On the surface, “Blue Bloods” seems like just another television police drama. But it’s so much more than that, and reels you in with the different characters that make up the Reagan family and their partners. Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) is the police commissioner that everyone wishes ran their department, someone who cares about his detectives and cares about truth and integrity, even if the cops aren’t always shown to be right. Frank comes from a long line of cops, and while his daughter Erin (Bridget Moynahan) decided to become a lawyer, Frank’s two sons, Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) and Jamie (Will Estes) are following in the family tradition.
Another tradition of the Reagan family that is shown every episode is the family dinners. Fans of the series love them, and they’re far and away one of the most popular aspects of the show. In one of the show’s Reddit threads, u/SparkySpecter says “they can have differences and arguments and yet still they are there together every week. I love to have that aspect of a family shown on tv because we need that.” For the actors, it’s also a way to catch up with castmates they may not have had other scenes with that week. Despite the cast coming to love the dinners, Donnie Wahlberg remembers how difficult it was shooting the very first one.
The first dinner scene Donnie Wahlberg wanted to get just right
In the “Blue Bloods” pilot episode, Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) and Erin (Bridget Moynahan) get in a fight, because Erin believes that Danny may have wrecked a case she was working on involving a child, after the defense tries to get evidence tossed on claims that Danny used excessive force. Instead of leaving the case at work, the two continue their fight at dinner, trying to drag various family members to their side of the argument. While this is the order viewers watched, for the cast, the dinner scene was shot before anything else.
“The very first dinner scene was the first scene we shot,” Donnie Wahlberg told Watch Magazine. “Do you know how hard it is to show up, 10 actors, and Tom [Selleck] at the head of the table, and I’ve got to have this knock-down, drag-out with Bridget [Moynahan]? If I’m not ready to go full-out in that scene, the show doesn’t work. Danny has to be hard headed and fiery in front of Frank. And I had to be willing to do that in front of Tom. Any good actor would know that’s what you have to do — you commit.”
Despite feeling intimidated, Wahlberg went in, emotional and hot-headed, and even improvised a few lines, which earned him praise from Selleck (via TV Insider). And thanks to him taking a chance, the Reagan dinners are a place for the cast to speak their characters’ points of view, and fans cherish it as one of the best aspects of the show.