“It was a wonderful seven years and I had a wonderful time there and I’m really grateful to CBS and it was an amazing opportunity,” the 49-year-old Carlson told Us Weekly at an Equality Now gala. “I loved playing Donnie [Wahlberg]’s wife. They were like a second family to me.”
Carlson said it is "always a difficult decision" for an actor considering leaving a show. After a recurring role in season one of Blue Bloods, she was promoted to series regular for season two. The writers chose to kill her character off, revealing in the season eight premiere that she was killed in a helicopter crash.
Although she's no longer on the show, she keeps in contact with Donnie Wahlberg, who played her husband.
“He and I text all the time. We’re still very close and we’re great friends,” she told Us. “We were there for each other for a long time. He has said some of the nicest things ever about me to the press and has never waived in that support. He’s been super generous and a lovely person.”
Carlson's departure from the show was kept a secret until September. "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," she wrote on Instagram.
Sources told Deadline that Carlson's contract was up after season seven and chose to "move on" from the series.
New episodes of Blue Bloods airs on Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.