Blue Bloods Stars Donnie Wahlberg & Tom Selleck Share Secrets Of Family Dinner Scenes


Blue Bloods is gearing up for its final season, and the show’s stars, Donnie Wahlberg and Tom Selleck, are looking back at what made the police procedural drama so successful.

In a story for emmy magazine’s June issue, excerpted by People, the actors reflected on the hit CBS series, particularly focusing on those iconic Sunday family dinner scenes, which have become a signature part of the show.

“At the first dinner scene, I had to be fully committed to this character and who he was and his thoughts on the situation he was dealing with — and be willing to turn that dinner table upside down,” Wahlberg told the outlet. “And to do that with Tom Selleck sitting at the head of the table? He’s an icon.”

Wahlberg plays Detective Danny Reagan on the show, the son of Commissioner Frank Reagan, played by Selleck. The series revolves around the Reagan family, an American-Irish Catholic family from New York City with a history of working in law enforcement.

Wahlberg recalled how the original family dinner scene the writers wrote saw him “say his piece and leave” during an argument with another family member.

“Well, that’s not how I saw the character,” he explained. “I had to make the commitment to go there with him. I could not hold anything back, because if I didn’t do it in the pilot episode, I wouldn’t be able to do it down the road.”

Selleck noted that the key to a great family dinner scene is “timing,” pointing out how the audience is focused on what’s happening behind the words.

“Dinner scenes are hard because your focus is not what you’re eating,” he shared. “It’s really not even your lines; it’s your subtext. Audiences don’t care about the words; they want to see the subtext. The family dinners are loaded with subtext, and the audience is in on it because they’ve seen what the characters are going through.”

After 14 seasons, with the second half of Season 14 set to air this Fall, the cast has nailed how to do the Sunday dinner scenes. However, Wahlberg said it took time for them to evolve from a “really good cohesive cast who really respected each other” to a real “family.”

“There’s a genuine affection when we get together for dinner scenes,” he revealed. “There’s a genuine gratitude at that table. If anyone’s struggling, by the end of that dinner scene they’re back to being aware of how fortunate we all are.”

Wahlberg continued, “The Reagans are fortunate to be together on Sundays and to be safe, to have made it through another week of a very dangerous job, and the cast is reminded of how fortunate we are as actors. It’s an incredible blessing to have that dinner scene as a check-in every week, much like the Reagans do, fictionally.”

“For us to have that in real life, it’s a pretty spectacular thing — and I don’t think we’d be here 14 seasons without it,” he concluded.

Blue Bloods, Season 14 Part 2, Premieres Fall 2024, CBS

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