Why Did Linda Reagan Leave Blue Bloods? Amy Carlson Said She Would Have Handled Linda’s Death Differently


When Linda Reagan left Blue Bloods in 2017, her character’s tragic off-screen death was met with outcry. Everyone was left wondering: Why did Linda Reagan leave Blue Bloods? Keep reading to learn what happened to Amy Carlson and if it was her choice to leave the CBS drama.

The long-running CBS police drama Blue Bloods centers on the Reagan family, a fictional family with a lengthy connection to law enforcement. The TV show debuted in September 2020 and is presently in its 13th season (TV Insider reported that it had been renewed for Season 14 in March 2023). Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, Will Estes, Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan, Abigail Hawk, Vanessa Ray, and other actors can be seen in the program.

Amy Carlson played Linda Reagan from the first season in 2010 to her character’s death in 2017. Linda was the wife of Detective Daniel “Danny” Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg) and the mother of Jack and Sean Reagan. Her father-in-law, Frank Reagan, is the New York City police commissioner, and his family is positioned throughout the criminal justice system. Reagan worked as an emergency room nurse at St. Victor’s Hospital in NYC, but tragically died in a helicopter crash off-screen in Season 7.

So, why did Linda Reagan leave Blue Bloods after seven years? We’ve got the answer below — plus see the actress’ response to getting killed off screen and what she would have done differently to wrap up her character’s story.

Why did Linda Reagan leave Blue Bloods?

Why did Linda Reagan leave Blue Bloods? Amy Carlson decided not to renew her seven-year contract, which ended at the end of Season 7. She didn’t give a specific reason about her exit at the time, but the actress expressed her gratitude to her fans and her character in an Instagram post on September 29, 2017.

“My heart is full of gratitude to each of you for your generous support of me and my character for the last seven years of Blue Bloods. I have been touched by your compassion and enthusiasm. I loved playing Linda: wife to Danny, mother to Jack and Sean, nurse and working mom,” she wrote in the caption. “I’m proud of my contribution to building this series. I’m so grateful to CBS and the Blue Bloods cast and crew. Mostly, I am grateful to the fans who have supported me and the show.”


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After Carlson’s exit from Blue Bloods, the actress spoke to Deadline in November 2017 about her departure. When asked what she missed most about playing Linda, she paid tribute to her former costar and on-screen husband, Donnie Wahlberg.

“What I miss most is working with Donnie, and Donnie has been a dream since I left. He said something really sweet about me on the Andy Cohen Live show the other day, and even the very first night that the series aired this season, he said something about his tears were for missing me and for loss of working with me as an acting partner. He’s just been so generous and sweet,” she explained in the interview. “I could just tear up right now thinking about how sweet he’s been. I miss working with Donnie. I miss playing those scenes with him. We had a lot of fun. We put a lot of work into those scenes, and we were both super committed to doing right by those characters.”


How was Linda Reagan written off Blue Bloods?

How was Linda Reagan written off Blue Bloods? Linda Reagan was written off the show between Season 7 and Season 8 when she was killed off-screen in a helicopter accident. In the Season 8 premiere in September 2017, it was revealed in Danny’s therapy session that Linda was no longer alive. “Linda’s death wasn’t your fault. She was doing her job [as a nurse]. She died doing what she loved,” Danny’s therapist said in the episode. “She died in a helicopter crash, airlifting her patient.” In Season 9, the possibility was introduced that the medevac crash Linda was in could have been orchestrated by Mexican cartel member Louis Delgado (Lou Diamond Phillips) aka The Panther.

Carlson revealed to Deadline that she did not know her character was going to get written off in that way. “I feel badly that she dies the way she dies. I did not know they would do that, I was surprised. I wouldn’t have done that.” When asked how she would have written her character off, she said: “I could’ve shown the death. I guess it would’ve been nice for the fans to see her demise, to be a participant in it, and that was my vote for the fans. I’m not sure how I would’ve chosen it but I just know that for the fans to have a way to grieve, to move through it, I think it would’ve been nice for them. That’s just what I hear from them all the time, ‘we really want you to come back’, and I’m like, that’s impossible. But they also say we wish we could’ve mourned the character.”

The actress went on to say that she was taken aback but also honored by the overwhelming fan reaction to the passing of her character. I was shocked, but I also feel really honored that so many of the character’s admirers did. I was shocked, but it truly touched my heart that they cared so much about Linda and that she meant so much to so many people. I had no clue; I can’t even begin to tell you how many letters I receive daily about her and the character. They’re all so kind, they all wish me luck with my upcoming projects, and they’re all such devoted supporters of mine. It’s just really great.

When asked if she would ever return to Blue Bloods to do a flashback sequence, for example, Carlson said she was open to the opportunity. “I never wanted it to end that way, so I feel sad for the fans because everyone wants closure, and I hear that a lot from the fans. So of course I’d be open to that. Sure.”

Blue Bloods airs on Fridays at 10 p.m. on CBS.

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