Each episode of Blue Bloods usually includes a Sunday Dinner scene, with the Reagan family coming together to discuss their own issues and concerns. These moments are highlights for the show's loyal fans, as we see the human side of characters dedicated to serving others.
The series stars Tom Selleck as Commissioner Frank Reagan, with his children played by Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan and Will Estes. Frank sits at the head of the table with his father, Henry (Len Cariou) at the other end.
Acting in the dinner scenes can be surprisingly tough. There's a lot of dialogue for the actors to get through and each of them have their own techniques. Selleck told The Huffington Post in 2013 that he actually eats during the scenes.
"Everybody has their own style," the longtime TV veteran said. "It is a style we should all be aware of so we don't get into a rhythm that's predictable. One thing that's really tempting is to take a bite of food to punctuate the end of a line. I think you need to be aware of that stuff. I don't butter bread all the time, contrary [to what Donnie said] but I always make sure the butter is down at my end. So I can if I choose to."
With the show now in its eighth season, there are plenty of great dinner scenes to chose from. Here are some of the best.
During the season four finale, "Exiles," the family say for dinner in their uniforms after Frank spoke at the Police Academy graduation. Even Henry wore his uniform.
Every member of the Reagan family serves the public in some way. Jamie (Estes) is a young police officer, working his way up the ranks. Danny (Wahlberg) is an experienced, no-nonsense detective. Erin (Moynahan) is an assistant district attorney. Even Danny's wife, Linda (Amy Carlson) served the public as a nurse. Sadly, she died before season eight began.
The youngest members of the Reagan family also join in. That includes Erin's daughter Nicky (Sami Gayle) and Danny's sons, Jack (Tony Terraciano) and Sean (Andrew Terraciano).
Dinner with the Reagans is not always civil. Usually, there's arguments and this scene from season six shows that. Here, Erin says she had to be on the defensive because she's a Reagan. It turns out that police weren't exactly well-liked at City Hall at the time.
In 2015, Blue Bloods property master Jim Lillis told the Virginian-Pilot that some of the actors do actually eat during the scenes, while some are good at faking it.
"All the actors eat to varying degrees," Lillis explained. "Some are good at faking it. They are very good at making it look like they're really enjoying a hearty dinner."
Some actors even butter their bread during filming to make it look like they are doing something with their food, while others move their utensils around their plates. Moynihan will mash up her food without actually eating anything.
During the first season, the Reagan family searched for the killer of Frank's middle son, Joe. He was working with the FBI to investigate corrupt NYPD cops who were part of a group called the "Blue Templar." The group was responsible for Joe's murder and in the season one finale, Danny and Jamie caught the officer directly responsible for their brother's death. In the end, the family still gathered for their Sunday dinner and later went to Joe's grave to remember him.
The first season of Blue Bloods aired back in 2010 and 2011. Even then, it was on Fridays, when shows don't typically get big ratings. But audiences immediately fell in love with the show and the Reagan family. In a 2010 interview, Wahlberg said the big ratings did add some pressure to the production.
"The reality is that [we have] a couple million more viewers than anybody thought we would get and that’s good news," Wahlberg told BlogCritics. "What we do on set and what we talk about is really how to control what we can control and finding the right mix about what works for our audience and identifying who they are, and servicing what they want and also servicing our characters as best we can.”
During a season four episode, the dinner was particularly tense. But Nicky figured out how to break the tension by announcing her own big news: she got a tattoo!
Sami Gayle, who plays Nicky, has been an important part of the series since day one. The 21-year-old actress was also seen in Vampire Academy and Noah. In a recent interview with CBS Philadelphia, Gayle said she loves Philly cuisine. She was only 14 years old when she started on the show.
"It's very therapeutic -- my character, for me," Gayle told CBS News in 2015, when the show reached 100 episodes. "I feel like I've gone through some of the stuff she's gone through...so I sort of have another medium to play with as I grow up. It's also been super cool to have things that I didn't have in real life like a super big Sweet 16, which I didn't want in real life but I had the most awesome one on set."
Another storyline from season one included Linda's kidnapping. The Reagan family had to work on their own to find her, which they thankfully did. In the end, there was an emotional reunion at the dinner table and everyone was happy to have Linda back.
Linda is no longer on the show, as Amy Carlson left after seven seasons. Her character was killed off in a helicopter crash.
"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 – Linda Reagan," Carlson wrote in an Instagram post. "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. 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. Peace, blessings and many ‘love you mores’ to all of you."
Blue Bloods airs at 10:00 p.m. ET on Fridays on CBS.