Blue Bloods fans with long memories were in for a shocker on Friday night when Broadway legend Kelli O'Hara made her first appearance on the show in over a decade. O'Hara starred as Lisa Farragaut, a close friend of Bridget Moynahan's A.D.A. Erin Reagan. This was the same role she played way back in the Season 2 premiere, which aired in September 2011. While "Mercy" focused on Lisa's personal life, this week's episode, titled "Reality Check," saw Lisa trying to inspire Erin to question the sacrifices she made in her own personal life to succeed with her career.
During the October episode "Times Like These," Det. Anthony Abetemarco (Steven Schirripa) created a campaign bumper sticker "Elect Erin Reagan for Manhattan District Attorney." The other Reagans believed Erin should run for office, but in "Protective Instincts," Frank (Tom Selleck) thought he might be ruining her chances because people wouldn't want one family leading two major branches of New York's law enforcement. Frank even thought about taking a job at the NFL, but Erin told him she couldn't be the reason he leaves the NYPD. Erin still hadn't made her own decision on whether or not to run.
At the beginning of "Reality Check," though we learned that Erin has decided not to run after all. Lisa, who is now a bigshot political campaign manager, thought that was a bad idea. So Erin decided to listen to her pitch anyway. Lisa said if she did really want to run, Erin's private life would be under a microscope, and Lisa offered to protect her.
Erin agreed to have more meetings with Lisa, so they later met at Erin's home. Once there, Lisa said she was surprised by Erin's impeccable resume. The only problem was that Erin's personal life was almost nonexistent. She isn't dating anyone and only rarely sees her ex-husband. (Lisa weirdly didn't ask about Erin's relationship with her daughter Nicky once!) When Lisa asked who her best friend was, Erin said Anthony. Then, Erin had to admit that she never has dinner or drinks with anyone outside of work and her family. None of this looks good. "Career alone will not win you a major office these days," Lisa reminded her. People want to vote for someone they like, so who is Erin Reagan really?
That question turned out to be a tough one for even Erin to answer. She later had lunch with Mike (Alexis Cruz), another friend from her law school past who could remind her that she always put her career first. Then, she asked Anthony if he really likes her as a person or just because they work together. Anthony's answers didn't really lift her spirits because he admitted they probably wouldn't be together if they weren't paid to work together. Erin then realized she thought she had made a mistake with her decisions. These thoughts led Erin to wonder why the family always talks about work, even during the Reagan family dinners. Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) called her a "buzzkill," and they called her own for being indecisive about running for D.A.
Later in the episode, Erin met with Lisa again for dinner. Lisa suggested Erin might not be ready to run for D.A. if her asking just a few personal questions throws her for a loop. "If you want to win, you have to be the whole package.. and have your head on straight," Lisa said. "Though I think you can, absolutely, just not right now." Erin wondered if she would be forever judged because she couldn't juggle having a career and a personal life, but Lisa reminded her that being thought is part of running for office. "You want to know my reality? I worked my ass off to get here!" a frustrated Erin said. She felt every sacrifice she ever made, but Lisa thought those were hard for the public to understand unless she got better at communicating them. "Maybe I'm too old school. In my family, we don't talk about hard work; we just do it," Erin said. Unfortunately for Erin, the old school doesn't win elections any longer, as Lisa pointed out. Lisa gave Erin back her retainer and left a shocked Erin alone at the table.
The episode ended with Anthony showing up at Erin's door to invite her out for a drink. He tried to cheer her up, telling her that the city deserves a D.A. who is totally dedicated to their job. He told her to make her own decision about running and not let a political consultant decide for her. She's the only one who really knows when she's ready to tun. (Hopefully, that's soon because Erin really needs something new to shake up her stories on the show.)
Elsewhere in "Reality Check," Danny teamed up with Anthony after Anthony's cousin Joey (Anthony DeSando) finds himself in trouble with a gang linked to a double homicide. Jamie (Will Estes) tries to help Jamie (Vanessa Ray) fix her relationship with her new partner Badillo (Ian Quinlan), and Frank agrees to go on a podcast with a critical former police officer against Garrett's (Gregory Jbara) advice. New episodes of Blue Bloods air on CBS at 10 p.m. ET Fridays.