The characters of Blue Bloods need to be in peak shape at all times, in order to deal with the never-ending onslaught of crime that permeates New York City. The show tells the story from several different perspectives, designed to give audiences a broader overview of how law enforcement works, and the politics behind much of it.
Intelligence plays a vital role here, whether it's being street-savvy, or highly educated on the finer points of the law. Each character brings their keen intellect to the table in order to solve crimes, and - more importantly - make them stick. They do all this, while dodging the various landmines that come with being involved in New York law enforcement.
Thanks to the actions of her con artist father, Eddie was forced to grow up fast, and she took a lot of hard knocks along the way. She's made a ton of mistakes in her life, all of which led her to overcome and do better. Her success as an NYPD officer stems largely from her self-determination, work ethic, and street smarts.
Eddie started out very green, but after partnering with Jamie, she was influenced by the family's strong moral compass. She can identify situations quickly, come up with solutions, and spot the flaws in a case. She's done undercover work, she's had to deal with Internal Affairs investigations, and she's handled inter-policing strife with particular excellence. Her only downside is her tendency to let her anger fuel her actions, but she has learned to quell that impulse over the years.
Anthony is the son of an Italian gangster bookie, which means he got a crash course in street smarts from an early age. Later, he joined the NYPD as a detective, before migrating to the District Attorney's Office, where he works closely with Erin Reagan. He's also one of the smartest characters on the entire show.
Few have the sense of perception that Anthony has. He can easily tell when perps are lying, he knows how to sniff out the details of a case that are buried, and he's able to navigate the DA office's politics much better than most would expect. If there's a solution to a problem, Anthony will usually find it, and within record time.
For many years, Abigail Baker was largely a background character in Blue Bloods, but she was elevated in later seasons to have more of a starring role. One of season 8's best Blue Bloods quotes makes reference to this, which would later serve as a catalyst for change. Since the beginning, it has been obvious that Baker is one of the smartest characters on the show and greatly underestimated by those who don't know her.
She might be the Commissioner's aide, but she's also a sharp-as-a-tack NYPD detective who can read between the lines like few can. In many ways, she's Frank Reagan's unofficial wing-mate, and he values her critiques and suggestions for a reason. She continues to be an invaluable asset to 1PP.
Working directly under Frank Reagan is a difficult job on a good day, and nobody knows that better than Garrett. His job is to put a positive face on 1PP, especially when it comes to slanted media coverage. He knows how the game is played, and the dirty tactics involved, which is why he clashes so frequently with Frank.
Garrett is extremely smart, and he needs to be in order to get out in front of problems that face the department. He's willing to challenge Frank while presenting alternatives to major problems that pop up, whether they come from a reporter's camera lens or the desk of City Hall itself. His ability to eagle eye any situation and come up with a workable solution is a highlight of his intelligence.
Baez became Danny Reagan's partner after Jackie Curatola called it quits in season 3, and stuck around for the long haul. She's every bit as street smart as Danny, with a keen eye for noticing details in cases that would otherwise fly over the heads of most other detectives.
She's also very clever and capable of using subtlety and persuasion on the job. She's gone undercover to extract information, or catch perps in the act, she can use her disarming charm to get victims to divulge details about a crime, and she can read Danny's body language on a whim, in order to sweat a suspect.
Arguably still the head patriarch of the Reagan family, Henry had a long and colorful career as the former Police Commissioner, before his son Frank took the job. He's a relic from a bygone era, which is both a plus and a minus when it comes to imparting wisdom.
On the plus side, Henry sticks to traditional family values and a strong sense of right and wrong, which is driven largely by family and community. On the minus side, many of his views about law and society are antiquated and lack nuance. Still, he's got wisdom to pass around for ages.
Danny is best known for being a hot-headed case junkie who can't get enough of the job. Every new case is an excuse to get out there and put bad guys away, and it's this singular goal that has driven him to perfect his detective skills over the years. Danny is smart as a whip, even if he doesn't understand the finer nuances of written law.
His best skill is sweating a perpetrator by relying on a series of clever tactics designed to get the truth out of them. When he can't get a legal warrant, Danny will resort to more cunning, yet still legal methods of interrogation in order to get a confession or extract vital details that help save lives. His street smarts are beyond compare.
Jamie was introduced in the very first Blue Bloods episode as the youngest of the Reagan family, who decided to pursue being a cop, despite going to Harvard to get a law degree. As such, he was quickly regarded as one of the greenest and most inexperienced characters on the show, particularly when he first joined the 12th Precinct.
Throughout the years, Jamie relied heavily on the lessons imprinted on him by his family, balancing them with a strict adherence to written law. When he eventually ascended to the rank of Sergeant, Jamie proved once and for all that he was one of the smartest characters on the show, making rational, intelligent decisions by analyzing situations and trusting his gut.
Erin had the unenviable job of working as a prosecutor, before ascending to an equally difficult position as Assistant District Attorney. Her politically charged work environment puts her into direct conflict with the no-nonsense approach of the NYPD, which means Erin has to straddle two worlds and learn to balance them.
It's no easy task, but Erin has the smarts to make it happen. She knows how to examine a case and move forward, based on the letter of law. She also knows how to navigate the politics of the job, particularly when they involve key figures such as the Governor of the State, or the Mayor. Erin isn't infallible, but her ability to adapt very quickly is a feather in her cap.
As the Police Commissioner of New York's finest, Frank has to deal with every single problem that comes across his desk, from internal strife inside the force to dealing with radical agenda-based groups trying their hardest to smear the department. He also butts heads routinely with the most powerful people in the State, while fending off hyper-partisan media scrutiny.
He treads these waters by relying on clearly defined concepts of right and wrong, with very little ambiguity in the middle. His refusal to go soft on his own people helps him avoid future scrutiny, while his grandfatherly wisdom helps steer his kids down the right path. At every turn, Frank Reagan embodies the concepts of courage, honesty, and morality in an extremely polarized age, making him one of the best cops on television.