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Donnie Wahlberg on Blue Bloods

Published September 14, 2010 in Television
By Fred Topel | Image property of CBS
Blue Bloods Blue Bloods

Law & Order did the whole police/legal blend. Now Blue Bloods jams them both together, without the separate first and second acts or that telltale sound. In Blue Bloods, a family of cops with one prosecuting sibling each work a different angle on the case. It all comes together when they debate their sides at the dinner table.

Donnie Wahlberg One of the Blue Bloods


“A lot of people try procedural shows, and there are many successful procedurals,” said Donny Wahlberg who plays Detective Danny Reagan. “Some people try character-driven shows and a lot of times when people try to do both, they don't really work because there's not a sort of a consistent element that ties the two together. I don't know if it was by design, but that dinner scene almost serves as that. It's really a place where the work and the procedural stuff comes into the character stuff directly. You see how everyone is connected. Tom [Selleck] plays the chief of police, and I play his son, who is a detective. If I'm on a major case, he's going to deal with it. So all the characters ultimately are intertwined somehow, and so it makes it much easier. If one was a baseball player and one was a fireman and one was a doctor, it would be probably difficult to follow all the storylines. But we all work in the same thing. We're all police or work within the law to uphold the law.”

Danny is also involved in a deeper story that will take more than one dinner table scene to resolve. It turns out there’s a conspiracy in the police force and he’s approached to go undercover in the pilot.



“There's also sort of an underlying thing with the show, which I know [writer] Robin [Green] had mentioned the final scene sort of caught her off guard. I find that with the show as well, that some things play differently than I had anticipated. Tom's demeanor sometimes in the scenes, the way he plays them, I'm never really quite sure what he's thinking when I watch him. He seems to be a very straightforward, honorable man and policeman, but he seems to be aware of a lot more than he lets on about. I find that stuff to be interesting. Bridget [Moynahan]’s character, how is she always going to constantly be involved, I think it raises interesting questions for me. I don't ultimately know where the writers are going to take it, but the fact that she's in a position to help her brothers and her dad sometimes and she's in a position to be called on to do favors that she may or may not want to do. I just think it makes an interesting dynamic anyway.”

It seems like the actors have begun to form a family atmosphere themselves behind the scenes. “[Selleck] has a gaze that reminds me of my dad. It's fun playing. It's fun playing with Tom, because in character I get to sort of walk this line and my dad is a very powerful man, and it's always gray, how far I can go with it. But when I look at Tom, it also reminds me of my dad. At the dinner table, I could always take it to a certain point before my dad would whack me in the side of the head, and Tom has that. I'm always worried that I'm going to improvise one too many lines and Tom's going to, in character, say, ‘Knock it off, son,’ and off camera he's going to go, "’All right, Wahlberg, settle down.’"

Blue Bloods is on CBS’s schedule for Friday, which hasn’t been a successful night in recent years. Funny how things change. “When I was a kid, Friday was the best night to watch TV. It's amazing nobody's done a show like this, a family drama mixed with a procedural show. It is a little different. In my mind's eye, Friday felt comfortable. I don't want anyone to tell me I'm crazy. Maybe I am, but it feels fine. I mean, I think we all feel confident in what we're doing. We believe in the show. We're really happy to make the show and we're grateful to be on the air. We're grateful CBS gave us a chance at letting us shoot in New York City. I mean, everything has worked out fine right now. There's no reason for us to not trust that CBS is going to do everything they can to make this show work on Friday night. We're very confident and very grateful.”

Blue Bloods premieres September 24th on CBS.
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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of CBS
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