyone thought it was Joe.

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(Photo: John Paul Filo/CBS)

Thankfully, as everyone quickly learned in the first few minutes of "Justifies The Means," the burned body was Max's, not Joe's. In the rest of the episode, Danny and Jamie attempted to convince Joe that this operation was getting too dangerous, but Joe insisted on going ahead. Danny and Jamie followed Joe and Shannon all across New England until they reached a point in New Hampshire where a major gun buy was set to take place. But once they got there, the gunrunners were there as well. By this point, Joe's cover was completely blown. The bag guys knew Joe was a good guy, and a firefight exploded. During the crossfire, Tyce was killed and Joe was struck. Thankfully, he survived and the police caught the gun runners.

The episode ended with a much lighter family dinner. Joe was even there, and he was presented with the St. Jude pendant. They added a chain so he couldn't lose it again. The other family members also had some fun teasing Joe for ditching them before. Joe apologized and it was clear that everyone let bygones be bygones. Pops (Len Cariou) told Joe that everyone was wondering if he was the black sheep of the family, because, as Erin explained, he made everyone worry by taking risks.

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"The thing is though, that quality goes for everyone at this table on a given day," Frank explained. "We're really a whole family of black sheep... but Joe is truly something special here. He is truly his father's son." Joe wondered if this was a good thing. "There is no better thing," Frank said as the curtain fell on Season 11.

Blue Bloods will be back for Season 12 in the fall. Past episodes can be streamed on Paramount+.

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