Blue Bloods fans appreciate that the Reagans appear to be a real family, and that authenticity isn’t faked. The cast shares these sentiments. To the point where Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg refer to each other as father and son. Their relationship, however, was not always so close.
“I’m calling him dad now, and he’s calling me son… “I mean, that’s how we communicate off-screen,” Wahlberg told Entertainment Tonight. Initially, he would grumble at me, as if to say, ‘This music guy’s kind of weird.’ And now he refers to me as son. And he’ll come in and hug me tight. You know, getting a hug from Tom Selleck is a big deal.”
Blue Bloods’ success is dependent on getting those relationships right. It is for this reason that the family dinner is the most important scene each week. It’s also what drew Donnie Wahlberg’s attention to the pilot script. He admired how ordinary the Reagans appeared.
“Blue Bloods is a throwback show because they don’t make shows like this anymore,” Wahlberg explained to HuffPost. “These days, it’s about the family down the block selling heroin or the husband with three wives.” Everything revolves around the unusual family.
“When I read the pilot, the family dinner scene piqued my interest the most.” I’ve felt the heat of my father staring down at me and my sister while we’re arguing, and Tom Selleck and Bridget [Moynahan] have the same heat.”
Tom Selleck Didn’t Think ‘Blue Bloods’ Dinner Scenes Would Last
Tom Selleck was also a guest at the family dinner in the pilot. However, when he met with Blue Bloods creator Leonard Goldberg, Selleck was blunt about the scene’s chances of airing.
“When I met with Leonard, I knew Leonard, and I read the show’s script.” ‘You know what I really like about this thing is the family dinner scenes,’ I said as I read the script. However, it’s about eight pages long, and the network is going to cut that out,'” Selleck recalled during a 2017 Q&A. “And he said, ‘No, that’s a show piece.'” So that was a deliberate design choice on Leonard’s part from the start.”
In 2010, Goldberg told TV Guide that he used the police story as bait to attract viewers. But he preferred to concentrate on the family drama.
“There would be a police story to keep CBS viewers happy,” he said, “but it would really be a character piece.”
According to Len Cariou, who plays Henry Reagan on Blue Bloods, Goldberg pitched the dinners as “the glue” that holds the show together.
“That will be the glue that holds everything together,” Cariou recalled Goldberg saying. “We’ll see what Donnie and Will do, as well as what Pop and Tom do.” Then we’ll pass it around the table. And try to educate the children to give them some perspective.’ So it was fascinating to me that that was his source of inspiration.”