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The show Blue Bloods has four distinct characters it follows: Frank, the PC; Danny, the detective; Erin, the lawyer; and Jamie, the street cop. Each of these characters has their own plot in every episode. Usually one or more of the plots intersect, but in a lot of the episodes there are at least two plots going on which have nothing to do with each other. Each plot has its own distinct and separate ending. It's these endings that have me confused.

I'm a writer, and I'm trying to write a series of novels with several main characters. Each main character has their own plot, with their own ending. Everything I know about writing is saying that you cannot have two separate climaxes in the same novel. One or both will lose emotional power, and feel lackluster or unfulfilling.

Blue Bloods does not seem to suffer from this problem. They regularly have unconnected episodes with unconnected climaxes which follow each other in separate scenes. I have not noticed any dimming of emotional power in either climax. Why is this?

Is there a secret the writers of Blue Bloods know? Or am I simply wrong in believing that having two climaxes one after the other will cause a drop in their power?

This is a question specifically about an aspect of the Blue Bloods TV series. It is not a question about theories on writing. That question can be found here.

  • I’m not a writer or student of literature and neither have I ever seen more than a few minutes of Blue Bloods, but it seems to me you’ve answered your own question in the last paragraph. – Darren Sep 8 '17 at 3:09
  • "you cannot have two separate climaxes in the same novel" I would say it's more correct that "you cannot have two separate climaxes in the same thread". Every thread can have its climax, and those do not necessarily have to happen at the same time. However, if a single thread has multiple climaxes, then one of them will lose meaning compared to the other. E.g. imagine a hero character fighting to (near) death several times in a row. Each victory detracts from the tension in the next fight. Blue bloods has many different threads, and therefore can have as many climaxes. – Flater Sep 8 '17 at 11:25
  • Just to add to the other points, Blue Blood also hasn't actually ended yet and it's possible that there could be a convergence of stories with a singular climax and/or if not, people may judge the ending harshly knowing it's the end and they find it non cohesive. So there may still be an unseen debate on how well it works, pending on how BB actually ends... – Darth Locke Sep 8 '17 at 18:12
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You're really comparing Apples & Oranges. A series of novels is not the same as a TV episode or even a series of episodes.

The big word is Episodes.

A series of novels usually tells a single story, although it may be epic with, perhaps multiple character stories or arc within it.

Blue Bloods is not a season long arc or story..so it's quite different from say Lost

Recall, Blue Bloods (and similar shows) generally don't have stories that last for more than a single episode (or at most two)...they are very much "one and done" and they move on to the next episode.

Granted, there may be continuity over several episodes (trouble with the Mayor / Unions etc) but those aren't overriding stories...they're background.

Then again, most shows of this mature will have multiple stories going on at the same time (A, B & C stories).

They regularly have unconnected episodes with unconnected climaxes which follow each other in separate scenes.

These stories may or may not interconnect, and frequently don't but they, more often than not have the same theme. It could be "Trust in Friend" or "Politics of the Job" or whatever but it will involve different characters going through similar experiences from different viewpoints.

Blue Bloods is somewhat different in that all of these stories happen to a single law enforcement family AND they meet at the dinner table and we can see them actually discussing their different viewpoints (although we might have inside knowledge as to what they are actually saying or where their viewpoint originated).

Kevin Wade (the showrunner) said..

The show has a huge component that’s about this family. I think the way we approach it as writers is that it’s a show about a tribe. Now, this tribe happens to be related by blood, by career, by religion, by geography. The family aspect is a component of it but really the best tool for us, or the biggest plus in this is that we get to tell these stories whether basic procedurals or something perhaps with a little wrinkle in it, but there’s a built in point of view when we tell this story, and that’s through this family where they’ve been cops for generations. They are Roman Catholics from Brooklyn. They are New Yorkers with some Irish background certainly. It gives us a very precise prism to tell the stories through. As you know, point of view is everything.

Source

So, although these are different stories about different people (although the themes are the same) and those stories rarely have lasting effects from one episode to the next there's no real power to be lost in wrapping them up all in the same 45 minutes.

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